Financial literacy online resources for parents, children

With only a small number of schools offering formal financial literacy classes these days, what should concerned parents be doing to make sure their children learn money skills?

The 2016 “Survey of the States” by the Council for Economic Education found that only 17 states require high school students to take a personal finance course, which hasn’t increased since 2014. Out of those 17, only five require a stand-alone semester course in personal finance. Even in school districts that offer formal financial literacy programs, the best teachers are often informed parents. Back-to-school guide 2017

Back-to-School Guide 2017

"One of the biggest influences on children's financial capabilities are their parents," says Nan Morrison, president and CEO of the Council for Economic Education. "Ideally, financial literacy is taught in schools and reinforced at home, just like other subjects."

To get informed, Morrison suggests consulting your local library, chamber of commerce, going online or your workplace for personal finance programs. Then incorporate those lessons into everyday situations where your child has an opportunity to make a choice about money.

The websites below offer resources to help parents and children learn about financial topics. All materials are free unless otherwise noted.

  • The Council for Economic Education's Financial Fitness for Life Parent Guide is a comprehensive resource that helps parents lead kids K-12 through all of the important aspects of personal finance.
  • The Muppets teach young children about spending, saving and giving in Sesame Street's "For Me, For You, For Later" videos and printable activities. A parents' guide is included.
  • At The Mint, activities, games, quizzes, pointers and tools relating to personal finance are broken down into sections for children, teens, parents and teachers. It was created by Northwestern Mutual Foundation with the Council on Economic Education.
  • Consumer Jungle, a collaboration between the University of Arizona's Take Charge America Institute and the Young Adult Consumer Education Trust provides tweens, teens and young adults with lessons, blogs, games and interactive tools dealing with credit, savings, insurance and more.
  • Visa partnered with consumer advocates, educators and financial institutions to create Practical Money Skills for Life, geared toward consumers and students of all ages. It includes videos, podcasts, articles, calculators and lesson plans intended to teach the essentials of personal finance.
  • Videos from the Biz Kid$ public television series, as well as games and other activities, teach children how to make and manage money. Funded by America's Credit Unions and presented by WXXI-TV, the Rochester, N.Y., public TV station.
  • Yes You Can offers a full curriculum, newsletters and tools to help parents and educators teach young people how to build financial independence. The site is sponsored by American Century Investments.

See related: 4 wrong money messages for kids (and 4 right ones), Charged Up! Podcast: Becoming financially literate

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Updated: 06-19-2018