Twitter Post - 8 Ways to Teach Financial Literacy (1)

8 Ways to Teach Financial Literacy

As I was grading my student’s web pages today, one student’s goals struck me. She said she wanted to earn money, save it, and “create generational wealth.” This eighth grader has been taught financial skills at home, but not all students are so fortunate. April is Financial Literacy Month, so it's the perfect time to teach financial literacy. EVERFI has some fantastic (free) resources to help you be a difference-maker in a student's life. In this post, I’ll share with you these resources, how I recommend that you use them, and some interesting pointers I’ve learned as I teach students financial literacy.

EVERFI sponsored this post. All opinions are my own.

Resource #1: Financial Literacy for High School Students

In Financial Literacy for High School Students, I love the embedded Intuit TurboTax simulation module, which students complete as they learn about taxes. It is also impressive that four different methods of budgeting are taught to students, which gives them choices. (This is pretty rare in the courses I’ve seen. I particularly like the envelope system as it has helped my family with budgeting.) Additionally, students practice real-world scenarios in these seven units as they learn about financial literacy.

Some of the concepts taught in this course include:

    • Banking Basics – filling out direct deposit forms and other banking know-how
    • Employment and Taxes – students complete taxes and learn about the basics
    • Budgeting Tools – Students learn some basic budgeting methods including notebook and pencil, the envelope method, budgeting software, and spreadsheets.
    • Consumer Skills – Learning to comparison shop for cars, houses and being an informed consumer.
    • Managing Credit and Debt – Students need to understand the true costs of credit cards before they receive that first mailing in their college post office box their freshman year. Helping students be ready and wise about their decision to use credit can prevent many difficulties for students starting their lives as adults.
    • Financing Higher Education – Helping students understand student loans and higher education can help them wisely understand the costs of college.
    • Insurance – Understanding how to make wise insurance decisions.
free financial literacy courses from EVERFI

Length of course: 7 modules taking 25-35 minutes each

Grades: 9-12

Languages: English/Spanish

Course Outline (PDF)

Resource #2: FutureSmart - Financial Literacy for Middle School Students

FutureSmart digital lessons are an excellent place for middle school students to start with financial literacy. A two-year nationwide survey of 2,500 students taking the course showed knowledge gains in 90% of the students taking this free course. These results were across all student demographics, making this course an excellent fit for every middle school. 

I like how this course has the students “advise” the simulation characters. First, the simple middle-school-appropriate lessons introduce topics in a way students can understand. Then, at the end, students are more prepared to set goals for themselves. 

This course teaches:

  • Financial Priorities and Mindsets – Students start by taking a “financial personality test” with their mindsets and priorities front and center. This helps students start thinking about financial topics.
  • Budgeting – Students help a character redecorate a room on a limited budget. What a practical way to introduce students to budgets!
  • Saving and Managing Expenses – In this scenario, students help advise a person on how to manage their paycheck and daily expenses.
  • Career Choices –  Students help the character make career choices and evaluate options in this lesson.
  • Business Management – Students advise a business and help calculate profit and loss statements, open bank accounts, and make capital investments.
  • Insurance and Investing – Students help make choices in this “life simulation” as the character decides how to invest and what types of insurance to buy.
  • Future Planning and Goals – Students create personal goals for their career, college, and future action steps in this final unit.

Length of course: 7 modules taking 25 minutes each

Grades: 6-8

Languages: English/Spanish

Lesson Overview (PDF)

Resource #3: SmartEconomics for Middle Schoolers

SmartEconomics introduces middle schoolers to understand economics, market forces that impact consumer goods, and key economic concepts. Many students will take more extensive economics courses in high school and beyond, so this is a simple three-day lesson to help students get a jump start on this knowledge.

