Financial literacy covers important knowledge that any person responsible for managing money should have, whether it’s a teen working at their first job, a young entrepreneur, or an adult managing a household.
Because financial literacy isn’t emphasized in the education system – only 17 states require high school students to take a class in personal finance – many teens lack the knowledge and skills needed to become financially responsible adults. Most things related to money are still taught at home, where the role of financial educator falls primarily on parents and guardians.
A parent-taught course in personal finance / financial literacy can be a practical and valuable elective for homeschooling teens. Over time they will develop a deeper understanding through teachable moments, practice and experience. Here are a couple of useful sites to help you get started.
According to Investopedia, the more parents talk about financial responsibility – modeling good behavior and not being afraid to point out both successes and failures (e.g., “I have always paid off my card in full each month, but I wish I had thought twice about this purchase…”) – the better the opportunity their kids will grow up to become financially aware and responsible adults.
Investopedia has a free online tutorial, Teaching Financial Literacy to Teens, which includes chapters on making money, budgeting, credit and debt, cars and college, account reconciliation, investing, and moving out. The teen years – especially the later ones – are a bridge between childhood and adult life. Being introduced to sound financial management practices now will carry them forward into the future.
Pepperdine University has also developed an extensive guide that helps kids, teens and students better understand what it means to be financially literate. The free Financial Literacy Guide for Kids, Teens and Students offers information on ways to budget, save and exercise practical money skills while preparing for college, applying for credit cards, and establishing a good credit history.
The first section provides general information on financial literacy terminology and practical money skills. The web-based guide then looks at different resources for kids, tweens, and teens that teach about financial literacy; how to budget, save and spend; and even how to have fun doing it with personal finance apps. This financial literacy guide also lists additional resources such as worksheets, books and games.
Pepperdine’s goal is to offer materials that prepare youth for a successful transition to adulthood. Learning about financial literacy terms, money-saving tips and practical money skills, budgeting, preparing for college, and investing will help students to build a great financial foundation for the future.
What types of activities and courses have you used as electives? Leave a comment and we may include yours in a future column!