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FDIC Money Smart-A Financial Education Program

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
Resource Type: 
Number of Pages: 
Product Type: 
Target Audience: 
Skill Level: 
NRS EFL 1--ABE Beginning Literacy
NRS EFL 2--ABE Beginning Basic Education
NRS EFL 3--ABE Intermediate Low
NRS EFL 4--ABE Intermediate High
NRS EFL 3--ESL High Beginning ESL
NRS EFL 4--ESL Low Intermediate ESL
NRS EFL 5--ESL High Intermediate ESL
NRS EFL 6--Advanced ESL Literacy
Required Training: 

No special training required. Comprehensive guide for instructors.


The FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) has developed Money Smart to help adults outside the financial mainstream enhance their money skills and create positive banking relationships. Money Smart curriculum is available free in CD form (ordering information on website) or directly online in a computer-based version. The instructor-led version is available in English, Chinese, Hmong, Korean, Vietnamese, Russian, and Spanish. The online version is in English and Spanish.

The ten modules each take 1-2 hours of classroom time to teach. The topics covered are:

  1. Bank on It (Introduction to bank services)
  2. Borrowing Basics (introduction to credit)
  3. Check it Out (Choose and keep a checking account)
  4. Money Matters (How to keep track of your money)
  5. Pay Yourself First (Why you should save)
  6. Keep it Safe (Your rights as a consumer)
  7. To Your Credit (Your credit history)
  8. Charge it Right (How to make a credit card work for you)
  9. Loan to Own (Know what you are borrowing before you buy)
  10. Your Own Home (What home ownership is all about)

There is a special form of Money Smart for youth ages 12-20 that contains eight modules.

What the Experts Say: 

This excellent resource provides information and instruction for people at all levels of financial literacy. The free MoneySmart Curriculum is made up of modules that will enhance an adult’s understanding of how our financial system works, how to utilize it to meet their needs, and how to be a good custodian of fiscal responsibilities.

The instruction may be administered face-to-face by submitting a request or on-line.  In the on-line format, the lessons are easy to navigate, clear and concise information, interactive, and fun. The online (CBI) version of “Money Smart” is especially appropriate for multi-level adult basic education classrooms.

Learners need only register (for free) and then complete 8 self-directed lessons.  These lessons range from fairly simplistic to advance and could be taught to all NRS ABE/ASE Levels.  There may be some obstacles for ESL learners with low listening scores since the text and narration are both in English.

“Getting Started”, the initial demonstration module, provides good instructions for the use of the entire site.  All instructions and questions are given in both a text mode and an audio mode.  Either mode can be turned off by the user, or both can be on at the same time. This is a valuable feature for the diversity of learners in an adult basic education classroom.  It is easy to navigate around the website and within the modules. 

Each module has questions within it to assess the learning of the user.  When a question is posed, the learner can ask for a hint from “Penny Cash”, our guide to the modules.  If an answer is incorrect, the learner has another chance to learn and answer correctly.  When a learner masters a module (75%), he/she may print out a certificate of completion.  This can be a motivating action!

A CBI user may start with any topic.  The modules are not sequential, though the topics become more sophisticated. One caution:  some of the links provided in the “Information Booth” are no longer valid.

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