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Welcome to financial literacy, unit 1: welcome to financial literacy, unit 2: budgeting and saving, unit 3: consumer credit, unit 4: financial goals, unit 5: loans and debt, unit 6: insurance, unit 7: investments and retirement, unit 8: scams & fraud, unit 9: careers and education, unit 10: taxes and tax forms, unit 11: additional resources.
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What Is Financial Literacy?
Christine DiGangi has dedicated the majority of her career to financial education, writing thousands of articles about the consumer credit system and how to manage personal finances. She joined Dotdash Meredith in 2019 and has since worked on both its finance sites, Investopedia and The Balance. As VP, Business Performance & Strategy, she leads strategy for financial products & services content on Investopedia, as well as supports the ad sales and marketing teams in developing media partnerships for the site.
Financial Literacy Definition and Examples
How financial literacy works, notable happenings.
Sally Anscombe / Getty Images
Financial literacy is the ability to understand the products and concepts you need to manage your money.
- Financial literacy means you have the ability to weigh the pros and cons of a money decision and confidently choose what to do.
- Being financially literate doesn’t mean you know everything about money, but you do know what questions to ask to make an informed decision.
- In the U.S., April is Financial Literacy Month, during which a number of governments, schools, and other organizations develop and promote programming designed to help people learn more about how to manage their money.
Financial literacy refers to myriad skills you might call on when making a choice about what to do with your money. Some of them are basic—like how to add and subtract the money you earn, spend, and save—while others involve a complex combination of calculations and risk assessment.
For example, a financially literate person knows that if they take home $2,000 a month in pay, they cannot spend more than $2,000 each month without going into debt. Someone with a higher level of financial literacy may know that they should save some of that $2,000 for the future. Someone with even more financial literacy might be familiar with the 80/20 budgeting rule (spend 80%, save 20% of your income) and aim to set aside $400 of the $2,000 they have coming in each month.
One person might choose to put all $400 in a high-yield savings account , and another might choose to use that $400 to buy stock. Both are financially literate choices, depending on each person’s goals, understanding of those products, and risk tolerance.
Because financial literacy begins with your first interactions with money, it is a lifelong journey—one that inevitably has good and bad moments. While you can develop financial literacy by consuming educational content about personal finance, you will also gain it through real experiences.
Financial literacy is the ability to understand the pros and cons of a money decision, weigh the costs, and confidently decide what to do. But being financially literate doesn’t mean you know everything about money; rather, it equips you to seek out the answers you need in order to make a good financial decision.
Here are some questions financially literate people often ask themselves when faced with a money decision:
- How much will this cost?
- How do the short-term and long-term costs of this choice compare?
- What are the rules that apply to this choice? For example, if I miss a payment, will I have to pay a fee?
- If I use my money for this, what will I have to give up? What will I gain?
- If this is a risky decision, can I afford to lose this money?
A financially literate person also understands how common personal finance products work, like checking accounts and credit cards, as well as how costs like interest and fees are calculated. Some of the core concepts of personal finance include understanding how credit works , how to budget , and how to invest .
In the U.S., April is Financial Literacy Month, or National Financial Capability Month. The dedicated month gained traction in the early 2000s when the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) began promoting April as Financial Literacy for Youth Month. Over the years, federal and state governments have reinforced April as Financial Literacy Month through a series of declarations and proclamations.
My Credit Union. " National Financial Capability Month 2021 ." Accessed Oct. 18, 2021.
Jumpstart. " April Is Financial Literacy Month ." Accessed Oct. 18, 2021.
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Teaching Financial Literacy: Why You Need to Start from a Young Age
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U.S. Financial Literacy Gaps
The benefits of teaching financial literacy, why to start teaching financial literacy early, tips for getting started, the bottom line.
Learn how to help children develop healthy money habits and why it’s important
Middle schoolers Stockton Carlson and Calvin Lambert noticed some chatter on social media in 2021 about video game retailer GameStop ( GME ). At the time, the video game enthusiasts were participating in a statewide stock market simulation with their class at Vista Heights Middle School in Saratoga Springs, Utah.
Shares of GME had spiked the day before, so Lambert and Carlson decided to jump in—just in time for GME to surge again in another meme-fueled frenzy . They eventually grew their simulated money from $100,000 to $171,526.61 over the 10-week span of the contest and scored first place in the middle school category.
“We learned that social media, and Reddit in this case, can really have a big effect on things,” Lambert told the contest organizers.
A lesson in investing is a key component in teaching financial literacy, which can also include lessons on earning, saving, reducing risk, spending, and borrowing. Research has long shown that when it comes to teaching kids how to manage their money, it’s better to start young to build money knowledge and habits that will last a lifetime.
In 2008, Utah became the first state to require a semester of personal finance education as a requirement for high school graduation. Now, educators all over the country are exploring ways to start teaching financial literacy earlier, including in elementary school.
“It’s one thing to know the skills, but it’s also highly beneficial to start learning how to apply them into your everyday life,” said Brittany Griffin, policy and communications deputy at the Utah Office of State Treasurer, a member of the state’s financial literacy task force. “In an ideal world, parents would start talking with their children about money very early on.”
- Teaching financial literacy at a younger age helps children develop healthy, lifelong financial habits.
- Main principles of financial literacy include earning, saving, investing, protecting, spending, and borrowing.
- Specific government policies and societal discrimination, such as discriminatory lending practices or the continual displacement of racial minorities, have fed into the creation of a racial wealth gap, which is important to note when it comes to financial literacy.
- Younger people are vulnerable to social media and marketing that encourages consumption.
- Financial literacy can encourage habits that can help children avoid debt traps later in life.
- Children can form money habits starting as young as age 5.
Closing gaps in financial literacy could help close wealth gaps. Among different income, racial, and gender groups, you’ll often find disparities in financial literacy .
First, there is a significant gap in financial literacy between rich and poor households. For example, Americans quizzed by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis on basic financial concepts generally did better when they had higher household incomes .
Researchers typically use the Big Three or the Big Five quiz of three or five questions when they study financial literacy.
Research has shown that Black and Latinx people have lower levels of financial literacy than White people, due in part to different socioeconomic statuses, according to a 2020 study from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
It's important to note that there are many anti-minority and anti-Black government policies in the U.S. that have systemically perpetuated finances and wealth and lead to a racial wealth gap . In addition to income inequality and historic discrimination in U.S. housing policy, education disparities have historically impacted the creation of the wealth gap, too.
Educational inequalities usually begin early in life. In the U.S., the odds of attending a high-poverty or high-minority school depend largely upon a child's racial or ethnic background and social class. For example, Black and Hispanic students are more likely to go to high-poverty schools than White or Asian American students. And attending a high-poverty school lowers math and reading achievement for students in all racial or ethnic groups—an effect that is still relevant today.
Finally, multiple studies have shown that women generally have lower levels of financial literacy than men, which can put their financial security at a higher risk. One 2014 study found that only 22% of U.S. women had basic knowledge of how interest rates , inflation , and risk diversification work, compared to 38% of men. Confidence may play a role in this difference, as another study showed the gender gap was cut in half when the researchers took away the option to answer “I don’t know.”
Financial education can play a role in helping close wealth gaps in the U.S. People tend to make much better financial decisions when they’re armed with knowledge about how money works. Below, find are some other key advantages of financial literacy.
Building Good Financial Habits
People who scored better on a test of financial literacy were more likely to spend less than their income , have an emergency fund, and have a retirement account, a report by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation found.
Financial literacy has also been associated with better planning for retirement , a lower tendency to borrow against 401(k)s , and greater likelihood of investing in stocks .
Avoiding Debt Traps
Financial literacy helps people avoid costly mistakes. Those who have more financial literacy education are more likely to avoid payday loans , which have high interest rates and hidden fees, a 2019 study by a University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher found.
