Start here: The #FinLit Menu for Parents

When my son entered his teens I started to get serious about financial literacy in a way I should have been years before. 

The good news is there are many resources out there for parents to use as they work through concepts with their kids. That's also the bad news. The number of websites, worksheets and articles can be overwhelming.

Let me clarify though, most resources are designed for use in schools. That's great, but I was looking for tools to use at home. Some of my parenting friends were in the same predicament, so as I found resources I shared them. Eventually I decided to put them in one spot - right here. (Note: scroll down to skip the rest of this intro and go right to the menu.)

If you are at a similar place in your personal finance journey with your teen, this list might also be helpful to you.

A few things to keep in mind:

- This was creating with teens (middle school to early-high school ages) in mind.
- I originally started with a list of resources I'd used with my own teenager, but it's grown now to include resources that I have not used personally.
- Personal finances are just that - personal. Knowing that, I'm offering up this list as a helpful tool, not as a recommended path for your family or your kids.
- All of the resources shown below are FREE.
- This list isn't exhaustive by ANY stretch. I've missed stuff, plus I've left off a number of sites that were just a little too boring or complex (in my view).

This is a "menu" because it's intended to be something you can pick and choose from as you see things you like. However, if you'd rather have a complete curriculum with minimal muss and fuss, you'll find resources that are "plug and play" at the end of this post. As a bonus, after that you'll find short reviews on a few financial games & apps I've come across in my journey over the past few months. 

This list will probably change as I discover (or you share with me) better or additional resources. I hope you find this helpful!

- Kimberly



Checking
Will your teen be writing checks as a young adult? Probably not many according to some sources. But they should still know the basics.

Helping your teen manage a checking account
Publisher: Better Money Habits, powered by Bank of America and Khan Academy
Seven minute video geared toward parents (not your teens). Most of this info will be old news to parents of older teens, but if you're just starting to consider opening a checking account with your child this is a good primer.

How to write a check in six easy steps
Publisher: nerdwallet
Short online demonstration. Have your teen read the brief FAQ section below for the things not addressed in the demo.

How to balance a checkbook
Publisher: nerdwallet
Short online demonstration. Another lost art form will be manually balancing a paper check register. But the concepts are still important, even if your teen opts to track transactions via an app versus on paper.

10 ways to protect your checking account
Publisher: Discover.com
Infographic. I actually had no idea what a skimmer was until reading this. Get more info on that particular topic from CreditCards.com here: Gas station skimmer theft rising

7 bank fees you probably don't know about
Publisher: nerdwallet
Article. Short and to the point, and covers some of the fees you might forget to talk to your teen about (and the bank probably won't mention them when they are opening the account).

Note: Not everyone has a checking account. If you're in one of these households, I know some of the links above won't be helpful to you. If you have any resources you think other parents would benefit from knowing about please send me a note.

Savings
6 minute video with relevant info. You might want to watch it first to see if it will be engaging for your teen.

Publisher: Practical Money Skills, by VISA
Worksheet based. Designed for grades 9-12, covers financial skills like managing salary, buying a car and avoiding debt. We worked through selected lessons, like Lesson 4 (Cost of College).

FINRA Foundation also produces a series of lessons on earning interest for middle school students.

Publisher: SaveandInvest.org by FINRA Foundation
One minute video. A little silly but short and sweet. Encourages an emergency savings fund equal to 3 months of expenses. 

Publisher: Practical Money Skills, by VISA
Worksheet based. Scroll down to Lesson 19.

Biz Basics: The Rule of 72
Publisher: DardenMBA
4 minute video, super easy to follow and a great tool for teens as they think about earning interest on savings.
Note: For an easy-to-use Rule of 72 calculator see TheMint.Org.

Budgeting
Publisher: Practical Money Skills by VISA
Worksheet based, Lesson 9.

6 steps to help a middle or high school budget 
Publisher: Bank of America
Short article, just the basics with a few ideas for the types of expenses a middle or high school student might pay (cell phone bill, etc).

