In March, I hosted a guest post from Mike Young about the ongoing battle with lifestyle inflation. Young runs The Secure Student, a program that teaches high school students how to manage their money.

At the time, I thought The Secure Student might be worth sharing during Financial Literacy Month, but I forgot about it until yesterday. This morning I spent some time reviewing the program. According to the website, The Secure Student is designed to help young adults create lasting positive habits with credit and money before they leave home:

Our program features interactive online classes with quizzes and games, an online community, and most importantly, our habit building exercises…These exercises are key to our program and immerse the kids in activities so that they retain the information and build the habits they need to succeed, making sure that kids actually learn the importance of credit and money through application.

The core curriculum seems to be built on the same concepts we discuss here at Get Rich Slowly: good credit habits, conscious spending, and an awareness of advertising and marketing. The program even draws some of its content from Your Money or Your Life, one of my favorite personal finance books.

The site offers several free resources:

The Secure Student program comprises 40 lessons, most of which are six to seven minutes long. The first lesson is available free online, and you can obtain two more lessons by providing your e-mail address. But the complete course costs $297. Is this cost worth it? I’m not sure.

I’m a strong supporter for financial literacy, and I applaud the aims of The Secure Student, but I worry that $297 is a steep barrier to entry, especially for the families that might profit most from the information. (I’m thinking of myself here — my parents could not have afforded $297 for a program like this when I was in high school, and yet I desperately needed it.)

There’s a $200 “graduation package” — which apparently contains gift cards to youth-oriented retailers — once a student completes the course, which seems to imply that the net cost for The Secure Student is only $97. But I’d rather see a $97 course with no graduation package.

Would you spend $297 to enroll your children in a financial literacy course? If not, do you have other plans to help them develop sound money habits? Has anyone in your family used The Secure Student or anything like it?

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