Financial literacy: Top tools for teaching

Financial literacy is understanding how to earn, manage, and invest money. Learning how to properly budget, open a bank account, pay taxes, handle college loans, and save money are all good ways students can get a head start on a financially secure future.

When it comes to financial literacy, it’s never too early to build awareness around the realities and potential pitfalls of financing. Following are some helpful tools and activities to help bring this knowledge to your classroom.

When it comes to financial literacy, it’s never too early to build awareness around the realities and potential pitfalls of financing.

Financial literacy starts with smart budgeting

A good paying job can lead to financial security, but without a sound budget, funds can disappear fast. That’s why stressing the importance of creating and maintaining a realistic budget is a good first step when introducing students to effective money management. 

Thanks to user-friendly tools like My Money: The Math Edition, students can learn where their money goes, and how to keep their finances on track. The Financial Decision Making lesson plan is also a good way to help students identify the steps in making an important financial decision.

Additionally, the Wants vs. Needs lesson plan is also a good activity for analyzing the importance of necessary and unnecessary spending and how this can impact a household budget. The Life Skills Activity Units: Living in the Real World also addresses budgeting, money management, bills, bank accounts, smart shopping, and more.

Stressing the importance of a realistic budget is a good first step when introducing students to effective money management

Interest: Borrowing isn’t free

Borrowing money doesn’t come for free, right? This can sometimes be hard for students to understand, but it can also quickly lead to financial difficulties if not managed properly. When it comes to credit cards, loans for a car, a mortgage, or whatever it might be, giving students the tools to understand and calculate interest can be extremely beneficial for their financial future. The Personal Finance Essentials DVD and Real World Math program are both good tools to introduce students to borrowing, interest, and calculating debt.

Giving students the tools to understand and calculate interest can be extremely beneficial for their financial future

Saving = Brighter futures

It’s sometimes easy for young people to ignore things like saving for unexpected expenses or retirement. To stress the importance of saving, the Money Skills in Action Book Set can help you reiterate the value of effective budgeting, how to open a bank account, the ups and downs of credit cards, the value of coupons, and more. Or, if you’re looking for different (and more fun) way approach the topic, the Nasco Financial Literacy 9-Game Set offers tips on financial planning, risk management, differentiating between wants vs needs, values, goals, effects of the economy on consumer decisions, effects of key life-cycle transitions, the role of real estate planning, and much more.

It’s important to teach students the value of saving for unexpected expenses or retirement.

The importance of a good credit score

One of the most valuable lessons on the road to financial security is understanding the importance of a good credit score. The Understanding Credit Basics: Know the Score! DVD explains how credit is measured, what a credit score actually means, how to maintain good credit, and it even offers tips for overcoming bad credit. 

Understanding the importance of a good credit score will help students understand the importance of borrowing.

Identity theft can be costly

When it comes to managing money, as well as keeping other sensitive information safe from online hackers, it’s always good to remind students to safeguard their information. The Help! They Stole My Name DVD provides students with an understanding of the devastating effects of a stolen identity, the most common ways thieves go about stealing identities, and how they can protect themselves against identity theft.

Financial literacy will help prepare students for the ups and downs of an uncertain economy.

As most adults know, managing money can be a juggling act. Though students might not fully understand the importance of this yet, the future always comes quicker than expected. Financial literacy will help prepare them for the ups and downs of an uncertain economy, and put them on the right path to achieving financial security.  

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