Top Internet sites for money-savvy teens

Does your teenager know how a debit card works? How to invest? Balance a checkbook? Budget income? Interpret a bank statement? Choose the best savings account?

If not, then helping your teen learn about money management is a must-do, particularly before he or she moves out of your home. The good news is that a number of websites offer fun, parent-free, age-appropriate, interactive ways--games, courses, simulations, quizzes and more--for teens to learn the essentials and beyond.

5 top finance sites for teens

Here are some fantastic, recommended, teen-specific sites:

  1. The Mint's "Tips for Teens"URL: On this site, teens can learn about savings accounts and a five-step saving/spending plan, along with how to save, how banks work and how to earn money. With the information provided, they can develop sound financial habits. With the "Millionaire Calculator" they can determine how long it will take for them to become a millionaire. They can use the "Power of 72 Calculator" to figure out when their savings will double from interest. Answers to "The Truth About Millionaires Quiz" may surprise them.
  2. Credit Union National Association: "Guides to Independence" URL: Featuring the help of online, college-age student guides, this Web tool consists of interactive courses, activities and quizzes that can help your teen learn money-management skills quickly and enjoyably. Available courses include "How to Start a Checking Account," "How to Use a Check Card" and "How to Pay for School." Each takes about 10 to 15 minutes to complete. For learning how to save, spend, borrow and manage money through the program, students are rewarded with free music download codes for two to five songs. Various credit unions sometimes offer this program on their websites.
  3. "Sense and Dollars" URL: This site offers finances-related quizzes, games and information. Your teen can create a budget for the prom or a general budget, find out what it's like to have a full-time job and manage a household budget, and discover the true cost of credit. With the "Time Warp" game, they can see what movie tickets cost in decades past and learn about inflation.
  4. "Money Talks for Teens" URL: This series of money-management courses is a free, online bilingual (Spanish and English) program for teens ages 14 to 18 (the curriculum is sometimes offered through local groups like United Way and the Boys and Girls Club, as well as banks.) The curriculum consists of 15 units organized in four modules: "Money Talks: Should I Be Listening?"; "Money Talks: Should I Be Banking?"; "Money Talks: Should I Be Charging?"; and "Money Talks: Should I Be Working?" Each features guides, videos, games, assessments and FAQs.
  5. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.: "Start Smart: Money Management for Teens" URL: This 12-page publication contains tips and information on several financial topics, including how to save and earn money; borrow money; spend money wisely; protect against identity theft; and get additional help from government agencies, banks, businesses, professional associations and other sources. It concludes with a short quiz, which teens can use to find out how much they learned about saving and managing their money.

Money education benefits

Having a sound foundation of money knowledge will set your teens up to be financially responsible, boost their confidence about all things money, prepare them for independence and, perhaps, relieve some of the financial pressure on you. Wouldn't it be fantastic if your teens could spend sensibly and regularly sock away some cash?

Even if your teens already are money savvy savings account experts, they may enjoy the activities on these sites. Many teens want to be financially literate, they agree that learning about money is crucial and they say the best time to do so is during their school years, according to annual surveys on teens and personal finance conducted by the Allstate Foundation and Junior Achievement. JA is a global organization dedicated to educating students about work force readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through hands-on programs.

Who knows, these youth-oriented money websites might even turn your child into an Alex P. Keaton, the Republican teen character passionate about wealth and economics, played by actor Michael J. Fox on the '80s sitcom Family Ties. (OK, maybe we're getting a little ahead of ourselves here.)

The original article can be found at Internet sites for money-savvy teens