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Teaching high school students the importance of financial literacy

Although high schoolers and financial literacy may seem like an unlikely pairing, teaching teens about the importance of personal finance is a critical step in their ability to successfully navigate adulthood. As teens, they are on the cusp of big financial decisions including purchasing a car or learning to use a credit card responsibly.

While financial literacy offerings in high schools have increased in popularity, a recent study reported that only 17 states require high school students to take a personal finance course before they graduate.1 Here are some ways you can teach high schoolers the importance of financial literacy.

three friends at outdoor cafe having coffee Advocate saving

Encourage your children to set aside a portion of any money they receive from an allowance, gift, or job. Be sure to talk about goals that require a financial commitment, such as a car, college, and travel. As an added incentive, consider matching the funds they save for a worthy purpose.

Show them the numbers

Use an online calculator to demonstrate the concept of long-term investing and the power of compound interest. Your children may be surprised to see how fast invested funds can accumulate, especially when you match or contribute an additional amount each month.

Food & Beverage MenuLet them practice

Let older teens become responsible for paying certain expenses (e.g., clothing and entertainment). The possibility of running out of their own money might make them think more carefully about their spending habits and choices. It may also encourage them to budget their money more effectively. Here’s an article about ways to save on school expenses.

Cover the basics

By the time your children graduate from high school, they should at least understand the basic concepts of financial literacy. This includes saving, investing, using credit responsibly, debt management, and protection planning with insurance.


1 Survey of the States, Council for Economic Education, 2018
Content courtesy of Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2019.