Money 101

Financial Literacy for Teens — Where and How to Begin


Financial literacy for teens seems to be the hot topic these days, as more parents are realizing just how important it is. Having the proper financial skills and knowledge will help your kids learn how to invest and potentially avoid debt down the line.

But getting teens interested in finance and investing might prove to be difficult, especially if all they have is the internet with its unlimited and often incorrect data. But not to fret, we’re here to help. Today, we’re going to show you some interactive and fun ways to help empower your teens regarding financial literacy.

Financial Literacy Books for Teens

For years, financial literacy was only left for a select few and inside the walls of higher educational institutions. But not anymore.

If your teens love reading and process most information through books, you should get them the best ones. But in a sea of overly-marketed books with no substance, we’ve found a few that are worth your money.

Starting off, we have How to Money, Your Ultimate Visual Guide to the Basics of Finance written by Kathryn Tuggle and Jean Chatsky. The book covers all the basics of financial literacy for teens in a refreshingly engaging tone, without being intimidating. It’s aimed at readers between the ages of 12 and 18 and features investing, budgeting, taxes, and more topics. 

If the first book seems a bit daunting with its 256 pages, we recommend I Want More Pizza by Steve Burkholder. It’s a much shorter read, coming out at 108 pages, but it still packs in a lot of lessons. It covers savings and investing, financial goals, debt, and more.

If your teens are facing the prospect of paying for college or taking out a loan, they need a book to guide them through the process. That’s why we recommend a book created by the Princeton Review, titled Paying for College, 2023: Everything You Need to Maximize Financial Aid and Afford College

The book explains all aspects of financial aid, including grants and scholarships, and private and federal student loans. There are also tips, worksheets, and financial aid forms within the book.

Financial Literacy Class for Teens

If you feel like your kids would be better off having someone help them with their financial literacy, then we suggest a class. Depending on your state, your kids might already have some access to it in school. If not, there is hope yet.

The Charles Schwab Foundation is aiming to bridge the gap toward financial literacy for teens. They’re doing it by creating personal finance courses available to all middle and high schoolers in the U.S. by 2025. The plan is to train a number of their employers to be volunteer instructors.

But if you’re not in the U.S. or don’t have time to wait, your kids might benefit from taking an online financial literacy class for teens or working with a tutor. 

If you’re going the tutor route, your best bet might be to find someone through the National Financial Educators Council (NFEC). They offer both individual and organizational financial coaching, all done by certified instructors.

Of course, committing to a program or class you don’t know anything about can be tough. Luckily, they offer complimentary 30-minute financial consultations. During the call, the coaches will address your financial concerns, and establish goals, and a plan of action.

If budget concerns are an issue and you can’t or don’t want to hire a private tutor, a great alternative is online classes. There are tons of virtual academies now offering specialized classes in financial literacy for teens. You can check out websites like Udemy and Coursera for more information. 

​​Financial Literacy for Teens Worksheets

Financial literacy worksheets are an excellent tool for both parents and teachers trying to help kids learn about money. Depending on which site you go to or which book you pick up, there are going to be a ton of different types and activities within these worksheets.

For example, some will teach the cost of renting a home or apartment, others will practice budgeting specifically, or even how to use credit. Let’s take a closer look at some of the best ones.

Creating a Budget

Creating and managing a budget is one of the cornerstone lessons of financial literacy for teens. The three main sections of a budget are income, expenses, and savings. 

In a worksheet, kids have to write the total amount of their Income, Expenses, and Savings, broken down into categories. Once they take away their expenses and savings from their income, they can write down the amount remaining, which can be negative.

What Is It Worth Saving For?

A lot of teens start jobs because they want some extra pocket money for splurging, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But they should know what things are worth saving for and how to do it. 

The objective of the worksheet is to use a reflective writing process to identify savings goals. They can do that by describing the thing(s) they’d like to have but can’t afford right now. Then, they can analyze why they’re worth saving for and how having those things will enhance their life.

Financial Literacy Games for Teens

If you’re looking for something more interactive when teaching financial literacy for teens, you should consider games. A lot of these financial games were designed to teach teens valuable lessons while having a bit of fun.

One such game is ShadySam, in which kids get to play a loan shark to learn about risky loans and interest rates. 

Then, there’s Lights, Camera, Budget, in which teens pretend to be movie producers with a $100 million budget. With each question they answer correctly, kids can earn more money for their movies while learning about financial decisions. 

Another really interesting game that teaches about the gig economy is the Uber Game. In it, they’ll have an urgent expense and need to accept driving gigs to save enough money for their bills.

Financial Literacy Challenges for Teens

Unlike financial literacy games for teens, challenges can be played among the entire family. Some of our favorite challenges include the Matching Funds Challenge, Dinner on a Budget, and the $5 Challenge.

We’re going to take you through a few of these to help you get a hang of the concept. But if you want a more expansive list, check this link to find our top 10 favorite financial challenges.

In the Matching Funds Challenge, you will promise to match all the money your kids saved during a pre-agreed date. For example, kids can pull together money from chores, allowances, and jobs, and after a month, you will match what they have. The challenge teaches them about investing and interest rates.

Then, there’s Dinner on a Budget, which will let kids into the challenges of planning, purchasing, and preparing dinner. While takeout is always fun, it’s also much more expensive compared to cooking at home. And with this challenge, your kids can learn just how difficult and expensive the balance is.

If you think overspending is a problem in your home, issue the $5 challenge, which teaches about limits and prices. You can give your kids $5 to spend on something they really want during the week. If they can stick to it for a while, you can reward them by either increasing the limit or throwing on another fiver at the end of the week.

Financial Literacy Quiz for Teens

If you want to see how well your kids are getting along with financial literacy, you might want to suggest a quiz for them. Luckily, the NFEC has thought about that as well.

Their National Financial Capability Test measures a person’s ability to earn, grow, and save their finances. While it’s designed for teens, there’s no reason parents can’t take it as well. It might show you whether you have some knowledge gaps or areas to improve in.

The average score on the NFEC test is 67.5%, and 57.5% of those who have taken it have passed. There are 30 questions in total, and the only information you need to begin the test is your age and your state. 

If your kids did well on tests, NFEC offers an advanced version and a test on Financial Foundation Decisions. And for those college-bound teens, we recommend the Student Loan Test. It will measure their ability to make responsible loan decisions.

Financial Literacy for Teens Summary

At BusyKid, it’s our goal to put an end to sending young adults into the world without knowing how to manage their money. 

Financial literacy for teens, while daunting, is a journey every parent and child should undertake. Before they graduate high school, teens should have a solid understanding of financial terms, as well as the importance of saving and investing.

If you’re looking for fun and interactive ways to help with financial literacy for teens and kids, get the BusyKid app today! Teens will learn money management with our innovative features, as well as our BusyKid Visa Spend Card. 

So don’t wait another moment, and get the app now. It’s available on both the Google Play Store and the App Store.

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