8 Financial Literacy Benchmarks for Kids of All Ages

Regardless of your child’s age, it’s never too early to teach them the importance of financial literacy.

From learning the basics of saving to practicing managing a budget, financial literacy gives kids the tools they need to thrive.

If you’ve ever missed a rent payment, had to clip coupons to pay for groceries, or struggled to keep the lights on, you’ll understand what we mean.

By making a plan ahead of time, you can take steps to support your children on their journey to financial independence.

If you’re looking for a head start, we’ve put together a quick guide to get you started.

In today’s article, we’re going to show you how to support kids of all ages achieve the financial literacy benchmarks they need and how to handle money with care.


Preschoolers still come into their own, but that doesn’t mean they can’t learn the basics of money management.

Whether they have an understanding of what money really is or are still trying to figure it out, the following techniques can prepare preschoolers for financial literacy.

A penny saved is a penny earned

Teach your preschoolers the basics of saving by touching on the adage, “a penny saved is a penny earned.”

Give them a traditional piggy bank and explain how they will use it to store change and save money. You can also opt for an online version and teach children to practice with a virtual piggy bank. For example, take a look at Bankaroo.

Since children at this age may be too young to understand the concept of doing chores for a fee, give them some change that you have first. For example, give them the change you get when you get home from the store. Or hand over any loose money you find in your wallet.

Learn and practice how to count money

Ask your preschooler to count each coin and bill before adding money to the piggy bank. If they haven’t learned what each coin and bill is, practice identifying them all and then counting them.

When a child has trouble counting or just needs more practice, spend a few minutes playing online counting games every week.A screenshot showing two counting games for preschoolers.

image: splashlearn Take piggy banks one step further by having your kids count their savings goal — then choose a special item to buy and celebrate with.

You can also ask them to count coins for cashiers at the grocery store if there isn’t a busy line behind you.

Practice saying something like, “Hey Matthew, here’s four cents. Can you count them at the cashier, please? One two Three, …”

Summary: Financial Literacy Benchmarks for Preschoolers

At preschool age, children should start with:

Understand the basics of saving Learn to count/practice counting money

Primary school students

Primary school students have a better grip on the world around them. At this age, they usually know how to count and save, and what money is used for.

Give primary school children an extra boost with the following three tips.

Learn banking

An important measure of getting your kids on the road to financial success is teaching them the basics of banking.

Start with simple things like depositing into a checking account versus a savings account or learning how to use a debit card.

Take the idea further home by opening their own children’s and savings account and giving them a kid-friendly debit card.

Also pay special attention to the do’s and don’ts of debit cards. For example, teach your child the importance of keeping debit card payments in a small book or ledger – and how to check their work with online banking.

Learning Fundamentals of Investing

Elementary school kids need some time to understand the basics of investing, so start teaching your kids how money grows.

Use visuals and storytelling to paint a picture.

For example: “Money grows like a garden. If you water seeds and give them enough sun, flowers grow, right? If you invest your money with care, new money can also grow.”

If you’re ready to invest for your kids, consider using an investment gifting app like EarlyBird.

EarlyBird has powerfully improved giving money to children. You can invest not only on behalf of your child, but also family and friends.

Financial gift app for kids

image: tearlybird If a loved one makes a new deposit or investment on behalf of your child, open the app and show it to your child. If investments make money and/or lose money, show your child the totals and briefly explain what happened.

Doing this over time can help your child begin to understand the basics of investing.

Earn allowance

Elementary school children are old enough to understand the concept of earning benefits. Allowances are also an effective way to teach children how to earn, save and spend their own money.

Start with a weekly chore, such as taking out the trash or cleaning the room thoroughly. If they’re open to it and have the time, see if you can increase it to one or two weekly chores.

Summary: Financial Literacy Benchmarks for Primary School Students

Elementary school students should start with:

Understanding the basics of banking and investingKnowing how to use banking products to spend, deposit and save moneyUnderstanding the basics of earning, saving and spending their own money


By their teens, children should understand the basics, including earning, spending, and saving their own money. They may have even started working and earn salary or direct deposits. Many teenagers often use a debit card.

Equip teens even further with the following three tips.

Independent banking

Give your teen more financial responsibility by upgrading his kid-friendly accounts to student bank accounts.

If they are old enough and eligible, consider opening a student credit card as well so they can build up credit. Before applying for the card, teach your teen how to handle credit responsibly.

Financial Career Planning

When teens are ready to explore different careers, it’s important to guide them in considering a return on investment for their education.

To put them on the right track, help them research salary guides and industry standard rates based on their dream jobs.

For example, if your teen wants to become a nurse, guides like this CRNA salary guide can help them better understand how much money they can make from their chosen career path.

Budgeting and Savings Plans/Goals

Teach your teen the importance of budgeting and saving to achieve their financial goals.

Screenshot of the budget app, Mint

image: intuit Explain the importance of paying bills on time and allocating funds appropriately for bills, curveballs, emergencies, and savings goals. Teach them how to budget the old-fashioned way or suggest a budget app like Mint.

Summary: Financial Literacy Benchmarks for Teens

Teens should start with:

Practice independent banking Research career guides and industry standard rates Practice budgeting and saving


As a parent, one of the most comforting things in the world is knowing that your kids will make it on their own.

Parents can provide children with the financial tools they need to thrive by taking proactive steps to teach children how to manage money.

Are you planning to use any of these tips with your kids? Leave a comment below and let us know how it goes.

Looking for more money management tips? Visit our Finance section for more information.

Image: Depositphotos

This post 8 Financial Literacy Benchmarks for Kids of All Ages was original published at “https://smallbiztrends.com/2022/03/teaching-financial-literacy-to-your-children.html”

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