Get Your Teen Financially Fit in the New Year

teen with walletAMES, Iowa – Many people begin the New Year with plans to exercise more and watch what they eat. However, financial health is as important as physical health, particularly for young people. Teaching young people basic money management skills will help them not only this year, but for years to come. That’s why Iowa State University Extension and Outreach helps make the High School Financial Planning Program available in Iowa.

“Financial literacy is an essential, 21st century skill that students need to lead productive, satisfying lives,” said Mary Beth Kaufman, a family finance program specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach.

The High School Financial Planning Program is an educational resource for teaching teens financial literacy skills. For the past 30 years, the program has been used by teachers, parents and community organizations to help more than 8 million teens and young adults build a solid foundation for financial independence and decision-making. The program is available at no charge.

ISU Extension and Outreach has an agreement with the program’s developer, the National Endowment for Financial Education, to help educators, parents and students access and implement the HSFPP curriculum. During 2014, ISU Extension and Outreach will conduct workshops throughout the state for teachers to learn more about the curriculum. For more information, contact any county ISU Extension and Outreach office to get in touch with a family finance program specialist. Or visit the Extension and Outreach website for upcoming dates.

All new curriculum materials are available in 2014, Kaufman said. The updated version of the HSFPP is easier to use and more flexible, with six modules that can be used individually or together. The curriculum covers money management and controlling cash flow, using credit and loans, earning power, investing, financial services and insurance.

“Evaluation data show that students who completed the HSFPP reported significant improvement in their financial knowledge, behaviors and confidence,” Kaufman said.

HSFPP instructional materials include lessons and activities adaptable to the classroom setting, home schooling or independent learning. The free materials are available to teachers, parents or students on the High School Financial Planning Program website at Once logged in, participants also can access teacher forums, student interactive games and a growing collection of learning tools, articles and resources, Kaufman said.