People with greater financial literacy also were less likely to take pawnshop loans , make only the minimum payment on credit cards, or incur late fees on various financial products, the FINRA Investor Education Foundation found.
Another study by researchers at Montana State University found that college students who took mandatory financial education classes were more likely to fund their educations with low-interest federal loans and less likely to carry credit card balances. Those from less wealthy families were less likely to work while enrolled in school, while those from wealthier backgrounds were less likely to take out private loans .
Better Financial Health
Students who went to high schools where personal finance education was required were less likely to default on their debts and had higher credit scores than their peers, a study by researchers at Montana State University showed.
Knowledge often sticks with students after graduation, giving them an edge on tests of personal finance knowledge, an audit of Utah’s financial literacy program showed. That knowledge then helps them develop better financial habits. Graduates were more likely to be able to cover a $1,000 emergency expense and to have invested in the stock market, and they were less likely to be late on monthly payments.
Karsten Walker, a retired teacher and learning coordinator at the Alpine School District in Provo, Utah, said there may be other benefits to early financial education not yet captured by the research. He helped establish his district’s financial literacy program that rolled out in the early 2000s, and he said many of his former students have gone on to careers in the field.
“Not only do you help kids with their personal finances, but you’re going to see that kids gravitate to that as a career interest,” Walker said.
Walker said students would probably be even better served by starting to learn about money well before high school.
“While high school is great for financial education, you do need to start earlier,” he said.
Indeed, research has shown that people are getting credit at younger ages, and that financial habits developed in young adulthood tend to stick throughout life. Children form persistent habits with money as young as age 5, a study by researchers at the University of Michigan found.
And parents are up against what Vince Shorb , CEO of the nonprofit National Financial Educators Council, called “psychological warfare” in the form of toy advertisements, peer pressure, and social media. They are all bombarding children with messages encouraging excessive consumption and a spendthrift attitude. Shorb said high school financial literacy classes are a step in the right direction, but they may not be enough on their own.
“Try speaking a foreign language after one semester of anything,” he said. “Kids in school aren’t really getting anything about money. And parents aren’t training children to be good stewards of money and understand it and develop positive habits from a young age.”
Griffin said developing habits of good money management will likely take more than just one class.
“Money management is largely behavioral. It’s one thing to know the skills, but it’s also highly beneficial to start learning how to apply them into your everyday life,” she said. “It’s kind of like anything with mathematics or reading. You progress as the years go on.”
There are many ways to get children thinking about money. Shorb offered several tips to prime children for early financial literacy.
- Explain what you’re doing . Parents or guardians can help children understand how household finances work by engaging them in their own finances. Whether it’s a shopping trip or paying the bills, you can walk children through the decisions you’re making. You can also let kids listen in on your conversations with bankers, accountants, and other financial professionals. “Kids are sponges,” Shorb said. “They’re smarter than we think. They’re picking up things that we don’t even understand.”
- Have children earn money with chores . Rather than buying children toys outright, parents can use a classic technique of having the kids earn money by doing chores . That way, they learn the connection between labor and income. Consider having kids put some of their chore money toward household bills as they get older.
- Get kids into career conversations related to their interests . Earning income is a crucial part of having good finances, and kids model their career interests on jobs that they’ve been exposed to. This explains why so many children want to be teachers or YouTube influencers. Help kids expand their horizons by having them talk to people with other jobs, especially ones related to their interests. For example, if a child is interested in BMX biking, the parent can bring them to a competition and ask a vendor to explain what they do—most people are usually happy to talk to kids.
- Set aside time to teach the fundamentals . Consider sitting kids down and teaching them basic concepts. The lessons should be age-appropriate. For example, the topic of FICO Scores would probably be too advanced for a 4-year-old, but they may understand the concept of borrowing and returning.
What are the 5 principles of financial literacy?
The five principles of financial literacy are: earn, save and invest, protect, spend, and borrow. Focus on understanding your pay and benefits, then develop a budget to save and invest your earnings. Ensure your financial health is protected by, for example, having an emergency savings. Finally, be sure that you are spending wisely and that you borrow responsibly.
What is the best method for teaching financial literacy?
The best method for teaching financial literacy is the method that engages the student the most successfully. Each student will have different needs and different ways of learning. Understand how a child absorbs information, then develop the best method for teaching financial literacy based on their responsiveness. Methods can include playing games like Monopoly , engaging in discussions, or providing allowances, among many others.
What is the first rule of financial literacy?
The first rule of financial literacy is to understand your pay, or your earnings. Understanding your pay includes knowing what benefits are available to you and how you can take advantage of them.
Alice Morgan / Investopedia
Teaching financial literacy is important to instilling healthy habits in children so they can make the best decisions about money throughout their lives. Start financial lessons at an early age to give them a head start in developing these critical skills, then continue to provide financial guidance on more advanced lessons as they are ready. The strategies you use to foster financial literacy in your child will depend on how your child learns and how you best interact together.
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Financial Literacy Task Force
The Financial Literacy Task Force was created to complete a comprehensive study of access to financial education in Massachusetts and studied three key demographic groups: K-12 students, college students, and adults.
The Financial Literacy Task Force was created to complete a comprehensive study of access to financial education in Massachusetts and studied three key demographic groups: K-12 students, college students, and adults. The recommendations contained in the final report shape the direction of financial literacy programming offered by the Office of Economic Empowerment and are designed to have broad impact, reach a diverse range of Massachusetts residents, break down barriers, and create opportunity. Following the recommendations of the Massachusetts Financial Literacy Task Force, the Office of Economic Empowerment issued a first-of-its-kind report to map out existing personal financial literacy (PFL) education in the Massachusetts public school system. You can read the report and the executive summary by clicking the task button below.
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- Original Article
- Published: 15 December 2016
Lessons in financial literacy task design: authentic, imaginable, useful
- Carly Sawatzki ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-1463-8844 1
Mathematics Education Research Journal volume 29 , pages 25–43 ( 2017 ) Cite this article
As part of ongoing design-based research exploring financial literacy teaching and learning, 10 tasks termed “financial dilemmas” were trialled by 14 teachers and more than 300 year 5 and 6 students in four government primary schools in urban Darwin. Drawing on data related to three tasks— Catching the bus , Laser Tag and Buying bread —this article explores insights into problem context and task design principles. The findings highlight that fit to circumstance, challenge yet accessibility and pedagogical architecture are important task design principles. Further, tasks involving unfamiliar, novel and imaginable problem contexts, while pedagogically demanding for teachers, can be considered useful by students and have the potential to broaden their horizons.
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The EPMC project is funded through an Australian Research Council Discovery Project (DP110101027). The views expressed are those of the author. The project acknowledges the generous participation of the project schools.
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Sawatzki, C. Lessons in financial literacy task design: authentic, imaginable, useful. Math Ed Res J 29 , 25–43 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13394-016-0184-0
Received : 30 August 2016
Revised : 19 November 2016
Accepted : 30 November 2016
Published : 15 December 2016
Issue Date : March 2017
DOI : https://doi.org/10.1007/s13394-016-0184-0
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30 Easy Personal Finance Tips to Improve Your Financial Literacy Right Now
- April 30, 2020
Improving your financial literacy is a never ending endeavor that needs to be prioritized. As you work on improving your financial literacy, it’s important to continue your momentum.
The steps you have already taken to improve your financial understanding shouldn’t just be reserved for one month of the year (Financial Literacy Month). It’s crucial for your financial future to improve your literacy, and overall financial well-being twelve months of the year. Over the past 30 days, we compiled a list of 30 personal finance tips; one for each day during Financial Literacy Month, but tips that you can and should use year round. These personal finance tips are not only valuable for American households, but they are also incredibly easy to understand and start using for yourself.
Below are 30 personal finance tips that will improve your financial literacy.
