How to Teach Your Teen Investing


They say that best writers steal ideas from others and make them their own. I’m not sure about stealing, but I have to admit that my ideas come from the input of others. That can be from books, newspapers, blog articles, television, essentially any media. Usually, making them my own involves adding some of my own thoughts, opinions, and commentary. (On very rare occasions it involves adding comedy.) Occasionally, the idea is so good, I don’t have anything else to add – I’m simply pointing to it to make you aware of it. This is one of those cases.

Today I’m stealing borrowing from Jonathan of My Money Blog. I’ve been reading his blog for more than 15 years as it inspired me to create Lazy Man and Money. He flies under the radar in the personal finance space. However, his research and content is always top-notch. The latest example is a gem from NPR’s Planet Money. They’ve had a “summer school” where they taught investing at a basic level.

If you are new to investing, this will be a great listen. However, I agree with Jonathan that it would be a great course for my kids when they are teenagers. A small sliver of why I’m writing this today is to document it and hopefully see it a few years in the future to revisit with them.

How to Teach Your Teen Investing

Jonathan’s article, Weekend Listening: NPR Planet Money Summer School Investing Edition, lays out the course’s syllabus:

  • Episode 1: The Stock Market
  • Episode 2: Index Funds & The Bet
  • Episode 3: Smooth Spending & The 401K
  • Episode 4: Bonds & Becky With The Good Yield
  • Episode 5: Bubbles, Bikes, & Biases
  • Episode 6: Crypto & Commencement

I have to admit that I haven’t listened to the whole course. It’s not designed for the personal finance blogger who has been investing for thirty years. If you feel like you know the basics of investing, you may want to skip this course. That’s why I’m targetted it towards teens for the readers here. (That’s also an idea that I stole from Jonathan.)

You can get the whole podcast at Planet Money Summer School. I’m not a podcast person, but I’m guessing you can get it through the mobile app of your choice by searching for “Planet Money Summer School.” Each episode is a little more than a half hour long.

When you are done, there is a the final exam. I took the exam before listening to the episodes and only got 5 of 8 correct. The ones I got wrong were historical or based on nomenclature, where I knew the concept, but not the precise term for it. Give it a try and see how you do.

Is this the perfect way to teach investing? Nope. My kids are 7 and 8, so I have a few years before the teenage years. I don’t imagine they’ll want to listen to this podcast without some kind of carrot stick. However, I do believe it can be one of the tools in your toolbox if you want to teach your kids about money.

Looking for something else? This investing course is actually season 2 of the Planet Money’s Summer School. Season 1 covers Microeconomics concepts.

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