More Financial Resources for Kids and Teens

A couple of popular topics around the personal finance blogosphere mention the importance of teaching your kids about money and how all schools need to have financial literacy as a mandatory part of their curriculum.

Growing up I never had an allowance, nor was I told to get earn some money, get a job or learn how to budget, save, invest for the future. To me, money seemed to be something my parents often had enough of and if they didn’t have enough of it for whatever reason, I certainly was kept in the dark.

My mom didn’t get into investing until she was in her 50s. After 6 months upon graduating university, I finally landed my first job. My mom urged me to read books on investing and learn how to invest. That was the last thing on my mind.  My bank account was still in the red from my Europe trip and all I could think about was how to get it into the black. Little did I realize that investing was one of the many ways I could get it back into the black.

This was time a when personal finance blogs were very few and far between.  The recession hadn’t hit and frugality/DIY was not a hot topic.

And when it did hit, boy did it ever HIT. Like a sucker punch combined with a hard blow to the stomach.

As much as the recession was considered a very difficult time (myself included) and put a lot of people out of jobs, it was also a wake-up call and dare I even say, a blessing in disguise.  It made people re-think their priorities and their spending habits. It forced people to budget, tweak their budget and then tweak it some more.

It also helped trigger the explosion of personal finance blogs, investing blogs and more financial resources.  There are now even free online games, apps, calculators for kids and teens to help them get off on the right financial foot. Visa created a financial knowledge quiz game with a Brazil World Cup theme called Financial Soccer. There are apps to calculate the cost of prom (that would have come in handy for my prom) and also apps to find out how much Tooth Fairy money is being left underneath the pillow.

If you as a parent are unsure how to talk to your kids about money, the internet is full of resources to help you. It’s a great way for parents and kids to learn together. While the idea of learning about finances through Monopoly or Scrabble may be a bit dated, the idea of playing online finance games together is a great way to get your kids engaged and interested about personal finance.

financial resources for teens

Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

Two courses I wish I had taken in school were economics and accounting. I wish I was more interested in finances back then. As a kid I thought it was boring and not necessary for the future.

CLEARLY I WAS WRONG.

I’m not in the teaching profession, so I can’t tell you if financial literacy is an essential part of the curriculum nowadays, nor do I know whether or not it is an option to have it in place. Perhaps we need to make get rid of certain subjects or make certain subjects optional to make room for financial literacy.

Budgeting, saving, spending wisely and investing are all great skills that can be put to good use at an early age and perhaps help prevent them from obtaining mass amounts of consumer debt. It can also help them devise a plan to pay off their student debt quicker. I would hope that educators would realize  how much value this subject has. As we all know, knowledge is power.

As G.I. Joe would say, “Now you know. And knowing is half the battle.” I would guess that the other half is applying that knowledge.

As a parent, are there any particular financial resources you use to teach your kids about finances? As a teacher, is personal finance taught as part of the curriculum?

15 thoughts on “More Financial Resources for Kids and Teens

  1. I use allowance as a tool to teach my son about finances. He has a list of responsibilities that he has to perform each week in exchange for allowance. It teaches him the responsibilities of having a “job,” as well as the reward (pay) that he gets from a job well done.

    • It seems most parents do that and I think it’s a great way to teach the kids early on how to manage money. They learn how to earn their money and that they need to save money if they want buy something.

  2. Over time my step-son has come to understand that things he wants need to be earned and that he won’t get everything he wants either. I wish more schools offered personal finance concepts and not simply Economics classes. I think having guest speakers come in to talk with teenagers at school often helps since it’s not their regular teacher. If the guest speaker can connect with them, often the subject matter actually resonates with them more.

    • That’s a good point. They should bring in guest speakers to have “money talks”. Since they have often have career day in school, they should also have a money day in school, as the two are related.

  3. I grew up lower income so as far as finances went it was common knowledge in our home there wasn’t any money. We always had a roof over our heads and never went hungry but when I got older and saw what other kids got for Christmas and took inventory of my gifts it was apparent there was differences. It was just our life and I have no complaints. There was no allowance but it taught me that if I wanted something I had to earn and save for it. We took a “set an example” approach for our kids and hammered the point of always saving some money for another day. We ended up living in an area where there was a population of higher income families. We taught our kids that just because someone has a nicer wardrobe, cars, bicycles, etc. doesn’t mean they are rich. Most are in debt up to their necks. Even if they are rich, we live our lives within our means to remain financially free. With all of the mixed messages our kids see I think an important lesson is about delaying gratification now for a better tomorrow even if you can afford it. We could always come up with an example where they bought something they just had to have and now it was all but forgotten. I can’t say I ever had a financial based class coming up through public school. It is about time for some focus there.

    • It’s so true. People always want to “look like they have money”, which often means that they don’t, because they’ve spent all that money trying to keep up with the image.

      I’m surprised educators haven’t taken more action on this. Planning your finances is just as important as planning your career.

  4. I know Dave Ramsey and Robert Kiyosaki both have kid’s games, but I haven’t played either one. I always wanted to try them though. We have regular discussions about money when situations arise.

  5. I can definitely relate. My parents didn’t do much investing when I was growing up and I certainly didn’t learn anything from school. It wasn’t until college when I took my first accounting class, but still, that doesn’t teach you anything about personal finance. I would’ve loved to learn how to write a check or do my taxes in high school, instead of calculus which I will never use again.

    • They have home economics class and shop class that teach your practical skills, so why not have finance classes that you teach those finance skills you mentioned. Writing a check is a practical thing to know.

  6. I didn’t have personal finance lessons at school, but they have just been introduced in the UK (as of a week ago). It remains to be seen how effective they will be of course, but unfortunately things don’t look too encouraging at the moment: the materials had to be supplied by a charity because the government couldn’t get its act together and the 17 & 18 year olds won’t get any classes at all… which is odd because they’re probably the ones who need it most, particularly as they’re making plans for college.

  7. That doesn’t make sense why the 17 and 18 year olds don’t get the classes. You’re right, they’re the ones will need money to pay for their post-secondary education and during their years at college.

  8. I will definitely be teaching my kids about spending and saving, though I would have to learn more about investing to teach them anything about that! I didn’t have an allowance as a kid, either, but when I started making my own money through babysitting and other part-time jobs, I stopped asking my parents for things. It was pretty liberating, even though I wasn’t making much money at all. 🙂

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