Financial Tip 1 of 30: Make your finances a top priority
Financial Literacy Month exists for a reason. The reason is simple; to help households across the United States understand and prioritize their finances.
Making your finances a top priority is one of the best ways you can ensure that you will not only improve your financial literacy but also build a better relationship with your money.
Financial Tip 2 of 30: Start with the fundamentals
A very large reason why people continue to push back getting started on their finances is that the thought alone can be confusing and complicated. But it doesn’t have to be. When you’re just getting started on your financial journey, it’s important to not get caught up in the complexities and to not overlook the basics. Start with building your financial plan, tracking your expenses, listing off your debts, and researching different types of insurance.
Without a proper foundation in place everything else will seem that much more difficult. Rome wasn’t built in a day — your financial foundation won’t be either.
Financial Tip 3 of 30: Build your financial plan
The absolute best thing you can do for your finances, both your current situation and your future finances, is having a plan in place to help you navigate towards reaching your goals. Your financial plan is like a financial roadmap that will show you the steps you need to be taking to improve your finances. It also takes into consideration more than just your spending habits, it looks at your entire financial picture from your life insurance and risk tolerances to planning your estate .
The most important thing to remember is this: failing to plan is planning to fail. This could not be more true than when it comes to your finances.
The good news? You can use our free retirement calculator and build a free financial plan in just five minutes today .
Financial Tip 4 of 30: Budget consistently
Budgeting is a simple money management principle that helps you gain a better understanding of your inflow and outflow.
Your budget is a major component of your financial plan that can be used to help you manage your spending and saving habits.
Our ultimate guide to budgeting will go over everything you need to know about budgeting including what a budget is, how you can create one, the best budgeting methods and even some of our favorite budgeting tools.
Financial Tip 5 of 30: Set financial goals
It’s critical to set both short-term and long-term financial goals to make sure that you are working towards improving your financial well-being.
Setting financial goals can be a great way to give you direction, purpose, and motivation. When setting goals, make sure that you are setting S.M.A.R.T. to improve your chances of success and reaching these goals.
Financial Tip 6 of 30: Live within your means
This is one that you’ve likely heard time and time again. For good reason. Because of how important it is and the significance it can have on your retirement plan. If you want to avoid taking on debt, going broke and pushing back your chances of retiring at a reasonable age , then it’s in your best interest to make sure that your overall spending is less than what you are earning to make sure you are NOT jeopardizing your financial future.
It’s always easier said than done, but it’s also much easier to practice when you stick to your values and don’t worry about how others are spending their money.
Financial Tip 7 of 30: Invest early and often
This is something that I wish I had been taught earlier. The sooner you invest, assuming you do not have any high-risk or high-interest debts, the better it will be for your long-term plan. Thanks to the power of compound interes t, years to retirement , in other words, the amount of time you are invested in, can be one of the single greatest factors for your retirement plan. In fact, it can be the difference of hundreds of thousands of dollars by the time you retire depending on when you get started. If you’re looking for ways on how you can retire early , you’ll want to especially pay close attention to these factors. There are a lot of financial myths that exist and one of them is that you need to be a certain age to start investing, or that you need to already have a few thousand dollars at least to begin. This could not be further than the truth.
You’ll also want to consider whether or not you’ll invest in mutual funds, index funds, or ETFs .
Financial Tip 8 of 30: Automate your contributions
Automating your weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly contributions is a great way to ensure that you are consistently contributing towards your investments and retirement funds, without having to worry about making manual contributions yourself. This can eliminate a lot of the time and work that is involved, while making sure that you are always working towards your financial goals, not to mention taking advantage of compound interest.
Financial Tip 9 of 30: Pay attention to your fees
Understanding the fee structure(s) and the amount you have been paying on a monthly or even annual basis in regards to fees associated with your financial services is extremely important. Account service fees, annual financial planning service fees, invest account management fees, you name it.
If you haven’t reviewed and audited your fees yet, I recommend that you sit down and make this a priority. Chances are you will be surprised by how much you’ve been paying in fees every single year which can instead be used for things such as retirement fund contributions, padding your emergency fund, or even tucking away money for family vacations. You work hard for your money, don’t pay unnecessary fees if you don’t have to.
Financial Tip 10 of 30: Focus on the long-term
Focusing on the long-term is one of the most certain ways to build your Net Worth.
To put it in more perspective, consider this. If you’re investing for 10 years or longer, there have been virtually no negative results. If you’re investing for 15 years or longer, there has never been a period when major North American stock markets did not yield a positive return.
Financial Tip 11 of 30: Implement the 72-Hour Rule
The 72-hour rule is a game changer when it comes to savings and focusing on value-spending.
Before making any sort of impulse purchase, pause and take 72 hours to think it through.
After 72 hours, you will likely have forgotten about making this purchase entirely. Also, you’ve just saved yourself a few dollars, maybe even a few hundred, by doing so. Over time, this rule can be the difference of thousands of dollars and can help you shift your spending habits to focusing on things that bring you value and align with your financial plan.
Financial Tip 12 of 30: Find an accountability partner
An accountability partner is exactly what it sounds like. Your accountability partner is there to help keep you on track when it comes to your finances; they are there to keep you motivated and to help you stay the course, especially through the challenging times.
For most people, an accountability partner is a spouse. However, an accountability partner can be any individual you trust and value their input and guidance. Having an accountability partner can be the extra motivation you need to reach your financial goals.
Financial Tip 13 of 30: Focus on what you can control
Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that are out of your control when it comes to money. For example, you cannot control how the markets perform or even how long recessions last, when one happens.
However, there are a lot of things you can control. It’s in your best interest to focus on the things you can control, and let go of the things you have zero control over. This can be applied for everything in life, not just your finances. For example, you can control things such as the amount of your monthly contributions, your spending habits, the investment and account management fees you are paying, and even the type(s) of insurance you have in place to protect your family and your financial security.
Financial Tip 14 of 30: Increase your earnings
It’s no secret that reducing your expenses is necessary to your financial success. But it’s equally important, if not more important, to find ways to earn extra cash and maximize your income.
Whether that’s through earning a raise, getting a side hustle , or getting a part-time job, it’s important to increase the amount you are earning.
This will help you pay off your debt, increase your savings rate , and tuck additional money away for your sinking fund to pay for your next vacation.
Financial Tip 15 of 30: Build an emergency fund
An emergency fund is there to protect you and your family’s finances (both current and future) in the case of an emergency when you need to make large and sudden payments.
It’s important to recognize that emergencies are more common than anyone of us thinks and can come in all shapes and sizes. Here are a few examples of financial emergencies: sudden unemployment and loss of income, unexpected medical expenses, appliances suddenly breaking down, and more. Most financial experts recommend building an emergency fund equivalent to 3-6 months worth of take-home income to sufficiently protect yourself. Your Savology financial plan will automatically make the necessary calculation and show you how much you need to allocate towards a sufficient emergency fund.
Financial Tip 16 of 30: Shop around for your insurance
Insurance is a very critical component of your financial plan. Despite anything you’ve heard or what you think about insurance, it exists for a reason. It’s there to protect your assets and your family’s financial future.
Because insurance is so important, it’s in your best interest to not settle. Rather than taking the first policy you are offered, take your time, get a few quotes from additional providers, and shop around for the right insurance and the best deal that fits your financial plan. If you’re new to insurance and are searching for life insurance, you’ll want to get familiar with the basics of life insurance before moving forward with anything else.
Financial Tip 17 of 30: Track your Net Worth
Tracking your Net Worth is a very under-utilized financial tool that can be used to give you a snapshot of your financial progress over time.
All of the budgeting hacks and savings tools are great, but sometimes it’s easy to get off-track when using them. Tracking your Net Worth can be a great way to analyze where you’re currently at and how far you’ve come over the years which can provide more motivation to continue improving your financial picture.
