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Money Smart

Teach Money Smart

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Help people of all ages learn how to manage money with free easy-to-use FDIC Money Smart Resources

Last Updated: December 29, 2022
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Reality Fairs

Guide to Organizing Reality Fairs

A Reality Fair is a simulation of an adult’s financial life that provides youth with an interactive experience for making real world financial decisions and managing money. Participants experience what it is like to have an account at a financial institution, decide how to use their money, obtain a loan, manage debt, and more.

The FDIC created its Guide to Organizing a Reality Fair to help organizers plan and execute a fair. With this toolkit, anyone can organize a Reality Fair—bankers, community leaders, educators, etc. And, Reality Fairs can be held in various settings, for example, schools, summer youth employment programs, clubs, etc. A Reality Fair can be a single event or combined with a financial education program.

FDIC offers two instructor-led financial education curriculums to support additional learning: Money Smart for Young People and Money Smart for Young Adults.

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What other products does Money Smart include?

  • Money Smart for Young People - This set of four grade-specific curriculums includes lesson plans and Parent/Caregiver Guides to help educators deliver basic financial concepts to students in kindergarten through 12th grade. We developed these materials with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). 
  • Money Smart for Young Adults - Updated in 2022, Money Smart for Young Adults is a 12-module curriculum that includes fully scripted instructor guides that bankers and others without teaching experience can easily use to help young adults ages 16-24 learn the basics of personal finance and prepare them for future life events such as renting a home, buying a car or paying for college.
  • Money Smart for Adults - Completely updated in 2018, this 14-module curriculum can be used to provide training for adults in many different life stages and financial situations. That includes adults new to this country, adults with disabilities, adults starting or changing careers, and adults going through significant life events such as expanding their families or purchasing or renting their first homes.
  • Money Smart for Older Adults - This curriculum focuses on preventing elder financial exploitation. We also developed these materials in collaboration with the CFPB.
  • Money Smart for Small Business - This curriculum provides information related to starting and managing a business. We developed these materials with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Is Money Smart effective?

Research demonstrates that the Money Smart curriculum can positively influence how adults manage their finances, and these changes are sustainable in the months following the training. Survey data also shows that people who complete Money Smart training are highly satisfied with the course. Read the full research report: A Longitudinal Evaluation of the Intermediate-term Impact of the Money Smart Financial Education Curriculum upon Consumers’ Behavior and Confidence - PDF.

Why did the FDIC create Money Smart?

  • Knowledge of key financial concepts and skills, along with access to safe, affordable banking services, fosters greater financial stability for people and communities.
  • Money Smart can help individuals build financial skills and confidence through knowledge and practice.

How can Money Smart foster collaborations with banks and communities?

We designed the instructor-led versions of Money Smart for use by staff from banks, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and schools. Instructors can customize the materials to meet the needs and interests of people they serve. The FDIC encourages Money Smart training to be connected to low or no-cost deposit accounts and services.

How does the FDIC support organizations that use Money Smart?

The FDIC recognizes some of the organizations that use Money Smart through the Money Smart Alliance. We provide technical assistance and help these 1,500-plus organizations share successful approaches.

We also feature success stories under Money Smart News Issues/ Stories List that highlight how organizations use Money Smart products and collaborate with others.  In addition, we provide online train-the-trainer videos and conduct quarterly train-the-trainer webinars.