Banking and Financial Literacy for Kids and Teens

From a very young age, children should be learning about money and how to manage it. Kids need a full understanding about the value of money and how to use it wisely. Children who gain solid financial management skills while they are young may be more likely to maintain these skills throughout their lives. Knowing how to do money math is also important.

Financial Literacy for Preschool, Pre-K, Kindergarten, and First and Second Grade

Even a 4-year-old can start to learn the basics of how money works, what it’s worth, and how it should be used.

Lesson One: Making Spending Decisions

Initially, parents make many decisions for children, but as they grow, children are able to make more choices for themselves. When parents allow toddlers to make choices, youngsters are often happier and less difficult. Start early on teaching youngsters about how to choose things that they want and prioritize what’s most important.

Lesson Two: Spending Plans

Training children from the beginning about devising a spending plan helps establish positive habits. Introduce children to the concept of dividing money into “save”, “spend”, and “share” categories. Children should also be taught that money is available in a limited quantity and must be managed carefully.

Lesson Three: Earning Money

People need to earn money to provide for their needs and wants. Lesson three focuses on the fact that money is earned, not free. Early financial training can involve giving children the opportunity to earn small sums of money in order to learn how to budget money to meet their financial goals.

Lesson Four: What Is Money?

Once a child learns these concepts, introduce money as the medium of exchange for goods and services. Children should learn the different values of coins and paper money as well as how money provides purchasing power.

  • A Chair for My Mother (PDF): This lesson plan for young children looks at a family’s plan for saving to make an important purchase.
  • Making Spending Decisions: Even the youngest kids can learn lessons about spending money when they are presented with simple scenarios.

Financial Literacy for Grades 3-6

Financial literacy lessons can become more complex for children in grades three through six. These lessons build on the financial literacy lessons taught to younger children.

Lesson One: Allowances and Spending Plans

Elementary-school students can manage small amounts of money, dividing it into the three different categories of saving, spending, and sharing. Children can also learn about making a spending plan to plan and record how they spend their money. These skills will help children grow up to be financially responsible.

Lesson Two: Money Responsibility

Effective money management involves tracking and recording how money is spent. Children must learn how to add up the money available, how much has been spent, and how much has been saved. Accurate record-keeping of expenses is part of financial responsibility. Activities and worksheets can help teach these financial skills.

Lesson Three: Saving and Investing

Saving and investing are integral parts of money management. While savings accounts are one option, investing is an important component of financial management as well. Investing money usually provides better growth potential, but students should be warned about the risks.

Lesson Four: Comparison Shopping

Consumers need to know how to comparison-shop to choose the best services and goods. Students can learn these skills with activities that involve examining the difference between needs and wants and teach students how to scrutinize advertising tactics.

Counting and Managing Money

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About the Author

Carly Hallman

Carly has been a thought leader, and executive within a large financial brand since 2011. As the Director of Marketing, she enjoys working alongside her brilliantly creative team to expand the their digital footprint and bring their marketing and business objectives to the next level of awesome. Outside of work, Carly donates her design skills to Savannah Children's Theatre and volunteers with Coastal Pet Rescue saving and finding homes for homeless animals. She also enjoys sports, boating, painting, and all outdoor adventures. Her favorite color is any hue that looks like the ocean and she loves boiled peanuts.