They say the hardest job you’ll ever have is being a parent. Having to manage all the new expenses that go along with having children—and saving for their future needs—are certainly big reasons why that’s the case.
Fortunately, you don’t have to go it alone. We rounded up some of the best resources for managing your money wisely and passing those habits on to your kids. They'll boost your financial literacy and theirs.
- A number of podcasts regularly touch on the financial aspects of raising children, including “The SavingsAngel,” hosted by Josh Elledge.
- Parents looking for insight on saving for college may want to try "The Price You Pay for College" by Ron Lieber, which explains the financial aid process and the financial implications of various educational paths.
- Sources such as PBS LearningMedia and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have lots of learning materials to help your kids learn the basics of money management.
To learn more about how different generations approach financial literacy, see the 2022 Investopedia Financial Literacy Survey.
Resources for Parents
Financial Literacy Rocks! (Website)
Here’s a website that pulls some of the best financial education content across the web and neatly sorts it by audience—fortunately including parents. You’ll find all kinds of videos, articles, and interactive games here.
Financial Literacy Rocks! is run by a nonprofit trade group, Receivables Management Association International, which does a nice job of curating multimedia financial content. Parents will find helpful information on topics such as preparing for a new baby and selecting bank accounts for their kids.
The SavingsAngel (Podcast)
If you’re looking for pointed advice on how to raise a family on a budget, “The SavingsAngel,” hosted by Josh Elledge, is for you. The host tackles topics as diverse as getting a better deal on car insurance and saving money on school lunches. Elledge seems to know just about every trick in the book for finding a discount.
The Price You Pay for College (Book)
Let’s face it: The mere thought of paying for higher education can put parents into a cold sweat. After reading Ron Lieber’s The Price You Pay for College, you might breathe a little easier.
Lieber demystifies such things as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and merit-based financial aid, even explaining the pros and cons of taking a gap year or starting out at a community college.
Readers will find chapters on talking to their kids about college and developing a financial plan. This invaluable guide proves that the more you know about the process, the less you’ll stress over it.
Parents magazine has long been a treasure trove of ideas for raising a family, and that includes some great content on managing household finances. Recent topics include ways to save money at the gas pump, what to look for when buying a home, and how to homeschool children on a budget.
Resources for Teaching Children
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Website, Books)
If your kids aren’t able to make their own lunches yet, you might not be thinking much about how they can build better financial habits or develop their executive functioning. Still, nurturing those skills early in life helps kids develop into responsible adults who have a healthy relationship with money.
The federal government’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has a website, Resources for Parents and Kids, with instructional strategies and learning activities to help kids learn good habits such as planning and prioritizing.
You can also ask your local library whether they carry the bureau’s Money as You Grow Bookshelf, which has many books that teach about finances in an entertaining story format.
Kiddynomics From the Federal Reserve Bank (Website)
Explaining the role of money in an economy or how the banking system works to young children can be a daunting prospect. The Kiddynomics curriculum, developed by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, helps break those topics down in a way that kids actually understand.
Using popular kid's books as a reference, Kiddynomics offers 45-minute lesson plans that employ songs, acting, and art to stimulate thinking about basic economic and financial concepts. It’s as simple as going to the bank’s website and downloading a PDF for each lesson.
PBS LearningMedia (Website)
From "Sesame Street" to "Sid the Science Kid," PBS is helping generations of American kids learn and develop life skills. While most parents know some of the network's popular TV shows, they may not realize that it has an abundance of great teaching materials on its LearningMedia website.
Parents will find videos and interactive lessons, sortable by a child’s age. Under the Economics section, you’ll encounter materials ranging from an explanation of the time value of money to a rundown of high-paying careers.
Raising Your Money-Savvy Family for Next Generation Financial Independence (Book)
Instilling healthy money habits isn’t about simply providing a list of dos and don’ts. It also involves learning to talk with your children about financial decisions and inspiring them to make the right decisions, even at a young age.
The format of Raising Your Money-Savvy Family for Next Generation Financial Independence features alternating sections by Doug Nordman and his adult daughter, Carol Pittner. It's a compelling way to discuss those topics.
Even if you’re not tied to the authors’ goal of complete financial independence at a relatively early age, you’ll come away more confident in how to relate to your children when it comes to money.
What Are Some Free Resources for Teaching Kids Money Management Skills?
You don't have to spend big bucks to teach your kids about money. There are plenty of non-profit and government resources available for free.
PBS LearningMedia and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau both have helpful learning activities for kids. The Federal Reserve’s Kiddynomics curriculum teaches kids the basics of how economies work and how the banking system operates.
Where Can I Learn More About Saving for College?
Ron Lieber’s book, The Price You Pay for College, is a comprehensive resource on the subject. He explains concepts such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and merit-based financial aid and explores the implications of various education options, such as taking a gap year or going to a community college.
Are There Podcasts That Help Parents With Financial Literacy?
If you visit Apple or Google podcasts, you’ll come across several that regularly touch on household finance. One that parents might find particularly compelling is "The SavingsAngel," hosted by Josh Elledge, which focuses on ways that families can set budgets and save on everyday expenses.
The Bottom Line
You may feel there are gaps in your financial literacy that prevent you from achieving your goals. If so, your children almost certainly are lacking in their knowledge of the financial facts of life. There are plenty of resources out there that will help your family get up to speed.