Give Teens a Head Start on Financial Independence

AMES, Iowa — Over the past 30 years, teachers and parents have used the High School Financial Planning Program to help more than 8 million teens and young adults build a solid foundation for financial independence and decision-making.

teen looking at cash in walletIowa State University Extension and Outreach works with the National Endowment for Financial Education to make the High School Financial Planning Program available in Iowa, said Mary Beth Kaufman, an extension family finance program specialist who is the NEFE state contact for HSFPP.

NEFE developed the program, which is available to educators at no charge. NEFE often updates the program to reflect consumer trends and user feedback, and all new curriculum materials are available in 2013, Kaufman said.

“The curriculum is appropriate for teachers to use in their classrooms and parents who home-school their children. Students even can go online and use the program for independent study,” Kaufman said. “Evaluation data show that students who completed the HSFPP reported significant improvement in their financial knowledge, behaviors and confidence. They’re building skills they’ll use now as students and later when they’re in the workforce.”

The updated version is easier to use and more flexible, with six modules that can be used individually or together, Kaufman explained. “The curriculum covers money management and controlling cash flow, borrowing, earning power, investing, using financial services and protecting what you have with insurance.”

HSFPP instructional materials include lessons and activities adaptable to classroom settings, 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.

ISU Extension and Outreach is available to help educators, parents and students access and implement the HSFPP curriculum. To learn more, contact any ISU Extension and Outreach county office to get in touch with a family finance program specialist.