4 Best Personal Finance Apps for 2017
Publisher: Investopedia.com
Does anyone keep a budget on a piece of paper anymore? I don't, although I haven't taken the leap to using an app for that quite yet. But my teen is much more comfortable using apps than I am. Investopedia lists these four as the best out there right now for personal finance. 

Credit
"Credit and Debit: Two very different cards"
Publisher: Bank of America
8 minute video, easy to follow explanation of the difference between credit and debit (with pros and cons for each).

Publisher: SaveandInvest.org by FINRA Foundation
Single page infographic. Cost of credit card debt. 

Teaching teens the true cost of charging
Publisher: Bank of America
Short article for parents
Article. Brief overview of the five C's of credit (character, capacity, capital, collateral, conditions).

Publisher: SaveandInvest.org by FINRA Corporation
Worksheet. Deeper dive into exactly what's included in your credit score. 

How to build a credit score from scratch
Publisher: Bank of America
3 minute video, tips for ways teens (and others) can build credit.

9 things you need to know about prepaid cards
Publisher: Creditcards.com
Article. Good detail if you're considering a prepaid card for your teen. 

Capital Markets
How the stock exchange works (for dummies) 
Publisher: Kurzgesagt in a Nutshell (YouTube)
3 minute video, interesting and good overview of the worldwide securities marketplace. Just ignore the references to euros. 

Initial Public Offering (IPO)
Publisher: Teensguidetomoney.com
Article, deeper dive into initial public offerings. 

Mutual Fund Definition
Publisher: teenvestor.com
Article, good primer on the concept of mutual funds.

Building Bridges
Publisher: Federal Reserve of St. Louis with the SIFMA Foundation
5 minute video, overview of bonds with an emphasis on how cities and governments participate in the bond market.

What is a bond?
Publisher: WSJ.com
Article, break down of terminology and types of bonds including corporate, Treasuries, Savings Bonds.

10 money terms to understand if you want to be rich
Publisher: BusinessInsider.com
Article. I don't love the title but I guess "10 money terms to understand if you want to be financially literate" isn't as sexy. Still, there are some good definitions in here including APR, dollar-cost averaging and FICO scores.

What's the difference between the NYSE and the Nasdaq?
Publisher: Visual Capitalist
Infographic. 

Economics
What gives a dollar bill its value?
Publisher: TED-Ed
3 minute video about money supply, inflation and the Federal Reserve. Additional resources available on the site.

Inflation - The Economic Lowdown Video Series, Episode 9
Publisher: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
4 minute video about inflation rate, Consumer Price Index (CPI), how the Federal Reserve works toward price stability and maximum employment.

Publisher: TED-Ed
4 minute video about economic bubbles and tulips! Additional resources available on the site.

For older teens interested in questions about the economy, productivity, money supply and stuff like that, hand them this book. Updated in 2010 some parts are ever so slightly dated but the writing is very approachable and big picture. Full disclosure: my teen did not read the entire book, but focused instead on chapters that were particularly interesting, like Chapter 2, "Why you might be able to save your face by cutting off your nose (if you're a black rhinoceros)."

Spent
by McKinney for Urban Ministries of Durham
Online simulation (launched in 2011) that's easy to use, great for teens and up. Players navigate through 30 days on a limited wage, dealing with issues like health care, rent and food choices all on an extremely limited budget. To keep the conversation going, use this series of questions created by Next Gen Personal Finance (NGPF) once your teen has completed the game. 


Plug and Play #FinLit Resources

Designed for teachers but access is free, so parents can pull up resources and links. 

Publisher: National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE)
NEFE has produced a wealth of free resources for financial education. See the next entry for more about their offerings. Cash Course is designed to be used in colleges and universities, although they allow you to create an account and use the materials even if you are unaffiliated with a school by selecting "School Not Listed" when you reach that point in the registration process. See my "deeper dive" post for info on how you might use this with your kids.