Students will learn:

  • Market Economies – Supply and demand, the role of consumers in the economy, and factors that lead to a good job market are all part of this short ten-minute session.
  • Government and the Economy – GDP (Gross Domestic Product), the government’s impact on the economy, inflation, and other government-related economic impacts.
  • Buying and Selling – Trade, domestic and international trade, and how trade impacts a country’s economy.
free economics lessons for middle schoolers

Length of course: 3 modules taking 8-10 minutes each

Grades: 6-8

Languages: English

Curriculum Guide (PDF)

Resource #4 - Marketplaces - Investment Basics

In Marketplaces, high school students learn the stock market, investment basics, and market dynamics in a fun game-based environment. In my experience, teaching financial topics in a game-based model is a big win with this generation that is always competing and playing games. These five short lessons will be an enjoyable way to introduce important topics for students.

Students will learn:

  • Global Financial Markets – Students will learn about stock markets as students participate in a fun simulation as a broker.
  • The Economy – Students will understand the economy and the central bank as students work to predict how individuals and businesses react to a variety of business climates.
  • Startup to IPO – Students help take a company from startup to Initial Public Offering (IPO) as students take the role of a consultant.
  • Keys to Investing – First, students meet with a financial advisor to understand risk and reward. As students progress, they eventually become financial advisors to help determine proper risk portfolios for different clients and their needs.
  • Investment Game – This course concludes in a game where students make investment decisions during different financial situations resulting in visualizing their retirement.
Free Investment basics course from Everfi

Length of course: 5 lessons taking 20 minutes each

Grades: 9-12

Curriculum Guide (PDF)

Resource #5: Accounting Careers for High School Students

Accounting Careers: Limitless Opportunities is a digital course that shows high school students how an accounting background can help them achieve their career goals. Students are exposed to the wide range of careers available in the accounting and finance space. This digital course covers the extensive benefits accounting skills can provide in business or in daily life, including contexts like entrepreneurship, investing, and personal finance.

Students will learn the following:

  • Business – How accounting skills support a variety of career paths and goals.
  • Personal – Key accounting skills that relate to real life.

Length of course: 2 lessons taking 10 minutes each

Grades: 9-12

Curriculum Guide (PDF)

Resource #6: Data Science Foundations for High School

You’ve heard of “Big Data.” In our student’s future, “big data” means “big opportunities.” According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employment of computer and information research scientists is projected to grow 15 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Job prospects are expected to be excellent.

Data Science Foundations teaches:

  • Real World  – Students learn about the real-world problems a data scientist would solve.
  • Collecting, Cleaning, and Validating Data –  Students learn how data scientists make sure data is valid.
  • Analyzing and Visualizing Data – Students learn how to visualize large sets of data and how analytics tools can help understand data.
  • Reporting and Acting on Data – Students learn how data scientists analyze data for different groups so that actions can be taken.

Length of course: 7 lessons taking 30 minutes each

Grades: 9-12

Information Sheet (PDF)

Resource #7: SaveUp: Saving Money for the Future for Middle School Students

SaveUp discusses the importance of saving money. Students will learn:

  • Basics of Saving – Students learn about savings, wants, needs, and the importance of reducing expenses and increasing income. They also learn the importance of options for what to do when real life and crisis happens.
  • Emergency Saving – Students learn about short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals as well as the importance of emergency savings.
  • Savings Account and Interest – Students learn how savings accounts can help them.
  • Opening a Savings Account – Students experience a simulation showing how to open a savings account.
Learn to Save Money

Length of course: 4 lessons taking 10 minutes each

Grades: 6-8

Curriculum Guide(PDF)

Resource #8 Library of Resources for High School, Middle School, and Elementary School

EVERFI has many more resources on its financial resources page. These 10+ courses are standards-aligned and will empower your students with the knowledge and skills they need to strengthen their financial literacy.


Our students need us to help them understand financial concepts. We need age-appropriate ways to teach students in fun, engaging, and real-world ways. EVERFI gives us free courses we can use with students of all ages. Let’s help our students get started on success by teaching important financial literacy skills.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored blog post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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