Kids Guide to Money and Finances

Matthew Gillman

Updated: December 22, 2021

Kids’ Guide to Money and Finances

Money is an important part of our day-to-day life, but on average, almost half of high-schoolers don’t have an understanding of the importance of good financial literacy and suffer because of it. In order to combat that as a teacher of any age group, take the time to instill the knowledge of what money is, how it works in the world around us, and the skills necessary to live a good life. That way, when your students leave school and go off to college or start working, they’ll understand their financial obligations and how to live within their means instead of spending lavishly and ending up in severe debt.

Depending on the age group you teach, you’ll want to focus on different aspects of financial literacy. In elementary school, it’s all about laying the groundwork by focusing on what money is and how it can be used. In middle school, with that basic understanding established, it’s a great time to broaden students’ horizons to learn the basics about debt, savings, credit cards, and investments. By the time students reach high school and start planning for life after their K-12 education, they can take on advanced concepts to help them thrive in adulthood.

Elementary School

To get kids started on their journey to learning about finances, teach students the basic concept of money and why it’s important in our lives. It’s not enough to teach kids about how money is used and what money is; they also need to understand why we have money and how it works. Using hands-on lessons and games can give kids a better understanding of the basics of money so that they can grow up with good financial skills. Topics such as what money is, how it’s used, and how to count money will form the foundation for younger elementary-aged children, and as they get older, you can start instilling the importance of wants versus needs as well as savings. These can lay the groundwork for students to learn more about finance as they age.

Middle School

In elementary school, kids learn the basics of money, but when they reach middle school it’s the perfect time to instill a good understanding of financial literacy. While financial literacy may be more commonly taught in high school when students are getting their first jobs and getting ready to join the real world, it’s important for students to learn these skills early on. This will help them make good decisions early on so they don’t end up in debt at a young age. Focus lessons and activities around money management, savings, investing, credit, and debt.

High School

By high school, many students are starting to think about college or getting a job after graduation, which is why it’s important to go into detail about college loans, debt, savings, and good and bad investments. Many high school students have not been lucky enough to be taught about financial literacy growing up, so while they may have picked up a few things, they don’t understand just how important those skills are in the real world. This lack of knowledge can lead to racking up thousands of dollars in debt and cause financial turmoil down the line. In order to combat that, take the time to help students at whatever their skill level is before going over these lessons and games with them. This will ensure that they are given the best possible understanding of how money works and how they can navigate the financial world.

Matthew Gillman
Matthew Gillman is the founder and CEO of SMB Compass, a bespoke business financing company focused on providing financing and education to small businesses across the U.S. The company has provided over $250 million to more than 1,250 businesses. Coming from a family of small business owners sparked Matthew’s passion to not only become an entrepreneur, but also to work with his fellow entrepreneurs to build long-lasting relationships.

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