Financial Tip 18 of 30: Always pay yourself first
When it comes to your money, you are number one. By paying yourself first, you are ensuring money goes towards your savings or retirement fund before anything else.
Most experts recommend saving anywhere between 10-20% of your take-home income . If you’re unable to start off with 10%, it’s important not to get discouraged. The most important thing, if you recall tip #7 is to invest early. So even if you only start out with 5%, that’s more than alright. Start there, and then continue increasing your savings rate as you work on your finances.
Financial Tip 19 of 30: Don’t keep up with the Joneses
Don’t worry about comparing your financial situation to others. The only thing it will ever do is distract you from reaching your goals. When you try to keep up with others (“the Joneses”) and match their lifestyle, it can lead you down a slippery slope of taking on high-interest debts and even going broke.
Instead, focus on what you value and make sure your spending aligns with it. Otherwise, you’ll just become another financial statistic .
Financial Tip 20 of 30: Pay more than the minimums
The same way that compound interest can work in your favor, it can also work against you on your debts. This is especially the case when you take on high-interest debts, such as credit cards that are around 19% interest.
If you’re only making the minimum payments each month on these cards, it will end up costing you thousands of dollars in interest. Pay more than the monthly minimums . What’s even better is if you are able to do this next tip.
Financial Tip 21 of 30: Pay off your credits cards
There is a common misconception that you should always maintain a balance on your credit cards as a way to build your credit . This is a financial myth and you should steer clear of anyone giving you this type of “advice”.
Paying off your cards every month ensures that you avoid paying excessive interest payments. If you can’t pay them off in full, make sure you are paying more than the monthly minimums.
Financial Tip 22 of 30: Nominate successor guardians
If you have children, nominating successor guardians should be on the top of your list so that you can ensure you are confident with who will provide care for them should you no longer be able to. A guardian can be considered as a substitute parent. For as long as the ward (the minor child is called a ward of the guardian) is under the age of majority—age 18—the guardian has the same rights and duties as any legal parent would. Read our Guardianship Nominations 101 article to learn more about how you can nominate a guardian and the importance of taking those steps.
Financial Tip 23 of 30: Plan your estate
Despite what you may have heard, it’s never too early to plan your estate. In fact, it’s better that you don’t leave it until the last minute. An estate plan will guard preferences, care for successors, and defend what you have worked hard to achieve. For this reason, it is also such an integral component of any investment or financial plan.
The more time and thought you have to carefully plan and piece together your estate, the better off your family’s financial future will be.
Financial Tip 24 of 30: Take Advantage of 401(k) and HSA Matches
Take advantage of employer-matched 401(k) and HSA contributions when available. Every plan through your employer will likely be structured differently, so it’s important to read through your compensation and benefits package in detail to fully understand how to best utilize these programs. Remember, these exist for a reason and not taking advantage of them would be intentionally passing up opportunities to help you fund your retirement.
Financial Tip 25 of 30: Increase your savings rate as your income increases
As you start to earn more money and increase your total income, it’s important not to let go of good financial habits , but rather to reinforce them.
When your income increases, so should the amount you’re saving on a monthly basis and not the amount you are spending.
Financial Tip 26 of 30: Use Value-Based Spending to guide your spending
Value-Based Spending means that every dollar you spend should add significant value to your life and go towards helping you reach your financial goals.
This type of spending method can help you control your impulse spending and form better habits that will ultimately benefit your financial plan in the long run.
Financial Tip 27 of 30: Choose term life insurance
Term life insurance can often be more beneficial than whole life as it will provide a payout to your beneficiaries in the event of your death during the term (most common is 20 years) indicated in your contract. Term life insurance is the easiest type of life insurance to secure, easiest to understand, easiest to work with, and it is the most affordable.
Financial Tip 28 of 30: Implement a Zero-Based Budget
A Zero-Based Budget is all about money utilization and allocation by giving every single dollar you earn a specific “task” to make sure that your money is being put to work in the most efficient way. This ensures that there is no money left-over that can “accidentally” go towards unnecessary and impulse expenses. Learn more about a zero-based budget and different budgeting methods here .
Financial Tip 29 of 30: Stay active and healthy
Taking care of your health should always be one of your priorities, no matter what. Staying healthy improves the quality of your life and can also significantly decrease any required medical expenses.
Not only that, but a lot of bad lifestyle habits such as excessive drinking, smoking, and poor diets can also end up being very costly.
Financial Tip 30 of 30: Actively revisit, review and update your financial plan
Revisiting and reviewing your financial plan is a great way to make sure that you are always working towards your financial goals, and that your current situation aligns with how you will reach them.
Here at Savology, we recommend reviewing your financial plan every 3-6 months, or whenever significant life events occur. By doing so, you’ll have the peace of mind and confidence you need to properly navigate your finances.
Putting these tips to practice
When it comes to your personal finances, it’s never just a one and done situation. It’s your job, as the proprietor of your financial life, to continually devote the time and resources that you need.
Each one of these 30 financial tips can be a great way to improve your financial literacy, along with the relationship you have with your money.
And lastly, avoid making financial literacy month the excuse to only pay attention to your finances once a year. If you are serious about your financial security then you need to approach every month of the year as financial literacy month.
After all, money never sleeps.
Your financial future starts today
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18 states require personal finance education in schools—here's what they're teaching kids about money
One of the most important steps to build wealth or accomplish any major money goal is to have at least a basic foundation of financial literacy. The question is, where do you get that education?
Some states are stepping in to make sure the next generation is equipped to navigate the world with a solid understanding of credit, debt, budgeting, investing and more.
As of this year, 18 states guarantee some form of personal finance education before students graduate, according to Next Gen Personal Finance (NGPF), a nonprofit that provides educational resources and advocates for financial literacy in schools.
As part of its National Financial Literacy Month efforts, CNBC will be featuring stories throughout the month dedicated to helping people manage, grow and protect their money so they can truly live ambitiously.
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The growing trend of personal finance education legislation has brought the percentage of high schoolers guaranteed to take a personal finance course up to 40.5% in 2023, compared with 22.7% of students in 2022, according to NGPF.
Personal finance is a huge umbrella. Deciding the most important, relevant and engaging topics to teach students as young as kindergarten is no easy feat. Across the country in schools and other educational organizations, teachers and economic professionals are figuring out the best ways to teach kids about money.
Setting the standards
When it comes to mandating personal finance education, it's not as simple as legislators or school boards agreeing that there need to be courses available. Much work has gone into developing standards for each state that school districts then use to develop curriculum to teach the required material.
Along with advocating for personal finance education in schools, organizations like NGPF and the Council for Economic Education work to develop standards they feel will best equip students with necessary and relevant financial education.
The National Council for Economic Education identifies six critical topic areas in their personal finance standards :
- Earning income
- Managing credit
- Managing risk
Developing the local standards can come down to "whoever's in the room," according to Chris Cannon, chief program officer at the Georgia Council on Economic Education, who worked on Georgia's personal finance education standards.
"We sort of sit around and say, 'Alright, what is it about budgeting you think every kid needs to know? Give us the laundry list,'" Cannon tells CNBC Make It. "And then we can't teach all that, so we say, 'What are the basics?'"
NGPF also works on the policy side to help ensure when states are mandating personal finance education, they're doing so effectively. Along with proposing course topics, they endorse semester-long, standalone personal finance courses, rather than just requiring that some financial concepts be taught within a math, economics or other class.
As of March 2023, about 24% of students go to schools that uphold the "gold standard" of personal finance education, according to NGPF , where it's both required and comprehensive.
In order for [a personal finance course] to be comprehensive, actionable and relevant, it has to include everything — banking, budgeting, investing, taxes, insurance, paying for college. Yanely Espinal director of educational outreach at NGPF
"In order for [a personal finance course] to be comprehensive, actionable and relevant, it has to include everything — banking, budgeting, investing, taxes, insurance, paying for college, it has to include credit scores," Yanely Espinal, director of educational outreach at NGPF tells CNBC Make it. "There's no way that you can do all of that in just a couple of weeks of another class."
