Financial literacy is important for everybody, regardless of their life stage. Teaching some essentials to kids is a great way to instill lifelong financial knowledge, and give them a head start in building wealth.
Unfortunately, less than half of U.S. states require high school financial literacy classes. And at home, many parents avoid talking about money with their children because it makes them uncomfortable, or they simply don’t know what to teach them. That means that many students leave home without any financial education to prepare them for life on their own.
It’s not for a lack of interest, either. According to Experian, 76% of Gen Z-ers wished they took a financial literacy class in high class.
So whether your child is starting kindergarten or college, here are some resources to build their confidence in money management:
Financial literacy for young kids (up to age 8)
Right from the start, don’t shy away from talking about money around your kids. Discuss the family budget with them, and allow them to have a hand in making decisions about the budget. This could be as simple as saying, “We have $50 for a fun family activity this month. Should we go to a movie, or go to the zoo?”
Involving them in family money decisions shows them that it’s okay to talk about money, and teaches them how a budget works.
Books for young kids:
Follow the Money – Shares the story of a quarter as it is spent, traded and donated during its day.
The Coin Counting Book – Introduces what American money looks like, and how to count it.
Money Madness – A fun look at the history of money
Money Plan – Follows a young girl’s outing to the store, and introduces the idea of budgeting and saving.
Games and Activities for young kids:
Peter Pig’s Money Counter is a fun app that teaches kids to identify coins, count out change, and other money basics.
Money Grab and Play – Kids “race to a dollar” with this fun board game that teaches them how to count with money.
Sammy Rabbit – Sammy Rabbit helps kids learn how to save, spend and give money, and there are a variety of activity books and programs for kids ages 3-7.
Financial Literacy for Tweens (Ages 9-13)
As kids get older, they can be introduced to more complex financial ideas, like investing. They can also have more involvement in earning and managing their own money. There are several books and apps that help them to do that, but here are some of my picks:
Books for tweens:
American Girls: A Smart Girl’s Guide to Money – This fun, accessible book guides kids through ideas for earning, saving and spending money.
How to Turn $100 into $1,000,000 – This is another fun, easy read that will introduce kids to investing, starting a business and managing money.
The Know-Nonsense Guide to Money – This book uses fun illustrations and short, quick explanations to teach kids everything they need to know about managing their money, spending smart and saving.
Games and Apps for Tweens:
Famzoo is an award-winning app that allows parents to pay kids for chores, deposit birthday or holiday money, and teach kids about money management. This is a great option for older teens, too.
Monopoly – It might not be all that realistic, but Monopoly is still a classic for introducing money and capitalism concepts. Kids can learn when to save, when to invest and how to track their money. Plus, there are countless expansion packs and versions to customize your game.
Game of Life – Here is another classic that also teaches some valuable money lessons. Players decide whether to go to college, pay taxes, choose a career and plan for retirement. Like Monopoly, it’s not super realistic, but it gives kids the opportunity to think about these life decisions.
Financial Literacy for Teens (ages 14+)
There is no shortage of financial education opportunities out there for teens and young adults. The real challenge is sifting throug it all and knowing what is quality advice.
These are some of the resources that I think any teen could benefit from. You can also check my “Money Books for Graduates” post for more ideas:
Books for Teens
I Will Teach You to be Rich: This is Ramit Sethi’s practical, easy to follow guide for young adults, and it’s an excellent crash course in money management.
How To Money: This book was put together by Jean Chatzky, Kathryn Tuggle, and the team at HerMoney, and teaches teens money basics in a fun and visual way.
I Want More Pizza: This a book created for teens to help them grow their financial confidence, using the “pizza method” to explain spending, saving, investing and more.
Games, Apps and Videos
Jump$tart Reality Check – This is a questionnaire that asks kids to imagine they’ve just graduated high school or college and are starting out on their own. It helps them align their ideas for the lifestyle they want with the likely cost of that path.
Crash Course Youtube Channel – The Crash Course Youtube channel by John Green covers several financial topics in quick, easy to digest videos that are appropriate for teens.
Fidelity Youth Account – If you have a 13-17 year old who wants to start investing, the Fidelity Youth Account is one option. Your teen will receive their own debit card with no account fees, account minimum or trading commissions.
Financial Literacy Books for Parents
If you’ve struggled to talk to your kids about money, there are books that can help you, too. Here are some picks that should help you feel more confident as you and your kids navigate finances together.
The Opposite of Spoiled – Ron Lieber’s book helps parents answer their kids’ questions about money, and helps them instill good values as their kids grow.
Smart Money Smart Kids – Dave Ramsey and his daughter, Rachel Cruze, collaborated on this book for parents. They offer strategies for teaching where money comes from, the value of hard work, and how to save, spend and give.
Make Your Kid a Money Genius – Beth Kobliner breaks this book into sections that apply to children of different ages. So whether you have a toddler or a young adult, there is practical, applicable information here for you.
Financial literacy is important for parents, too. You can read about more of my favorite resources and advice in my “How to Improve Your Financial Literacy” post.
About Your Richest Life
At Your Richest Life, Katie Brewer, CFP®, believes you too should have access to financial resources and fee-only financial planning. For more information on the services offered, contact Katie today.