Money Matters Program at the Federal Way Teen Center

How can we get our young people excited about finances? While that’s a tricky challenge, a Youth Development Professional at our Federal Way Teen Center is up for it!

Brian knows how important it is for our young people to understand how money works, so he adapted a Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s financial literacy program to fit his group of middle schoolers.

Brian’s 6th – 8th graders were resistant to the program at first, having a hard time relating to topics like retirement and investing. Because teens have the autonomy and choice to select their programs, Brian wanted to make sure his teens had fun and saw the value in learning about money. He looked for engaging ways to add to the rich Money Matters curriculum.

After some research, Brian found the online game Finances 101. The kids love it! The game gives players a random scenario with a career and a family structure. From the simulation, players learn how to make various financial decisions. For example, they learn about the different taxes that come out of their paychecks at work, how to compare interest rates at banks, and how to balance childcare costs.

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The game helps to spark curiosity, and Brian follows up with related lessons from the Money Matters curriculum that fit their level. Brian then challenges the teens to bring their lessons into their lives outside of the Club.

He talks to the teens about saving money for supplies for a lemonade stand or asking around the neighborhood for odd-jobs like babysitting and lawn services. The group also talks about how to distinguish between “wants” and needs”.

Though at first teens expressed pushback to the program, Brian now has 15-20 teens regularly attending Money Matters.

Thank you to Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Charles Schwab Foundation for supporting this program at our Ron Sandwith Teen Center and our Rotary Club!