It starts with decision-making
Despite different standards and course descriptions, educators from various locations generally agree that teaching students how to make thoughtful decisions is at the heart of all personal finance education.
"The biggest single theme by far is decision making — weighing costs, benefits, marginal cost, marginal benefits and thinking through future consequences as best you can," Cannon says. "That theme is really a theme of the economics discipline, and we view personal finance as an extension of economics."
There are plenty of nitty-gritty topics to get into within personal finance from understanding the power of compound interest to knowing the challenges of adjustable-rate loans. Cannon and other experts say decision-making provides a framework for students to get into those deeper topics on an as-needed basis.
Not every student will go to college, for example, but all students should be equipped to make that decision after weighing the costs and benefits.
"Personal finance instruction includes teaching things like managing a budget, picking stocks, diversifying your investment portfolio and insurance, and those things are really important to learn, but they're not particularly relevant to 16- or 17-year olds, let alone middle schoolers or elementary school students," Scott Wolla, economic education officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis tells CNBC Make It.
"But really, everyone makes decisions every day and many of those decisions are financial decisions."
Correction: This story has been updated to reflect the the correct spelling of Yanely Espinal.
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Engaging financial literacy activities for adults
In today’s complex economic landscape, the need for financial literacy activities for adults has never been more critical. Navigating the intricacies of personal finance is a fundamental life skill that empowers individuals to make informed decisions about their money.
Whether it’s understanding budgeting, investments, or debt management, financial literacy activities serve as a compass, guiding adults toward financial stability and a secure future. In a world where financial decisions have lasting repercussions, fostering a culture of financial literacy is not just practical; it’s an essential component of individual and societal well-being.
Table of contents
What is financial literacy, why is financial literacy important for adults, the consequences of financial illiteracy, creating a budget: your financial compass, evaluating debt: facing the borrowing beast, saving for emergencies, investing for the future, what is credit, importance of a good credit score, how to maintain and improve your credit score, the basics of retirement accounts, calculating retirement needs, strategies for retirement savings, understanding taxation, tax deductions and credits, strategies for tax-efficient financial management, financial workshops and seminars, online financial courses, budgeting challenges and competitions, investment simulators and games, book clubs for financial literature, budgeting apps: sculpting financial discipline, investment tracking tools: watching your wealth grow, credit monitoring apps: safeguarding your financial reputation, gamified learning platforms, benefits of gamification in financial education, examples of financial literacy games, frequently asked questions, understanding financial basics.
In a world driven by economic complexities, financial literacy emerges as the compass navigating the terrain of personal finance. Simply put, financial literacy is the ability to comprehend and make informed decisions about money matters. It encompasses understanding fundamental concepts such as budgeting, investing, debt management, and the overall workings of the financial system.
Financial literacy is not just a buzzword; it’s a lifeline for adults navigating the ever-changing currents of their financial landscape. Imagine setting sail without a compass—financial literacy provides the necessary tools to navigate through the seas of budgeting, saving, and investing. It empowers individuals to make informed decisions about their money, fostering financial independence and resilience.
Conversely, the absence of financial literacy can lead to a host of challenges. From mounting debts and poor investment choices to missed opportunities for savings and retirement planning, the consequences of financial illiteracy are significant. It’s akin to wandering through a dense forest without a map—easy to get lost and challenging to find your way back to stable financial ground.
Assessing Your Financial Situation
1. Setting Financial Goals: Imagine your finances as a road trip – without a destination, you might end up lost. Start by setting clear financial goals. Want to buy a home? Travel more? Save for retirement? Define your goals; they’ll be your guiding stars.
2. Tracking Income and Expenses: It’s time to get real with your money. Track every dime coming in and going out. This isn’t about judgment; it’s about awareness. Whether it’s that daily coffee or a monthly subscription, it all adds up. Understanding your spending habits is the first step to financial empowerment.
3. Allocating Funds for Savings and Investments: Pay yourself first. Treat your savings and investments like a non-negotiable bill. Set aside a portion of your income for the future. It might seem small at first, but compound interest is your financial best friend in the long run.
1. Types of Debt: Not all debts are created equal. There’s good debt, like a mortgage or student loan, and bad debt, like high-interest credit cards. Knowing the difference is crucial. Good debt can be an investment in your future, while bad debt can drag you down.
2. Strategies for Managing and Reducing Debt: Taming the debt monster requires strategy. Start by listing your debts and their interest rates. Consider the avalanche or snowball method – tackling high-interest debts first or clearing smaller debts for quick wins. Don’t be afraid to negotiate interest rates or seek professional advice if needed.
Building a Strong Financial Foundation
1. Emergency Fund Basics
We’ve all been there—life’s unexpected curveballs. Your car breaks down, or the plumbing decides it’s time for a surprise flood. That’s where the emergency fund comes in—the unsung hero of financial peace. It’s not about being pessimistic; it’s about being prepared.
An emergency fund is your financial safety net, a stash of cash ready to catch you when life throws a financial hiccup your way. It’s not about how much you make; it’s about how much you keep for a rainy day.
2. Establishing an Emergency Fund
Building this fund is like creating a financial superhero. Start small, set a goal, and stash away a bit every month. Treat it like a bill you pay to your future self-care . Aim for at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses—a buffer zone that keeps you resilient when life gets a bit chaotic.
1. Types of Investments
Now that your superhero fund is in place, let’s talk about growing your financial garden. There are various ways to invest, each with its own flair. Stocks, bonds, real estate—the options are as diverse as your favorite ice cream flavors. Diversify your investments like you would your playlist—some hits, some classics, and a sprinkle of the unknown.
2. Risk Tolerance and Investment Choices
Ah, risk—the spice of financial life. Your risk tolerance is like your financial horoscope, guiding you through the market’s twists and turns. High risk, high reward? Or perhaps a smoother, steadier ride is more your style. It’s all about understanding yourself—your goals, your fears, and your financial GPS.
Learning About Credit and Credit Scores
Credit, in its simplest form, is trust. It’s the trust that someone extends to you when you borrow money with the promise to pay it back. Whether it’s a credit card, mortgage, or personal loan, you’re essentially using someone else’s money with a commitment to return it on agreed terms.
Imagine your credit score as your financial report card. This three-digit number (ranging from 300 to 850 in the FICO scoring model) reflects your creditworthiness. Lenders use it to assess the risk of lending you money. The higher your score, the more favorable terms and interest rates you can secure. A good credit score isn’t just a number; it’s a key to unlocking better financial opportunities.
1. Timely Payments: The backbone of a good credit score is paying your bills on time. Late payments can significantly impact your score, so set up reminders or automatic payments to stay on track.
2. Credit Utilization: Keep your credit card balances low in comparison to your credit limit. Aim for a credit utilization ratio below 30% to demonstrate responsible credit management.
3. Diverse Credit Mix: Having a mix of different types of credit (credit cards, loans, etc.) can positively impact your score. It shows you can handle various financial responsibilities.
4. Regularly Check Your Credit Report: Mistakes happen, and identity theft is a real concern. Regularly review your credit report to catch any inaccuracies and address them promptly.
Imagine retirement accounts as the sturdy vessel that carries your financial dreams. There are various types of these vessels, each with its own perks and nuances. Common options include 401(k)s, IRAs, and Roth IRAs. These accounts not only help your money grow over time but also offer tax advantages.
Understanding these accounts is like learning strategies and the ropes of sailing – a bit intricate at first, but immensely rewarding. Take the time to explore which account aligns with your goals and financial situation.
