Financial Literacy - PREP

PREP - Financial Literacy

Financial education is the term used to capture efforts to improve financial literacy, and generally includes those programs that seek to improve knowledge, attitudes, and behavior related to personal finance. Financial literacy means possessing a level of basic knowledge or competence about financial concepts such as the ability to balance a checkbook, manage a credit card, prepare a budget, take out a loan, and buy insurance.

Tips on Incorporating Financial Literacy Activities

Taken from: Family and Youth Services Bureau. Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, PREP Adult Preparation Subjects – Resource Guide (PDF), 2011

  • Incorporate an effective financial literacy program at the beginning or end of other evidence-based programs so as not to interfere with the core components of the evidence-based program.

  • Review the list of available resources on financial literacy and offer a session to explore those resources with participating youth.

  • Partner with an organization in the community implementing a financial literacy program and develop a strategy for offering this program to PREP youth.

  • Ensure financial literacy programs demonstrate relevance to participating students in order to engage and motivate them.

  • Financial literacy components should give students skills beyond handling cash. They should be designed to provide information on and increase awareness of the relationship between money, work, investments, credit cards, bill payment, retirement planning, taxes, and more.

8 Elements of Successful Financial Education Programs

The following are United State Treasury Office of Financial Education's eight elements of successful financial education programs.


  • Focus on basic savings, credit management, home ownership and/or retirement planning.
  • Tailor to the target audience, taking into account language, culture, age and experience.
  • Delivery

  • Offer a program through a local distribution channel that makes effective use of community resources and contacts.
  • Follow up with participants to reinforce the message and ensure that participants are able to apply the skills taught.
  • Impact

  • Establish specific program goals and uses performance measures to track progress toward meeting those goals.
  • Demonstrate a positive impact on participants' attitudes, knowledge or behavior through testing, surveys or other objective evaluation.
  • Sustainability

  • Utilize a model that can be easily replicated on a local, regional or national basis so as to have broad impact and sustainability.
  • Utilize a model that is built to last as evidenced by factors such as continuing financial support, legislative backing or integration into an established course of instruction.

Financial Literacy Curricula, Lessons and Media

  • Financial Fitness for Life: Student Workbook, Grades 9-12, Bringing Home the Gold. In the Student Workbook students apply economic and decision-making skills to the real world of earning and spending an income, savings, credit, and managing money. A Teaching Guide and Parents' Guide are also available. Workbook and Parents' Guide available in Spanish.

  • Financial Literacy: TEACH IT! (2009). Twenty-one lessons and motivational resources on how to effectively teach financial literacy in elementary, middle and high school classrooms. Wisconsin’s Standards for Personal Financial Literacy serve as the foundation for this multi-media resource. Online videos on the website show enthusiastic teachers and students interacting in the learning environment. FREE.

  • Financing Your Future: A Personal Finance Program on DVD For High School Teachers And Their Students (2007). A DVD with five video segments designed to help students master key personal finance concepts. Topics include decisions and their consequences, and the importance of planning, budgeting, saving, investing, banking and paying off credit cards monthly. The DVD contains teacher resources, including background information, student worksheets, a glossary of terms and a test bank.

  • Hands on Banking / El futuro en tus manos (2003). Instruction in English and Spanish for four groups: kids (4th & 5th grade), teens (6th to 8th grade), high school and adults. Topics include budgeting, savings and checking accounts, credit, investing, homeownership and starting a small business. The lessons are correlated with selected national education standards for math, personal finance, and economics. The program is available on the web and on CD-ROM computer software. A printed Teacher's Guide is also available. FREE.

  • In The Mix, PBS Teen Series: FINANCIAL LITERACY: ON THE MONEY (2001). A DVD highlighting the rewards of money management and how it can give young people a head-start to financial independence. Experts give tips on opening checking and savings accounts, avoiding credit card problems, and how to create a personal budget. An economics teacher explains how supply and demand, inflation, interest rates, and opportunity costs relate to teen lives. Also with Spanish subtitles.

  • Intro to Money (2008). Material is presented with attention grabbing effects, cool animation and trendy music. Some topics: Why do we need money? Swap Meet. Types of money. What would you do with $100,000? Supply and Demand. Money Tips.

  • Money Smart for Young Adults. Eight instructor-led modules. Each module includes a fully scripted instructor guide, participant guide, and overhead slides. The materials also include an optional computer-based scenario that allows students to complete realistic exercises based on each module. Aligned with educational standards for all 50 states, as well as Jump$tart financial education standards and National Council on Economic Education economic education standards. The curriculum is distributed on CD. FREE.

  • National Endowment for Financial Planning Program's High School Financial Planning Program® (HSFPP). Designed and developed around performance-based learning. Carefully designed exercises and activities move the student step-by-step toward each of the seven core competencies that the program teaches. Along the way to learning these seven lessons, students also learn dozens of related skills, all designed to help them see how easy and important it is to manage their resources. FREE.

  • Money Talks. Interactive Website, Fifteen 6-12 page "teen guides" of information and activities. Supplemental DVDs. Teacher's Guide Available.

  • Real Money, Real World. An active, hands-on experience that gives young people the opportunity to make lifestyle and budget choices similar to those they will make as adults. The curriculum is comprised of six lessons. Throughout the duration of the program, students assume the role of a 25-year-old adult who is the sole income provider for a family. They receive an occupation, monthly salary, and the number of children they are raising. Students learn to subtract savings, taxes, and health insurance amounts from their income. The amount of money left over is what they have to spend during the simulation activity. The simulation involves community volunteers who represent actual businesses in the community; these volunteers set up and staff booths representing real-life businesses.

Other Resources