Deeper Dive: Practical Money Skills by VISA

You'll find this post most helpful if:
- you're a parent with a pre-teen or teenager.
- you're looking for a one-stop solution for boosting your child's financial literacy and you're wondering if Practical Money Skills fits the bill.

Things you should know:
- Practical Money Skills is part of VISA's long-term efforts to develop education programs for people of all ages.
- The resource is free. No login or account is required.

Things I like:
- Practical Money Skills provides a huge variety of resources for teachers and individuals (or parents).

- Games. I love a good game. Check out Money Metropolis (ages 7-12) and Financial Football (ages 11 and up). Financial Football is an NFL-themed game developed by Visa in partnership with the NFL. If your child is into soccer, they've got that covered with Financial Soccer. The games are designed to be used as a classroom tool and lesson plans are provided, but parents can use them as a stand alone (fun!) activity. Use the info threaded throughout game play to spark conversations.

- A wealth of free materials including apps for everything from budgeting for prom to tracking what you spend on lunch. As for me, I'm most excited about their two comic books (featuring Marvel's Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy).

Kid-friendly resources from Practical Money Skills
- There is no shortage of good info in this section for parents as well, including primers on budgeting, prepaid credit cards and identity theft. Most can be downloaded right from the website although the comic books need to be shipped (within 3-4 weeks of ordering). I'm a Marvel geek so it will be interesting to see who gets to the mailbox first, me or my teenager.

- If you're looking for something your kid can work through on their own, start to finish, check out Your Money, Your Future. This section seems best for pre-teens and young teens. It covers the basics under the categories of earn, save, budget, spend, borrow, protect and give. These really are primers, so if your teen has some previous experience with financial education this may prove too basic.

- If you need something that's a little more in-depth look at the Learn section of the website. Because it's largely text-based (versus games) it will be a better fit for teens and young adults. Topics covered include saving, budgeting, financial institutions, credit, debt and identify theft. This is where you'll find info about the Rule of 72, compound interest and a check writing/deposit slip demo. The section on credit does a nice job of defining common terms and discussing what it takes to maintain a good credit score.

- You'll also see a section on Life Events which will be a good resource for your college-bound senior (topics include going to college and buying a car). If your teen or young adult really wants to geek out on financial terms and concepts, check out Economy 101. It's where they will find short explanations of business cycles, monetary policy, human capital and more. It's not a bad resource for parents as well. In fact, I'm heading over for a refresher course right after I finish this post.

Prepaid cards are also covered a little more than I've seen in some other resources. I have not used prepaid cards, and there are differing opinions on whether they are the best way to introduce kids to financial products. However there are a number of providers you can go through to get them. The one I hear about the most frequently is FamZoo. I have not researched their offering, but I'm happy to hear about your experiences with them if you have.

Bottom Line
Practical Money Skills by VISA has something for everyone. I really like the breadth of their offering. It will work for your pre-teen, teen or college age student. Just use the information above to zero in on the part that works best for you.

Start here: The #FinLit Menu for Parents

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