7 Ways to Teach Students Financial Planning

by Julia McDonald on 03 Feb, 2022

Here at ChatterHigh, we want to foster hope in students and better prepare them for life after high school. And we know that supporting teachers is one of the best ways we can do that. So, to help you give every student in your classroom the tools, resources, and support they need to successfully and confidently manage their money, we’ve made a list of 7 ways you can teach the fundamentals of financial planning and boost financial literacy whether you’re in the classroom or online.


TL;DR Summary

We know you're busy, so here's a summary of some key takeaways we've detailed below about using interactive learning tools to boost student financial literacy. 

  • There are gender and socioeconomic financial literacy gaps resulting in girls and disadvantaged students having lower financial confidence. 
  • Interactive learning approaches can improve students' critical thinking skills and confidence.
  • Try creating a classroom economy, using free financial literacy resources, and completing the Money Management courses by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada on ChatterHigh to boost student engagement and confidence.


7 Ways To Teach Students Financial Planning

According to data from the 2018 PISA assessment, the financial literacy gender gap was significant and in favour of boys in 13 of the 19 participating countries/economies with valid data.”


The study also revealed that students with higher financial literacy scores are more confident using digital financial services. This means the opposite is also true: students with lower scores are less confident. Since girls had lower scores on average, we know that they tend to be less confident keeping track of their balance, ensuring the safety of their personal banking information, transferring money, and paying with a card or mobile device. 


However, girls aren’t the only ones who could use a finlit boost. The PISA data uncovered a socioeconomic gap as well: “advantaged students scored [on average] 78 score points, or roughly one proficiency level, higher than disadvantaged students.” 


That’s where these 7 activities come into play. By adopting an interactive approach to teaching financial literacy, you can increase student engagement and improve students’ critical thinking skills, which will help prepare them to manage their money well in the future. Creating an interactive learning environment also provides students with the perfect opportunity to begin, or continue, developing a growth mindset. Research suggests that adopting this mindset can improve student self-esteem, which will help our students who are currently feeling less confident in their financial know-how.


So encourage your students to learn through trial and error using these 7 ways to teach financial planning.

1. Create a Classroom Economy

One great way to introduce your students to basic financial principles is by transforming your classroom into an economy. And you can do it in a few simple steps:


  1. Create a currency. Whether you want to adopt a points system or bust out some old monopoly bills, you’ll need some currency that your students will want to collect.

  2. Define the job market. This step is about determining how your students can earn your currency. You might consider paying points for the completion of additional tasks or participation. Below are a few ideas you can use for in-person or virtual learning:
    1. Reward participation. Incentivize students to answer questions (or to simply keep their cameras on during virtual learning).
    2. Celebrate collaboration. Encourage students to work together on problems before coming to you with questions by “paying” them for team problem-solving.
    3. Recognize helpfulness. Are there different tasks students can sign up to do to help your classroom run more smoothly? Can someone hand out worksheets, collect homework for absent students, clean the whiteboard between classes, or write out the homework on the board at the end of the day?

  3. Incentivize your students. Determine what kind of prizes students can “buy” and how much each is worth. Posting a list of the prizes with their point value is a great way to remind students what they’re working towards. And these prizes don’t have to cost you a dime. Students might work together to “buy” an afternoon movie period or a study period before a test.


If you want to take your classroom economy to the next level, you might even “hire” a class treasurer or banker. Perhaps students can “invest” their points in the class bank to earn interest over the year or semester so they can buy a bigger prize. Students could even choose to pool their money. The sky (and maybe your classroom budget?) is the limit.



2. Break out the (Board) Games


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If you’re interested in compounding your return on financial learning, you could even list a board games period as a prize students can buy in your classroom economy. Regardless, games like Monopoly, the Game of Life, and PayDay are easy and fun ways to introduce students to basic financial concepts. 


Conducting class online? No problem. You can find a free online version of a Monopoly-like game here. 



3. Organize a Fundraiser

This is a great way to develop class spirit and instill the value of giving all while teaching your students about managing money. Let students share some charities or causes they want to support and then take a class vote. Once a cause has been chosen, allow the students to brainstorm different ways to fundraise. Encourage them to consider the costs they’ll incur. How much does it cost to buy supplies to make posters or bake cookies for a bake sale? As the fundraiser is coming together, have students fill out a simple ledger that tracks debits and credits for expenses and sales. 



4. Simulate the Stock Market


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Stocks are arguably one of the more daunting aspects of financial planning. The money seems intangible and the acronyms are downright confusing. Since students won’t need to buy stocks like they’ll need to buy groceries, it’s easy for them to ignore stocks. But what if you could introduce your students to stocks in an engaging and gamified way? Thankfully, you can! TD Bank’s stock market simulator game allows students to practice trading U.S. stock with real prices while seeing real-time ranking against their classmates. The activity comes complete with both student and teacher user guides. 



5. Make the Most of Free Government Resources

From budgeting worksheets to credit card comparison tools, the American and Canadian governments have some fantastic free resources that your students (and you) can use. Not sure how to incorporate these tools into your classroom? Consider pairing them with a free 10-minute personal finance lesson offered by TD Bank. These interactive lessons walk students through topics like healthy financial habits and creating a budget. Once students have a better grasp of these concepts, their assignment might be to use a budget worksheet or planner to get a picture of their own spending and saving habits. 

6. Use Free Financial Literacy Activities

There are a plethora of free resources available online, including worksheets, games, and lesson plans that you can use to teach your students about budgeting, loans, the cost of postsecondary education, and more. Click here to see a summary of 8 different activities, including links to each resource. 



7. Complete the Money Management Courses by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada on ChatterHigh




ChatterHigh is excited to announce the release of our new bilingual Money Management courses by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC):

  1. Money Management Foundations (Grades 6-12)
    • Money Management and Budgeting by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
  2. Money Management After High School (Grades 9-12)
    • Managing My Money After High School by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Our ‘seek-and-find’ activity will guide students through some of FCAC's tools and resources as they learn basic concepts about money management that will prepare them for future financial success. To check out the courses, log in and go to your Modules page or download the question booklets here




We believe in leaving no student behind, especially when it comes to fundamental life skills like financial literacy. So we’re on a mission to connect teachers with resources that will help them reach every student and bridge those gaps. 


Tried any of the activities above? We’d love to hear how they impacted your class. Simply leave us a note via our contact page.

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