Mapping your financial journey requires a destination. Calculating your retirement needs is akin to setting the coordinates for a GPS. Start by envisioning the lifestyle you desire in retirement. Do you see yourself exploring the world or enjoying a peaceful life in your favorite community?
Consider factors like living expenses, healthcare costs, and potential inflation. By crunching these numbers, you’re not just planning for retirement – you’re crafting a blueprint for the life you’ve always dreamed of.
Retirement savings are like the wind in your sails – they propel you forward. Establishing a consistent savings strategy is vital. Think of it as regularly stocking your ship with provisions. Automate contributions to your retirement accounts, and watch your wealth accumulate.
Diversification is another key strategy. Just as a ship needs various sails to navigate different conditions, your portfolio should consist of a mix of assets. This helps mitigate risks and ensures smoother sailing through the unpredictable seas of the market.
Taxes and Tax Planning
Taxes are an inevitable part of life, and understanding the basics is crucial for financial well-being. In simple terms, taxation is the means by which governments fund their activities for financial literacy . Income tax, property tax, and sales tax are common forms that individuals encounter.
Knowing your tax obligations is the first step in smart financial planning. This includes understanding taxable income, tax brackets, and the various forms of taxes applicable to your situation.
The tax code offers opportunities for individuals to reduce their tax liability through deductions and credits. Deductions, such as those for charitable contributions or certain expenses, reduce your taxable income. Credits, on the other hand, directly reduce the amount of tax owed.
Exploring and utilizing available deductions and credits can significantly impact your overall tax burden. This could mean more money in your pocket or, conversely, less money owed to the government.
Strategic tax planning is about maximizing your financial efficiency within the bounds of the law. Consideration of tax implications should be integrated into broader financial decisions. For example, choosing tax-advantaged investment accounts or timing significant financial events strategically can lead to substantial savings.
Professional advice is often invaluable in navigating the complexities of tax planning. Consulting with a tax professional can help tailor strategies to your specific situation, ensuring that you’re not paying more in taxes than necessary.
Engaging in Financial Literacy Activities
Imagine learning about budgeting and investing in a lively, interactive setting. Financial workshops and seminars offer a hands-on approach, allowing you to engage with experts, ask questions, and gain valuable insights. These events create a space for open discussions, turning financial education into a shared experience.
In our digital age, the internet is a treasure trove of knowledge, and online financial courses are the jewels within. Accessible from the comfort of your home, these courses cover a spectrum of financial topics. They provide the flexibility to learn at your own pace, making financial education fit seamlessly into your busy schedule.
Transforming budgeting into a game? That’s precisely the idea behind budgeting challenges and competitions. Whether solo or team-based, these challenges add an element of fun to fiscal responsibility. Competing to save, invest, or stick to a budget creates a sense of achievement while honing practical money management skills.
Mastering the art of investing doesn’t have to be intimidating. Investment simulators and games allow you to dip your toes into the stock market without real financial consequences. It’s a risk-free environment where you can experiment with different investment strategies, helping demystify the complexities of the financial markets.
Combine the joy of reading with financial enlightenment by joining a financial book club. Engaging in thoughtful discussions about financial literature provides unique perspectives and shared insights. From personal finance memoirs to investment guides, these clubs offer a social and intellectual approach to understanding the world of money.
Personal Finance Apps and Tools
Budgeting is the cornerstone of financial well-being. With budgeting apps like Mint, You Need a Budget (YNAB), or PocketGuard, tracking your income and expenses becomes a seamless experience. These apps categorize your spending, provide insights, and even set budget goals, empowering you to make informed decisions about your lesson plans on money .
For those delving into the world of investments, tracking your portfolio is key. Apps like Personal Capital or SigFig enable you to monitor your investments in real time, offering a comprehensive overview of your asset allocation, performance, and fees. Stay informed and make strategic investment decisions as you watch your wealth grow.
Understanding your credit is paramount in the financial landscape. Credit monitoring apps such as Credit Karma or Experian provide regular updates on your credit score and report. They notify you of any significant changes, helping you stay vigilant against identity theft and ensuring you’re on the right path to maintaining a healthy credit profile.
Gamification of Financial Literacy
Imagine learning about budgeting, investing, and credit scores not through tedious lectures, but through interactive games that make finance as engaging as your favorite video game. Gamified learning resources platforms are the secret sauce in this recipe for financial success. These platforms leverage the principles of gaming to simplify complex financial concepts, making them accessible to everyone.
Why play games to learn about money? Well, the benefits are plenty. Gamification taps into our natural competitive instincts, making the learning process more immersive and enjoyable. It transforms financial education from a chore into a challenge, encouraging users to actively participate and retain information better.
Moreover, these platforms often simulate real-world financial scenarios, allowing users to make decisions and face consequences in a risk-free environment. This hands-on experience enhances practical understanding and prepares individuals to navigate their financial journey with confidence.
Ready to embark on a financial adventure? Here are some examples of games that are changing the way we learn about money:
1. Budget Hero: Ever dreamt of being a national budget decision-maker? In this game, players navigate the complexities of government budgeting, making choices that impact the economy and individual well-being.
2. Stock Market Games: Various platforms offer simulated stock market games, allowing users to try their hand at investing without risking real money. This is an excellent way to understand the dynamics of the market and develop investment strategies.
3. Credit Simulator: Step into the shoes of a credit manager with this game, where decisions about credit applications, payments, and financial responsibility determine your virtual credit score.
In conclusion, delving into the intro to financial literacy activities for adults is more than just a task; it’s an investment in personal development empowerment. As we navigate the intricate landscape of money management, these activities serve as a compass, guiding us toward informed decisions and a secure financial future.
From understanding emergency funds to exploring investment options and mastering the nuances of credit, the journey of financial literacy is a transformative one. It equips us not only with knowledge but with the confidence to make sound financial choices. So, let’s embrace the power of financial literacy, knowing that each lesson learned is a step closer to financial well-being and a more secure tomorrow.
To get your hands on more such articles, educational content, and free resources on coding for kids, robotics courses, game development, etc., check out the BrightCHAMPS Blog Page now!
A1. Starting to budget effectively involves understanding your income, tracking your expenses, and setting clear financial goals. Begin by listing all sources of income and categorizing your expenses. Identify areas where you can cut back, create a realistic budget, and stick to it. Regularly review and adjust your budget as needed.
A2. For beginners, it’s wise to start with low-risk investments like index funds, mutual funds, or exchange-traded funds (ETFs). These options offer diversification and are managed by professionals. As you become more comfortable, you can explore individual stocks and other investment vehicles.
A3. Improving your credit score involves paying bills on time, reducing credit card balances, and avoiding opening too many new accounts. Check your credit report regularly for errors and dispute any inaccuracies. Responsible credit use over time will positively impact your credit score.
A4. Saving involves setting money aside in a secure account, like a savings account, typically for short-term goals or emergencies. Investing, on the other hand, involves putting money into assets such as stocks, bonds, or real estate with the expectation of earning a return over the long term. Saving is generally a lower risk while investing carries higher potential returns and risks.
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15 Financial Literacy Activities for High School Students (PDFs)
By: Author Amanda L. Grossman
Posted on Last updated: October 31, 2022
Trying to teach teen students about money? Check out these free financial literacy activities for high school students (PDFs).
Teaching teen students different parts of managing money? Awesome – let’s get you some free financial literacy activities for high schools (PDFs included).
You’ll find activities and PDFs below that cover a variety of money subjects:
- Money management
- Credit cards
- Spending plans
Below are PDFs, games with PDFs, PowerPoint slides, and teacher guides to help you teach your students all about managing money. Also, you might want to check out these financial literacy week themes .
Financial Literacy Activities for High School Students (PDFs included)
From learning how to rent an apartment, to learning how to decide on a big purchase decision – these lessons help prepare teens for real-life scenarios they’ll face in a few short years.
Psst: are you a homeschooler? Check out these 31 free homeschool personal finance curriculum . Includes curriculum alignments, where possible.
