Join our webinar June 7th 1PM

Financial Education as a Digital Marketing Tool

Join our webinar June 7th 1PM

Join our webinar on June 7th 1PM EST to learn about how you can leverage financial education.

Four Reasons Why Financial Institutions Should be Paying Attention to Financial Education

Increasingly, financial institutions are leveraging digital financial education to market products and services to a highly targeted and responsive audience. In fact, a recent EverFi survey found that 89 percent of banks and credit unions are already using financial education as a part of their digital marketing strategy, while 45 percent are planning to increase their budget in this area. If you’re not investing in financial education as a digital marketing tool, here are four reasons why you should be:

  1. Consumers interested in financial education are hot leads
    Consumers who are seeking out financial education are already expressing interest in financial services—meaning they have “self-selected” as hot leads. By offering valuable, reliable information, banks and credit unions are positioning themselves as trusted sources of information, and are perfectly positioned to (very selectively) pitch relevant products and services.
  2. Financial education offers highly segmented audiences
    Offering digital financial education programs tailored to different topics and life stages allows banks and credit unions to segment this audience even further. For instance, a young Millennial learning about student loans might also be interested in an auto loan for their first car, while a mid-career earner researching retirement plans might be interested in learning about other investments.
  3. Going digital means accessing your audience anywhere, anytime
    Providing online financial education programming allows your institution an unprecedented reach—banks and credit unions can access their audience anywhere, anytime—via mobile phones, laptops, tablets, and other devices.
  4. Everyone else is doing it
    We’ve already learned that 89 percent of all financial institutions already provide online financial education. With that in mind, the most compelling argument for investing in this marketing tool might be that if you aren’t offering it, your customers will quickly find someone else who is.

Bottom line? In today’s on-demand digital world, if your marketing plan does not include digital financial education, you’re missing out on the chance to both attract and retain customers. For more information on how to leverage financial education for marketing, join our webinar June 7th at 1PM EST.

Future Goals STEM Scholarship Winners

 

Announcing the winners of the Future Goals STEM Scholarship!

More than 1,000 students across the country submitted entries for our Future Goals STEM Scholarship competition! We were blown away by students’ stories detailing how The Future Goals Program helped them learn important STEM skills and career opportunities. Thank you to all of the students and teachers who participated.

Congratulations to the winners who will each receive a $1,000 529 College Savings Scholarship to help fund their STEM educations:

Mallory S, Oblock Junior High School, PA
Caitlyn Z, Whitt Fine Arts Academy, TX
Natalie M, Garrett Junior High School, NV

Celebrating w!se Personal Finance High School Winners

Working in Support of Education (w!se) released its annual ranking of the 100 Best w!se High Schools Teaching Personal Finance. We are thrilled to recognize more than half of the designees are EverFi partner schools utilizing the EverFi – Financial Literacy for High School resource during the 2016-2017 school year!

In addition, to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the “100 Best” ranking, w!se awarded the Silver Anniversary Cup to the highest performing schools for the past five consecutive years. Four of five winners are EverFi partner schools:

    Aviation High School –  New York City, NY

Holston High School – Damascus, VA

Passaic County Technical Institute – Wayne, NJ

Utah County Academy of Sciences – Orem, UT

Congratulations to all 100 schools, and thank you for your commitment to financial education!

FutureSmart taught me how to achieve my dream life

Today we’re featuring a guest post from student Mateja C who explains how FutureSmart helped her learn tricks for shopping wisely and putting that saved money toward college planning. Congrats to Mateja for being one of our scholarship recipients!

                         Mateja C

Student: Mateja C
Teacher: Andrea Konrath
School: Berlin Middle
State: Wisconsin
Sponsor: MassMutual Foundation

The FutureSmart course taught me how to achieve my dream of being a nautical engineer. I love ships and the ocean, especially when I was really young (I wanted to be a pirate), and would love even more to one day design ships. Now my dream could become a reality. The first step to reaching that dream would be to get a college education. College is expensive, which means you have to find ways to save as soon as possible, along with researching different colleges that have a degree in the field I want.

FutureSmart taught me ways to save money on purchases. Just like the kid remodeling his bedroom in the course, I would have to first find price discounts and coupons. That way I can make sure I am getting the best deals. I also know how to tell how biased the source is, which is an important skill. In addition, FutureSmart taught me to make sure I am getting the quality I am paying for. An example within the course helped me see that if something is especially cheap, chances are it is not worth paying less for, since you may spend more in the long run. Thanks to what I learned at FutureSmart, I can put that money towards college, rather than useless items and unnecessary money spent because of lack of saving knowledge.

