Youth money management education is important

4-H Clover Cents provide online video resources to teach youth money management concepts.

Piggy bank next to the word Budget.
Photo by Money Bright, CC BY 2.0.

Use a budget. Do not spend more than you make. Consider needs and wants. To make a big purchase, do price comparison research first. These are all money management concepts that Michigan State University Extension staff teach young people.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, developing financial knowledge, skills and habits is an important stepping stone on young people’s path to adult financial well-being.

Research released April 16, 2018, and funded by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) found one in three Americans to be financially fragile, meaning they are unable to cope with emergency expenses in a short timeframe. In addition, as part of a decade-long research study, NEFE published in 2018 that, “Self-efficacy isn’t defined as just having knowledge and skills, but believing in success as long as you try,” said Ted Beck, NEFE president and CEO. “That confidence develops from performing financial tasks on your own—not relying on your parents to do it for you.”

Have you seen or used our 4-H Clover Cents videos? 4-H Clover Cents is an educational resource that was launched in February of 2021. It is a series of short youth money management videos that provide hands-on lessons, many of which could be done with family and friends. The videos are stand-alone lessons, but we encourage everyone to view more than one as the videos reinforce concepts and terms.

Here is a brief description of three of the available lessons:

  • Paying for a Pet focuses on doing research and comparison shopping regarding choosing an appropriate pet, paying for a pet and caring for a pet.
  • Fun Funds has to do with planning a day of fun for two friends while maintaining and sticking to a budget. It helps individuals think about the costs of social activities versus things people might do for no cost.
  • Needs and Wants teaches individuals the difference between financial needs and wants related to spending and saving.

Our programs and materials are effective. In 2019, youth that participated in an MSU Extension financial literacy program indicated the following through post-program evaluations:

  • 97% understood that they were responsible for their financial future.
  • 77% planned to always or often save a portion of the money they earned or were given.
  • 79% always or often planned to buy their needs first and limit buying their wants.

Check out 4-H Clover Cents videos as a free resource to reinforce basic youth money management concepts. Michigan State University Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development helps to prepare young people for successful futures. For more information or resources on career exploration, workforce preparation, financial education or youth entrepreneurship, email us at

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