Publisher: NEFE
Free online courses about personal finance with topics ranging from saving to insurance. Not specifically written for teens (see NEFE's program Cash Course above for something geared toward middle and high school ages). NEFE also offers the High School Financial Planning Program (HSFPP) as a free, comprehensive curriculum designed more for classroom settings although their site says it can also be used for workshops and one-to-one settings.

Publisher: Wells Fargo
Offers free, online, self-directed resources for anyone interested in learning more about money management, including one designed specifically for teens. 

Publisher: VISA
Designed for grades 9-12 and free, I've used select modules for my teen. It's worksheet based versus online and interactive. There's a lot more than worksheets at Practical Money Skills. It's one of my favorite resources so please do check it out. See my "deeper dive" post for more details on how to use this with your kids and teens.

The Mint
Publisher: Northwestern Mutual
Separate sections provided for for "kids" and "teens" as well as parents and teachers. This site goes over a lot of the basics but is very dated. The section for college age students (TheMintGrad) looks more current. See my "deeper dive" post for more details on how to use this with your kids and teens. 


Fun and Games
Publishers: VISA, NFL
NFL-themed video game developed by Visa. Choose between three skill levels, use money management skills by answering financial questions to move down the field and score touchdowns. Visa also offers a 2014 FIFA World Cup™ Brazil-branded version.


Designed for use by teachers in a classroom setting, but it's online so can work for you at home as well. Developed for middle and high school students, it teaches personal finance skills (including things like investing in a 401k, supply and demand) in a game setting. I only attempted 2 of the 16 missions. I found that I really needed a pen and paper handy to simplify the process of keeping clues and notes handy. It may be too detailed and slow-moving for younger teens and tweens. It will depend on the type of game your teen likes, but its got a lot of good info and is definitely worth checking out. 

Interactive strategy game designed to help players learn how to spot and avoid investment fraud. Players actually take on the role of fraudster. The theory is that "once you know how the bad guys operate, you can outsmart them at their own game". This is something to check out if your teen is interested in the topic. My 15 year old found the game play frustrating (he played the app version) but liked the chance to play as the "bad guy."

Publisher: SaveandInvest.org by FINRA Corporation
This game was designed with members of the military and their spouses in mind, but the concepts are universal. The goal is "to successfully manage your money throughout life, until you achieve your Big Dream. To win, keep careful track of your finances, pay your bills on time, and take care of all the little day-to-day things that can impact your finances." Teens may lose interest after a few rounds, but I liked the chance to get the realistic and detailed budget and unexpected life events in front of my teen, even for one session of game play.
Publisher: Warren Buffet's Secret Millionaires Club, Genius Brands Intl, Inc.
Quick and easy way to help your kids and teens figure out how to make change, whether that's at a lemonade stand or their first official job. Because many of our transactions aren't in bills and coins these days, it's also helpful to give them an overall "money sense" so they can tell when they are receiving correct change in a cash transaction. See my separate "deeper dive" post about this resource for more details on how to use this with your kids and teens. 

Publisher: Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
You have been tasked to serve as the Chair of the Federal Reserve. Your job is to set monetary policy to achieve full employment and low price inflation. Your term will last 4 years (16 quarters). Best for older teens/young adults. Go through the Behind the Scenes videos and Your Job for context before putting your teen in front of a computer and saying "good luck"or they might get frustrated pretty quickly. Or maybe that was just me. 
Updated 9-27-17


Celebrity Calamity
Publisher: FinancialEntertainment.org
Step into the role of Financial Manager for spend-happy celebrities. The game allows players to manage debit and credit cards for a celebrity, deal with credit limits and fees, and make decisions about paying off balances versus minimum payments. It's fun, although frustrating to try to manage money when your celebrity spends it faster than she makes it. 
Updated 9-28-17







Start here: The #FinLit Menu for Parents

When my son entered his teens I started to get serious about financial literacy in a way I should have been years before.  The good new...