Financial Literacy for Parents

You need it for many reasons, including teaching your kids

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 not only managing your money wisely but also passing on those skills to your kids. Here are some great places to boost your financial literacy—and theirs.  

Key Takeaways

  • There are a number of podcasts that regularly touch on the financial aspects of raising children, including “The SavingsAngel,” hosted by Josh Elledge. 
  • Those looking for insight on saving for college may want to check out The Price You Pay for College by Ron Lieber, which explains the financial aid process and the monetary implication of various educational paths.
  • Sources such as PBS LearningMedia and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have lots of learning materials to help teach your kids 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, that includes parents. You’ll find all kinds of videos, articles, and interactive games. 

The project 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 info on topics such as preparing for a new baby and comparing bank accounts for 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 when packing a school lunch. Elledge seems to know just about every trick in the book for finding discounts. 

'The Price You Pay for College' (book) 

Let’s face it: The mere thought of paying for higher education someday can put more than a few parents into a cold sweat. After reading Ron Lieber’s The Price You Pay for College, however, you might just 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 also 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)

Parents magazine has long been a treasure trove of ideas for raising a family, and that includes some great content on managing your 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 on a budget.

Resources for Teaching Children

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (website, books)

If your kids aren’t able to make their own lunch 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 that offers several modules where parents can find instructional strategies and learning activities to help their 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 frightening experience. 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 has been synonymous with learning and developing important life skills. Still, while parents likely know some of the outlet’s popular TV shows, they may not realize that it has an abundance of great teaching materials on its LearningMedia website.  

Parents will find a litany of videos and interactive lessons, all sortable by your child’s age. Under the economics section, you’ll encounter materials ranging from 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.

Raising Your Money-Savvy Family for Next Generation Financial Independence’s bipartite format—with alternating sections by Doug Nordman and his adult daughter, Carol Pittner—is 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 likely come away more confident in how to relate to your children when it comes to money. 

What Are Some Resources for Teaching Kids Money Management Skills?

There are many great resources online and in print format. For example, PBS LearningMedia and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau both have helpful learning activities for kids. The Federal Reserve’s Kiddynomics curriculum also teaches kids the basics of how economies work and how the bank system operates. 

Where Can I Learn More About Saving for College?

Ron Lieber’s The Price You Pay for College is a fairly 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. 

Article Sources
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  1. Financial Literacy Rocks. "Financial Literacy Rocks!"

  2. Financial Literacy Rocks. "Financial Literacy for Parents."

  3. "The SavingsAngel Podcast With Josh Elledge."

  4. RonLieber. "The Price You Pay for College."

  5. Parents. "Family Finances."

  6. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "Resources for Parents and Kids."

  7. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "Money as You Grow: Help for Parents and Caregivers."

  8. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. "Kiddynomics: An Economics Curriculum for Young Learners, Lessons for Grades Pre-K-K."

  9. PBS. "Economics."

  10. Carol Pittner, Doug Nordman. "Raising Your Money-Savvy Family For Next Generation Financial Independence." Choose FI Media, 2020.

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