Building Financial Literacy

Achieve Student Success

Have you considered the financial knowledge, skills and resources needed to make sound financial decisions? Do your students and families have what they need to make those decisions? This Click & Go describes important concept areas students must master to achieve financial competency.


To enable participants to

  • Understand and apply five financial literacy concept categories to student activities.
  • Understand the guiding principles for designing financial literacy activities for family members.
  • Evaluate financial literacy resources.
  • Identify community partners to help your program design and deliver financial literacy activities.

Zip Link (100 MB) Select download arrow to download the resources in this Click & Go!


Mini-Lesson 1: Introduction to Financial Literacy




Mini-Lesson 2: Developing Age-Appropriate Financial Literacy Activities

Adult Financial Literacy

This podcast focuses on financial literacy for adults. We’ll discuss the five principles of effective financial education and suggest resources that can support financial literacy efforts. [Download Transcript]

Building Community Partnerships to Support Financial Literacy

This podcast explores how to build partnerships to support financial literacy. We’ll discuss how to find partners in your community and work with them to create effective financial education activities. [Download Transcript]

Evaluating Financial Literacy Resources

This podcast discusses how to find and select appropriate resources using guidance from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB. We will review the Bureau’s four dimensions of youth financial education and how they can help you evaluate the quality and appropriateness of curricula and resources. [Download Transcript]

Biz Kid$

From the National Credit Union Foundation, Biz Kid$ is a financial literacy initiative that includes an award-winning TV series, free financial literacy curriculum, outreach activities, a website and a social media presence targeting children ages 9 to 16 years old. Its focus is to help kids make and manage money. LINK

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has resources for both adult and youth financial literacy. The Bureau’s youth program supports K-12 teachers, education leaders, and practitioners by providing information, tools, and resources that lead to more effective design and delivery of financial education. LINK

Council for Economic Education

This webpage provides links to a variety of materials on organizational culture, including articles, tools & guides, webinars, presentations and youth topics. LINK

Jump$tart: Financial Smarts for Students

Jump$tart is a coalition of diverse financial education stakeholders working together to educate and prepare our nation’s youth for life-long financial success. Jump$tart offers tools and resources to help practitioners implement financial literacy best practices such as National Standards in K-12 personal finance education, an online resource library, and Reality Check, an online calculator that helps students determine the income needed to support their dream lifestyle. LINK

List of Additional Resources (PDF)

This list of additional Financial Literacy resources, developed by the U.S. Department of Education's Y4Y team, will help you and your team implement financial literacy into your 21st CCLC program. LINK

First, outline your goals and clearly communicate them to staff so they understand what the financial literacy program is trying to accomplish. Make sure to consider state and national standards, relevant statistics, and the community’s needs when developing your goals and curriculum. Second, have your staff watch the mini-lessons and review the podcasts and tools in this Click & Go to get an introduction to financial literacy and how it can benefit your program’s youth. Third, make sure that staff scaffold learning for students by introducing concepts and activities in small pieces and working up to more complex ideas. Staff may become frustrated if they are directed to incorporate large concepts, like budgeting, without building a foundation. Ask staff to begin by focusing on basics like spending and saving, then developing the activity into a larger project like a monthly or yearly budget. Finally, discuss with staff your plans for recruiting and including community partners. Staff members should be able to rely on their own experiences and knowledge for certain concepts, but they cannot be expected to know everything about financial literacy. Good local partners can fill in the gaps and offer enrichment opportunities that staff might not be able to provide

Financial literacy impacts several student needs beyond money management and sound financial decision making. Because financial education is rooted in real-life scenarios, students develop essential 21st century skills while learning important concepts that will transfer into their adult lives. Introducing financial literacy can also help fulfill your program goals in areas like family engagement and community interaction. Families might become more engaged if you provide training for them to assist youth in developing skills at home, and caregivers can advance their own knowledge through workshops and connections with local financial institutions. These connections will prove important to your program, too. Financial literacy instruction requires willing partners to provide information, assist with teaching, and offer services to students and the surrounding community. These relationships can spread beyond financial literacy into other areas of your program and help with recruiting new partners.

Financial literacy learning should begin as early as pre-kindergarten, when activities can center on understanding the concept of money and making simple spending and saving decisions. As students get older they can learn more complex financial concepts such as bill payment and interest accrual. National learning standards from organizations like Jump$tart and the Council for Economic Education offer grade-level benchmarks to guide financial literacy curriculum. For more ideas on age-appropriate activities, see the Financial Literacy Knowledge and Activities Across Age Groups tool.

Involving community partners is a fantastic way to meet the needs of your students and their adult family members. Finding partner programs or organizations that are based in your community increases the likelihood that their knowledge and program offerings will directly meet your program’s identified needs. Once you’ve identified potential partners, do a little research to learn more about them. Then, connect via email or a phone call. Discuss ways your out-of-school time program and the partner organization can collaborate. And finally, create a memorandum of understanding that outlines the collaboration and clarifies expectations. For more information, see the Partnership Planner tool or the Y4Y course on Strengthening Partnerships.

Keeping students engaged is directly correlated to providing learning opportunities that are meaningful and enjoyable. To learn more about how to identify needs and intentionally design activities, visit the Y4Y Summer Learning and Continuous Education courses, or use this tool to help you identify and define participants’ needs: /tools/conducting-your-program-needs-assessment. Also, remember that you don’t need to do it all yourself! Enlist help from partners who have expertise in financial literacy to provide fun and engaging programming. Banks, libraries, local community organizations and even adults affiliated with your program can be great resources to provide input, guidance or programming. Check out the podcast on financial literacy partnerships for more ideas on where to begin. Also see the Y4Y course on Strengthening Partnerships for additional items to consider when establishing or maintaining a partnership.

All people need to understand how to make sound financial decisions and develop the skills to manage credit and debt. Social and economic status do not determine financial literate. Your first step should be conducting needs assessments to determine the needs of your students and their families. The results of those assessments will help you design appropriate activities that meet the most urgent and important needs. Use this tool to help you identify participants’ needs: Conducting Your Program Needs Assessment.