1. The True Cost of Renting a Place
Since your students will likely rent before owning a home, it’s vital that they learn how to actually rent an apartment (and what costs are involved).
Use this lesson plan, handouts, and slides to teach your students how to rent, the total costs involved, and how to compare rental options.
2. Put it in the Bank
Dallas Fed has a great series of resources around helping students learn how to build wealth.
This particular lesson has students compare putting money under a mattress and putting money into a savings bank account. Including a whole lesson on simple vs. compound interest.
Comes with slides, teacher’s notes, and student worksheets (hint: it’s hard to figure out how to get the materials – at least it was for me! First, click on the lesson you want, then click on the red “Procedure Documents” and “Interactive Lessons” to get the materials).
Hint: As a teacher, you can order up to 50 print copies of their 40-page booklet, Building Wealth: A Beginner’s Guide to Securing Your Financial Future, for free here ! Comes in Spanish, too. Woohoo!
3. Use Credit Wisely
This set of slides, handouts, and notes takes students through how to use credit wisely.
- Go through borrowing scenarios with specific information from fictional characters and debate whether or not they should take a loan
- Look at the impact of debt
- Learn lots of important financial words having to do with credit and debt
(Hint: it’s hard to figure out how to get the materials – at least it was for me! First, click on the lesson you want, then click on the red “Procedure Documents” and “Interactive Lessons” to get the materials).
Psst: Teaching students about credit? Definitely check out these credit card games for students .
4. KWHS Comparison Shopping Big-Ticket Items
So, here’s an eye-opening experience for your students – use this video and worksheet from Wharton High School to teach them about retail marketing tactics (aka, getting teens and adults to spend more money).
5. What is it Worth Saving For?
I’ve got a whole article on cool things for teens to save up for , so I’m all about financial literacy activities helping teenagers to figure out their next savings goal.
This is a daydreaming and writing exercise where teens are taken through a series of questions to get to what they really are willing to prioritize their money to save towards.
Comes with both a PDF for students to fill out, and a teacher’s guide.
Psst: you also might be interested in how much a teen should have saved by 18 .
6. KWHS Organize Your Financial Records
I’m including this financial literacy activity here because I think it’s pretty interesting. This one has your students creating a Statement of Financial Position, meaning they’ll basically fill out their net worth to date.
Eye-opening, to say the least!
Also, a good financial habit to develop (here’s why it’s important to track your net worth ).
7. Checking Account Balance Activity
This is TD Bank’s free printable resource with activities to teach teens how to balance a checkbook.
Students will complete a check register, learn how to read a checking account statement, and learn how to reconcile a checking register with a checking account.
Important stuff! And just part of the banking activities for kids and teens to learn about.
Hint: this says it’s for Grades 6-8; however, it’s a wonderful opportunity for teens who have yet to learn how to bank. Here are 11 more interactive money activities where kids and teens actually dig in and help make financial decisions around their home.
8. Shark Tank Lesson Plans
I’ve got a whole article filled with the best (free) worksheets, PDFs, and activities I could find having to do with the famous TV show, Shark Tank.
Students can use one of these worksheets to work through a business idea, product ideation, calculating profit, and much more.
For example, Scholastic has a great set of free Shark Tank PDFs and lesson plans to use in high school classrooms.
9. Create a Savings Comic Strip
Your students are tasked with writing a creative savings comic strip, all around different characters working through an important lesson about saving money.
Comes with a teacher’s guide, and student worksheet.
10. Compose a Rap Song or Poem about Paying for College
Students will review what various college payment choices are out there, and learn about each (such as scholarships, grants, loans, etc.).
Then, they’ll have to come up with a rap song or poem to talk about them!
The worksheet comes with a scoring rubric for the whole class to use in a competition.
11. Teach them How to Pay Bills
What is one financial scenarios for students to learn? How to pay bills. Everyone does it.
Paying bills is a critical adult money skill…yet I’ve seen hardly any lessons around this.
That’s why I created a free PDF and activity that will help with how to teach kids how to pay bills . Try it out with a group!
Budgeting Worksheets Printables (PDFs)
This section is all about offering up awesome budgeting worksheet printables to go along with budgeting activities for high school teens.
Pssst: looking for more budgeting scenarios for high school students? Check out my 12 fun budgeting PDFs for students article, and these 4 budget projects for high school students .
1. Family Budget Game
Here’s a game created to help students understand not only budgeting, but budgeting for a family on a low income.
You can click on each of their “Family 1”, “Family 2”, etc. packages, and print out each of the materials. Create four envelopes (or “Family Packets”) for each family, and give each to a group of students.
Each packet includes:
- Family Scenario
- Family Budget Worksheet
- Family Crisis 1 (possible a Family Crisis 2)
- Family Good News
- Family Income
- Family Bills
The group is then in charge of filling out a budget and paying bills based on their family’s means.
This also makes for a good budget simulation for high school students, because it throws crisis situations (and good news situations) that change the dynamics of their “family’s” financial situation, meaning they have to think on their feet about how to move forward.
2. Budget Busters
I would call this activity a money-habits-awareness one.
Because what it focuses on is asking students whether or not they do certain money management habits/behaviors, and they have to forfeit a pretend dollar bill each time they answer “no”.
What are some of these behaviors and habits?
- I have a spending plan for my allowance and any earnings from working for others or for myself.
- I know how much I can spend each day/week for snacks.
- I know how much I can spend on clothing each month/year.
Psst: you might want to check out these needs vs. wants budget worksheets, activities, and games .
3. KWHS Comment Contest
Here’s an interesting financial literacy activity – have your students register (for free) to Knowledge @ Wharton High School, read articles about personal finance, and leave a thoughtful comment on something they feel strongly about.
It’s an annual competition, and can definitely get your students interested in learning more about personal finance.
4. Making a Budget
St. Louis Fed has a set of slides, teacher guide, and worksheets to teach kids things like:
- Gross income vs. net income
- Saving money
- Spending money
- Prioritizing using a budget
Financial Literacy Games for High School Students
Financial literacy games are another great activity to guide high school students self-discover vital money life skills.
You’ll definitely want to check out my articles on:
- 19 Free Financial Literacy Games for High School Students
- 11 Budget Games
- 11 Best Business Simulation Games for Kids & Teens
And here’s one more for you:
1. Play a Budgeting Game with PDFs
Have your teens play this free online financial literacy game ( Misadventures in Money Management ), going through Sonya’s avatar.
Then, have them work through these worksheets to understand how to make large-purchase decisions better.
They’ll learn to:
- Think through a large purchase decision
- Plan a large purchase
- How to avoid being pressured into making a large purchase
A final idea? Is to have your teens journal about money. Here are some great journal topics for high school , including the subject of money.
Any one of these financial literacy activities for high school students pdfs will teach teens a money lesson or two that will make an impact in their young adult lives. So, just choose one to start with and go from there!
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Why Financial Literacy Should Be a Priority for Every Young Woman
Published on 11/10/2023 at 9:00 AM
The gender pay gap isn't the only type of financial inequality women face: there's an equally concerning disparity between women and men's financial literacy. Research has shown that women tend to have a lower comprehension level of financial topics than men — and the situation is even more dire for women of color.
When researchers asked women questions about concepts like saving, investing, and managing debt, Black and Latinx women answered only 38 percent of the questions correctly —16 percentage points below their white peers, on average. The same survey results found financial literacy was lowest among Gen Z women. Another study found that women also felt less comfortable making major financial decisions than their male counterparts.
This lack of financial literacy has real-world effects on young women of color, too. On average, women live five years longer than men — but also accumulate less wealth than men over their lifetime on average due to the gender pay gap, so it's crucial that they understand how to manage their money. In general, greater financial literacy is associated with increased financial wellness . Researchers don't know exactly why women tend to have lower levels of financial literacy than men, but they agree that addressing this gender gap is crucial.
