Teen boy and teen girl in living room looking at the Greenlight money app with financial literacy

How to teach kids financial literacy


- Financial literacy can be introduced at an early age to help kids understand that money management skills are an important and necessary part of life.

- Learning about money can be fun! Play kid-friendly games like Level Up™ or use real-life scenarios (like an allowance and chores) to introduce financial education.

- Kids can build responsible financial habits with Greenlight® — the essential money app for families with financial literacy, Savings Goals, and debit cards for kids.

What is financial literacy — and why it’s important

As parents, we want to do the best job possible in preparing our kids for independence. One day, we’re walking them to their first day of school. And the next, they’re graduating from high school. So, what’s the secret to raising financially responsible kids? Well, one thing you can do is introduce financial literacy at an early age (or any age, really). 

Financial literacy is a toolbox of knowledge that helps people make smart money decisions. This includes learning to make a budget, manage debt, and invest money.

When you teach your kids financial literacy, your kids will understand that money should be used responsibly. They’ll have the financial capability to feel empowered and build their own wealth — while living their best life.

How to start teaching financial education

There are infinite ways to start teaching your kids about money. But, if you want to keep them excited to learn more, try giving some of these ideas a go.

1. Play interactive money games — like Greenlight Level Up™

One of the best ways to make a money lesson fun is through a game — especially when it’s made especially for kids and teens. 

Kahoot! has plenty of interactive digital money quizzes that anyone can play on a computer, mobile phone, or tablet. If your kids like a challenge (like when they play video games) — this is the game for them. While kids compete for the number one spot, they simultaneously learn about money topics, all through a Kahoot! game.

Five siblings outside on the grass playing financial literacy games with Greenlight's money app

Want a more immersive money game? Try Greenlight Level Up — a financial literacy game for kids and teens that unlocks money confidence for life. Plus, the game goes beyond national standards for K-12 personal financial education. The real deal.

Each lesson builds on the other using an educational matrix that’s connected back to the outcomes. Players can follow the recommended path or choose their adventure based on what interests them. And with topics like spending, investing, earning, and saving, the game covers relevant skills that kids and teens can use right away.

Players even get rewarded with coins¹, XP, and stars based on the percentage of correct answers. Sweet! Every time they take their money skills to a new level, they’ll also earn a new badge. Then, they can redeem their coins for rewards in the Reward Shop.

Want in? Kids on all Greenlight plans can play Level Up in their app. Cheer your kids on as they play their way to money confidence — and follow along with their progress in the app. Learn more here.

2. Listen to educational podcasts

Podcasts are a great way to learn together. Plus, they can be listened to nearly anywhere, like in the car on the way to school. The best part is that most of them are free. But wait — it gets better.

Animated mobile phone with Million Bazillion podcast on screen by Greenlight with financial literacy content

Ever heard of a money podcast for families? That’s right. You can learn about money as a family by listening. Then, start money conversations about what you just learned. Greenlight is proud to present Million Bazillion, a podcast for kids and their families to help dollars make more sense. 

Each episode has trivia, fun facts, spotlights, and guest appearances. Learn to save money, invest, and spend money wisely just by pressing play. Start listening with your kids and watch them become financial pros in no time.

3. Create a financial bucket list

Does your kid dream of traveling the world one day? What about buying a limited edition gaming console? Own a couple of small businesses? They’re all valid dreams. And in most cases, your kids will need funds, from a couple of bucks to a couple thousand dollars to make their dreams a reality. 

Support their dreams by taking 20 minutes to create a bucket list with them. Let them jot down their bucket-list items while you help them prioritize. Ask — which one of these do you want to accomplish first? Then, help them understand how they can achieve it. 

Do this every year and watch their bucket-list items turn into financial goals. Don’t forget to cheer them on when they start checking off their boxes!

4. Talk to your kids about big money decisions

The best way to start teaching kids about money is to start talking about money. Next time your kids watch you swipe your credit card, consider explaining what that swipe actually means. Or how opening multiple credit cards can affect your credit score.

Have a big purchase coming up? Let your kids help you research prices online. They’ll feel extra special when you let them help you make financial decisions.

Do you have a little one that can’t quite research prices yet? Consider upgrading their piggy bank to a virtual piggy bank with Greenlight. Then, watch them learn all about money from a young age.

Greenlight — the money app that teaches real financial lessons 

Beyond the money chats, podcasts, and games — there’s an even more comprehensive way to access financial literacy for kids. It’s called Greenlight, and it’s not a bank account. It’s better. And it’s designed to help families learn about money together.

Mom and young son on the couch looking at the Greenlight financial literacy app and smiling at his Savings Goal

Parents can set flexible controls and get real-time notifications of their kids’ debit card activity. And kids get their own debit card and can earn up to 1% on spending each month.* 

But that’s not all. From emergency funds to Savings Goals, your kids and teens will learn to save for a brighter financial future. And by giving your kids access to a money account with Greenlight², they’ll start building good money habits in no time.

When your family joins Greenlight, you’ll also be able to teach your kids about budgeting. In fact, you can set spending limits together by using Spending Categories. Open your Greenlight app and let your kids help you decide which Spending Categories are best for them. From ‘Online Gaming’ to ‘Any Grocery Store’ — you’ll teach them to budget for all their wants and needs.

Young boy checks his Greenlight financial literacy app with allowance and savings in his bedroom

What better way to teach kids about money than to pay them some of their own? We’re talking allowance for doing chores — like cleaning, washing dishes or laundry. With Greenlight, kids can get allowance deposited into their account. You can set their allowance to pay out weekly, biweekly or monthly. Or automatically make payouts based on chores. Or not. It’s up to you!

Try Greenlight to unlock financial literacy for kids and teens

You can learn about financial literacy and why it’s important by reading and listening. But, you’ll learn even more by putting it all into practice. That’s why at Greenlight, we encourage and reward kids when they make smart money choices. 

So if you’ve been thinking of teaching your kids financial literacy, we’re here to help. Start with a Million Bazillion podcast and end with a brand new money account with Greenlight. From spending to Savings Goals, we have it all. Try it today — our treat! * Greenlight Core and Greenlight + Invest families can earn monthly rewards of 1% per annum, Greenlight Max families can earn 2% per annum, and Greenlight Infinity families can earn 5% per annum on an average daily savings balance of up to $5,000 per family. Only Greenlight Max and Infinity families can earn 1% cash back on spending monthly. To qualify, the Primary Account must be in Good Standing and have a verified ACH funding account. See Greenlight Terms of Service for details. Subject to change at any time.

¹ Greenlight Coins (i) are not cash or a cash equivalent, (ii) have no cash value prior to redemption, and (iii) are not redeemable or exchangeable for any cash equivalent. See the Level Up Program Terms for details.

² Greenlight is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by Community Federal Savings Bank, Member FDIC.

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