Free or low-cost resources to teach money management concepts to youth

Adults do not have to be an expert in financial education to help youth learn about money management topics with these helpful free or low-cost resources.

Helping youth with the concept of money management can often feel overwhelming. But there are lots of tools that can help make this easier for adults working with young people.

Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development has many resources to help incorporate financial education into time spent with youth. This includes links to National 4-H curriculum that can be purchased through the 4-H Mall, such as Consumer Savvy and Financial Champions. It also includes 4-H Build a Million, a free, interactive website where youth learn about stocks, bonds and mutual funds and weigh their comfort with the risk of investing. 

One of the non-curriculum resources that is useful for elementary-aged youth is the Allowance Game. Created by Iowa State University Extension, this hour-long activity offers a fun and interactive way to teach kids the basics of budgeting.

For older youth, Spartan Dollars and Cents is an interactive activity that can fit into a 45-60 minute session. The activity provides a hands-on way for youth to learn skills in budgeting. Youth get an adult identity and have to make choices to fit within their monthly take-home salary. It can be a fun way to expose youth to the important concept of budgeting and making choices on how money is spent, saved and shared.

The National Endowment for Financial Education also has a wealth of resources ideal for high school and college-aged youth. The High School Financial Planning Program is a free curriculum that can be used in a variety of settings where youth can explore the concepts of budgeting, saving, investing, career planning, goal setting and more. The High School Financial Planning Program site also shares additional resources, such as websites, online calculators, videos and blogs that can help introduce various financial topics.

Looking for additional ideas for financial topic instruction? Check out the Jumpstart Coalition Clearinghouse, which provides a database of free and/or low cost resources that can be searched according to the time, cost, age-appropriateness and type of medium you wish to use.

For parents who would like to educate their children, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has developed a website with tools and information to support teaching financial education, starting at pre-kindergarten all the way to young adulthood.

Finally, MSU Extension has many articles to help adults learn more about financial management topics for youth. Adults seeking personal financial management education can visit MI Money Health for financial tips and tools on money management, homeownership and other financial education resources including upcoming trainings to enhance financial knowledge on a personal level.

Remember, adults do not need to be financial experts to help youth begin thinking about important money management topics. With the use of the tools above, adults can set youth onto a solid path for their financial future.

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