The first step to closing the financial literacy gap? Creating an open dialogue around money. Talking about money remains taboo in our society — and asking someone how much they make, how much they spend on rent, or even how much student loan debt they carry is still widely frowned upon. If young women can't speak to their peers about finances, learning to manage their money effectively becomes even more difficult. That's why Secret is calling for the end of financial secrets: It's time to start having these important conversations and improve your financial wellness.
To help spread the word about financial literacy, Secret brought two women in personal finance —founder of The Finance Bar Marsha Barnes and personal finance author Berna Anat — to speak to HBCU students at the Ambitious Girl Fall Tour . They spent the day encouraging young women to invest their time into money management and dishing out advice — like why Barnes thinks college is the perfect time to start thinking about personal finance.
"Peer pressure is really real and competition is real. If you're anything like me, at that age, you wanted everything," she said. "Financial literacy allows you to better understand what you want for your life as opposed to what others have or what others are doing."
Both Barnes and Anat advocated for having open, honest conversations about money with anyone and everyone in your life — friends, family, coworkers — to try to remove the culture of secrecy and shame. "The more we talk about it, the more we are constantly learning and growing," Barnes said. Anat even suggested starting a group chat with your friends just for talking about money. "Anytime someone deposits money in their savings or does something good with their money, drop a money emoji in there. It encourages everybody else to participate," she said.
Being able to speak frankly about how you're saving, spending, and investing your money will help you feel more confident and comfortable managing your finances — something both women agreed is crucial to creating a healthy financial future for yourself.
"Money is the language of power in this world," Anat said. "Any amount of dollars in your pocket is your power. . . . Learn about your money, learn about your own self-worth and power in this world, and you're unstoppable."
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Prepare now, taking your financial inventory.
Create a summary of your financial assets and liabilities with this booklet. Regardless of age or current circumstances, this is an important first step for individuals or families who want to plan for their future.
Download your financial inventory worksheet and get started! Choose a format below.
MICPA Guide to Financial Preparedness
The MICPA Financial Literacy Task Force in partnership with the Hospice of Michigan has created this valuable tool intended for use by individuals and families as well as you and your clients to strengthen financial well-being. This joint venture seeks to promote positive situations and facilitate a guided approach to financial security.
Guide to Financial Preparedness
Explore our Financial Literacy Curriculum
We have a series of power points with in-depth information
Personal Finance Will Be Required in Michigan Education
On Thursday, Jun. 16, 2022, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed HB 5190, a bill sponsored by Rep. Diana Farrington (R – Utica) and supported by the MICPA, making personal finance courses a requirement for high school graduation. Read More
If you’d like to get involved in supporting these initiatives consider joining the task force!
How to Build a Better Budget
6 key principles for obtaining financial wellness, do it yourself savings.
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You're ready to start planning your financial future, let the MICPA help you to find a respected Michigan Certified Public Accountant to be your financial guru.
AICPA Financial Literacy Resources
360 degrees of financial literacy.
The American Institute of CPAs offers a set of comprehensive guides to assist you in managing your finances at every stage of your life. Visit the site for an index of articles, tools and FAQs grouped by age range and situation to make it easy to find the information you need.
Bank On It Interactive Game
Imagined by students for students, Bank On It challenges you on the fundamentals of accounting, gives you a taste of work-world scenarios, and reinforces what your learning in the classroom. Put yourself to the test.
Disasters and Financial Planning
The AICPA, American Red Cross and National Endowment for Financial Education released a new, interactive guide to help people take proactive steps to minimize the potential impact of disasters on their lives and financial well-being.
Reinventing Mi Retirement
The MICPA is proud to be a partner in the State of Michigan's Reinventing Mi Retirement initiative - making information and materials available to Michiganders of all ages to help them plan a secure financial future!
Financial Literacy Task Force
Treasurer Kimberly Yee appointed Arizona’s first-ever Task Force on Financial Literacy , aimed at making sure all Arizonans will have the opportunity to attain proficiency in basic money management. This 17-member Task Force is taking the steps to bring resources to students, seniors, military veterans and vulnerable populations who need help with managing their money across our great state. The State Treasurer's Financial Literacy Task Force examines the landscape of financial literacy across Arizona’s communities and identify opportunities for improvement.
The Task Force is the next step in Treasurer Yee’s longstanding advocacy to increase financial literacy in Arizona. As a member of the Arizona Legislature, she passed laws requiring the state’s K-12 academic standards to include financial literacy and established a seal of financial literacy on diplomas that may be earned by graduating high school seniors. As chaired by Treasurer Yee, the Financial Literacy Task Force has led initiatives to:
Require Arizona high schools to teach financial education before graduation (Laws 2019, Chapter 84)
Establish the Treasurer’s Financial Literacy Fund and require the Treasurer to promote financial literacy to Arizona residents (Laws 2020, Chapter 76)
Allow families in the TANF program to use financial education to help meet their work requirements (Laws 2020, Chapter 23)
Advance opportunities for families to access 529 College Savings Plans (Laws 2020, Chapter 88)
To advance financial literacy throughout the state of Arizona, ensuring all Arizonans have the opportunity to attain proficiency in basic money management.
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Readout: financial stability oversight council meeting on november 3, 2023.
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen convened a meeting of the Financial Stability Oversight Council (Council) in executive and public sessions at the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury).
During the executive session, the Council heard an update from staff of Treasury, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System on commercial real estate (CRE) market developments. Conditions in CRE markets remain challenging following declines in CRE prices and an increase in the cost of financing, though delinquencies vary by property type. The Council will continue to closely monitor developments in CRE markets and financial institutions with significant exposures to CRE and related risks.
The Council also received an update from Treasury staff on the progress of the Inter-Agency Working Group on Treasury Market Surveillance (IAWG) in its work to strengthen Treasury market resilience. Council members discussed steps agencies are taking to enhance the resilience of the U.S. Treasury market.
In addition, the Council received an update from Treasury staff on the continuing development of the Council’s 2023 annual report.
The Council also discussed the Council’s analytic framework for financial stability risk identification, assessment, and response, and the Council’s interpretive guidance on nonbank financial company determinations under section 113 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
During the public session, the Council received a presentation from Treasury staff on the Council’s analytic framework for financial stability risk identification, assessment, and response, and the Council’s interpretive guidance on nonbank financial company determinations. The Council voted unanimously to approve both the analytic framework and the guidance on nonbank financial company determinations.
The Council also voted to approve the minutes of its previous meeting on September 22, 2023.
In attendance at the Council meeting at Treasury or virtually were the following members:
- Janet L. Yellen, Secretary of the Treasury (Chairperson of the Council)
- Jerome H. Powell, Chair, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
- Michael J. Hsu, Acting Comptroller of the Currency
- Rohit Chopra, Director, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- Gary Gensler, Chair, Securities and Exchange Commission
- Martin Gruenberg, Chairman, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
- Rostin Behnam, Chairman, Commodity Futures Trading Commission
- Sandra L. Thompson, Director, Federal Housing Finance Agency
- Todd M. Harper, Chairman, National Credit Union Administration
- Thomas Workman, Independent Member with Insurance Expertise
- James Martin, Acting Director, Office of Financial Research (non-voting member)
- Steven Seitz, Director, Federal Insurance Office (non-voting member)
- Elizabeth K. Dwyer, Superintendent of Financial Services, Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation (non-voting member) (virtual)
- Adrienne A. Harris, Superintendent, New York State Department of Financial Services (non-voting member)
- Melanie Lubin, Securities Commissioner, Office of the Attorney General of Maryland, Securities Division (non-voting member)
Additional information regarding the Council, its work, and the recently approved analytic framework, final interpretive guidance, and meeting minutes is available at http://www.fsoc.gov .