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Teaching children about money can help them have a strong financial future. But most of this teaching must begin at home.
Experts have long encouraged parents to set positive examples of financial behavior. But before showing kids how to open a bank account or how a credit card works, teaching them the hows and whys of basic financial principles is a necessary foundation.
For some parents, this can be a challenge. It can be difficult to know the best way to discuss money-related topics, including how to adapt them to be age-appropriate. These online apps and resources can be an effective way to get started.
5 resources to help teach kids about personal finance
Suggested Age Range: 10-25 years old
Zogo is an app that partners with credit unions to provide a fun and easy approach to financial literacy for Gen Z users. It was created in collaboration with behavioral science researchers. The app offers over 300 self-paced self-paced modules that cover topics such as wealth building, investing, credit ratings and mortgages. Each time a user completes a module, they earn virtual points which can then be redeemed for checking account bonuses or gift cards at places like Starbucks and Amazon.
Suggested Age Range: College and high school students
BizKid$ is an Emmy Award-winning PBS series created by the producers of Bill Nye the Science Guy and first aired in 2008. Today, the show offers an additional online resource that combines videos on financial concepts with games to help children learn about money.
Financial Topics are split into separate videos that feature kids discussing real-life topics, like setting a financial goal to buy a car before they turn 18. The videos are accompanied by curriculum sheets (also available in Spanish) that include family activities such as breaking down a specific savings goal and guiding the child through creating a savings plan.
Some program sheets also include activities for parents, such as opening a deposit account for your child so they can save money at an actual institution.
3. Federal Reserve Bank of New York Comic Strips
Suggested Age Range: College and high school students
Monetary policy affects our own finances, whether we realize it or not. When the Federal Reserve raises or lowers interest rates, we all feel it in one way or another, whether through more expensive borrowing or better incentives to save. Explaining this to kids can be tricky, but the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has a creative solution: comic books.
These free comics on various economic pillars can be downloaded online or received by mail (also free, but delivery can take up to four to six weeks). The comics cover topics such as explaining what an economy is, the concepts of interest, saving, and budgeting, and the role the Federal Reserve plays in keeping the system safe and sound. financial.
Most of the comics available are also available in Spanish and have options suitable for middle and high school students.
4. Money with Mak and G
Suggested Age Range: Pre-teens and teens
If your child enjoys listening to audiobooks, consider listening to Money with Mak and G together. This podcast features 13-year-old twins, Mak and G, and their father, Ben Jones, who is a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Financial Planner. They discuss simple and complex financial topics, ranging from sanctions against Russia to starting a budget. Advanced financial terminology is used during the episodes, so this podcast is best suited for middle and high school students.
Mak&G episodes are four to 14 minutes long, making it a great option to listen to while having breakfast or in the car on the way to school.
5. Green light
Suggested Age Range: All ages
Cost: Greenlight ($4.99 per month), Greenlight + Invest ($7.98 per month) and Greenlight Max ($9.98 per month).
Once kids are familiar with basic financial principles, it’s best to let them try them out in real-life scenarios. Opening an account with Greenlight can be a great way to start.
Greenlight is a debit card and Mastercard application designed for children, teenagers and their parents. The card works like a regular checking account (FDIC insured up to $250,000) and is linked to a parent’s account, so a parent can instantly transfer money to their child’s account. The account offers up to 2% interest on savings, and parents can add additional interest payments via direct deposit. Parents can set spending limits for categories and stores, and kids can even buy fractional stocks and ETFs (with parental approval) with no trading fees.
Besides just being a debit card, the Greenlight app includes educational content to teach kids the concepts as they do them, including investing and saving.
Greenlight comes with various benefits, but is only free for the first month. Then, users can choose from three plan tiers: Greenlight ($4.99 per month), Greenlight + Invest ($7.98 per month), and Greenlight Max ($9.98 per month). The highest tier offers 1% cash back on purchases.
What are the best ways to teach children about money?
There are endless apps and online resources available to teach kids about money. But figuring out which ones are worth your time (and in some cases, your money) can be tricky.
Bethany Rittle-Johnson, a professor and chair of psychology and human development at Vanderbilt University, says apps or games that only explore topics won’t do much to teach children the principles of psychology. long term money.
“Some explorations are useful, but we need them to be guided and structured with goals in mind and feedback,” says Rittle-Johnson. “These tools need to be designed carefully, so that children don’t get lost and learn from them.”
TV shows can also be effective teaching tools, Rittle-Johnson says. But parents should keep in mind that there should be some type of application of the methods explained in these resources, such as children having to create their own savings plan at home after watching.
Games are also effective, but the most effective are created with the collaboration of researchers and designers to ensure that they are not only fun, but are designed to help children fully grasp the concepts, adds Rittle Johnson.
What if you still don’t know what are the best resources to use? There is evidence that parents’ financial decisions play an important role in the financial behaviors of their children.
If you are not comfortable using outside resources to engage in discussions about money with your children, provide a positive example of financial interactions, such as responsible use of credit or goal setting savings, can set them up for lifelong success.