Try Games, Books, and Apps to Teach Teens about Money
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Did you learn enough about money when you were a teen? If not, do you want your teen to be better prepared to deal with money? (Yes—that’s probably rhetorical!) Fortunately, developing financial literacy doesn’t need to be boring. In fact, there are a dizzying number of products out there that can convince even the most skeptical teen that learning about money can be fun. And while learning about money is vital, many teens never get to engage with information about saving, checking accounts, credit cards, investing, and debt.
Consider this: in 2020, less than half of U.S. states required high school students to take a course in personal finance. This is despite the fact that financial experts and organizations broadly agree that developing financial literacy early on will likely reap significant benefits for individuals throughout their lives.
Make it fun
While money’s a serious and important topic, teaching teens about it doesn’t have to be so buttoned up. Have some fun with it, and think about coming at it from a number of angles.
Get started with games
- Monopoly is a tried and true favorite that really works. The classic board game can teach teens and younger kids lessons about real estate, the value of long-term investing, banking, debt, and even the value of utilities.
- Net Worth is a Crazy Eights-style card game that encourages players to strategize in order to collect assets and unload debt—all while avoiding financial pitfalls. Great for travel, this quick game is recommended for kids age 8+.
- Financial Football, a computer game developed by Visa and the National Football League, works to make money relatable to sports fans by turning financial achievements into yardage and touchdowns.
Consider opening a custodial account
One great way to learn about investing is…investing! And there are thousands of stocks and funds out there that can appeal to a young adult’s interests, from sports to tech and fashion. But as a general rule (with some exceptions), kids under 18 can’t legally invest, and many adults wouldn’t be comfortable having their 13 to 17-year-olds single handedly make investment decisions. So what’s the solution?
A custodial account is one way for a young adult to begin exploring the real world of investing in a protected manner. Here’s how it works: an adult opens an investment account for a minor and assumes control of the account until the minor is 18 or 21 years old, depending on the specific state. Once the child is of age, they assume ownership of the account.
You and your teen can start small and choose some investments based on your teen’s interests, or brand names they know and like—maybe it’s the brand of shoe they wear, the makers of the movies they watch, or the store where they like to shop. Then, you can follow the stock market together and see how your investments are doing. Along the way, be sure to start a conversation about compound interest (which is basically interest that’s earned on your principal investment plus on the previously earned interest). Getting some experience with money through a custodial account will help your teen start to feel like a participant in the world economy—and not just a consumer.
Don’t forget the appeal of apps and websites
Are your teens using Stash101 at school? This site helps kids from K-12+ learn about banking and investing by practicing them on a platform that looks like the ones adults use (but the money is simulated!). Kids and teens get to safely experience the real-world consequences of their money-related choices by interacting with a range of features—including savings, checking, and investment accounts, along with a marketplace and auctions. As of January 2022, Stash101 is mainly for schools, teachers, and students—but be sure to sign up for the upcoming Stash101 at Home and Stash101 Fantasy Investing!
Star Banks Adventure gives you your own alien as a guide to help you complete puzzles, take quizzes, and build your own devices, all in the quest for financial education.
iAllowance boasts 15 million chores completed and 10 million allowances paid. This app lets kids and parents/guardians work together to list and complete chores, set up payment, and tackle budgeting and saving. Parents/guardians can also set up bonuses that their kids can cash in.
Look for these at your local library!
The “Rich Dad” book series—specifically Cash Flow Quadrant, by Robert Kiyosaki—explains how cash comes in and out, and how to make your money work for you.
In addition to the financial books themselves, you can double the gift by paying your young adult to read them. However, require them to write a short book report on every single chapter of the book so you know that they are really synthesizing the knowledge. Before you pay them, go over the book and their reports, talking with them about specific ways the whole family could implement the lessons in the book.
Consider some of these financial gift ideas spanning games, apps, websites, and books as potential investment gifts for young adults in your life. You’ll be rewarding your children by helping to set them up for a lifetime of financial responsibility.
Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, (“Stash RIA”) an SEC registered investment adviser. While Stash101 is affiliated with Stash RIA, Stash101 is not an investment adviser and is separate and apart from Stash RIA. Investment advice is only provided to Stash RIA customers for a fee. Investing involves risk and investments may lose value.
“Kids Portfolio” is a custodial UGMA / UTMA account. Money in a custodial account is the property of the minor. This type of account is a Non-Discretionary Managed account.
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