Saving for a good education isn’t all that I learned from completing the FutureSmart course, though. I am learning how to speak in Norwegian right now because I want to travel to Norway someday. In the FutureSmart course I learned to create a budget for my trip. Unless, of course, if I was going to live in Norway. Then I would just need to save for a plane ticket. The FutureSmart course educated me on how to plan financially for my trip. Furthermore, FutureSmart taught me ways to save the money: Saving money from my job(s), and, as I earlier stated, not spending unnecessary money.

FutureSmart also taught me how to achieve my dream life. Although I have no elaborate plans for my dream life, what I learned would still help enormously. I know necessities before luxuries. An example for what I learned would be: My first priority while going shopping would be a lamp to better do my homework by and my last priority would be a brand-name sweatshirt. Most kids can’t tell the difference between their needs and wants. The FutureSmart course taught me not to fall into that category of kids. Even though my dream life is simple and doesn’t involve anything overly elaborate, I can teach others what I learned. If someone was to say, “I need to buy a house so I have some sort of shelter,” they’d be completely correct and I would not contradict them. But had they said, “I need to have the absolute largest mansion made completely out of gold and silver,” I would correct them in saying that is a want, not a need. If they had taken the FutureSmart course, though, I would not have to even tell them that, since they’d have learned it already.

Congratulations – Spring Scholarship Contest Winners!

A huge thanks to the 1,100+ students who participated in the 529 College Savings Scholarship competition! We loved learning how EverFi’s financial education courses have had a positive impact on these students’ lives, and we look forward to sharing a few of those thoughtful and inspiring stories in the coming weeks.

Congratulations to the winners who will each receive a $1,000 529 College Savings Scholarship!

Miranda, Oliver Wendell Holmes High School, Texas
Natalie, Larkspur Elementary School, Colorado
Gina, Wallenpaupack Area High School, Pennsylvania
Edgar, Jefferson High School, Illinois
Lauren, Bradley Central High School, Tennessee

FutureSmart Taught Me to Create a Financial Plan for My Future

Today we’re featuring a guest post from student Grace K who shares how FutureSmart helped her see that being prepared with a financial plan will allow her to achieve her ambitious career goals. Congrats to Grace for being one of our scholarship recipients!

Grace K

Student: Grace K
Teacher: Danielle Cunningham
School: Falls Lake Academy
State: North Carolina
Sponsor: MassMutual Foundation

“You said you have a dream…That dream…Make it come true! Make your wonderful dream a reality, and it will become your truth! If anyone can, it’s you!” -Pokémon

My name is Grace, and I am currently a student at Falls Lake Academy. Being a student means that college and real world experience are not far away, so there is a great encouragement to look towards my future in order to be well prepared. The eloquent quote above elucidates the importance of setting goals and believing in where they can take you.

I have many goals, dreams, and aspirations, but I’m going to need tools to propel me towards success in my career, financials, and other important aspects of life. I recently acquired some tools from the online resource FutureSmart. FutureSmart taught me vital skills such as saving money for large expenses, choosing a career that is enjoyable and provides good benefits, and how to invest in your interests to maintain both a healthy financial life and life of personal achievement. 

My biggest dream is to one day win the Nobel Prize in Physics and to find a cure for diabetes and cancer. This is because cancer and diabetes have impacted my family directly and countless others. With such lofty goals, there will be many steps along the way to get there. The only way to have my dream to become a reality is to work hard and focus on getting a spectacular education.

To accomplish this goal, I used the FutureSmart Lesson #4 “Investing in You” to learn how to best prepare for schooling in the future. My dream school is Princeton University for undergraduate education and Harvard University for my doctoral and post-doctoral education. Being out of state, the tuition will be quite high, so saving now is very important. It is also vital to talk to my school counselor to figure out about what scholarships and financial aid will be available.

After college, my goal is to become a physicist for NASA. However, in planning my career as a physicist, I learned that it is important to make sure that my job has good benefits and insurance. Due to my health issues, medical insurance will be especially important.

For housing, my wish is to live in a nice house in an urban area and have both home and auto insurance. Insurance is something I learned about in FutureSmart Lesson #6: Your Financial Future, be prepared! If something unexpected were to happen, being prepared could save money that can be used in the future. My want for having a successful career and not have to worry about money dictates that it is imperative to begin saving now, especially for college and retirement. You cannot plan for everything in life, but it is necessary to be prepared for the things that can be controlled, such as financial management. These vital skills are ones that I learned from FutureSmart.

Learn more about the FutureSmart financial education course: https://everfi.com/k12/future-smart/

Financial Capability

The Evolution of Financial Literacy into Financial Capability

With Financial Literacy Month coming to a close, it’s time to ask an important question: should our industry be striving for more than just “literacy?”

In today’s world, we carry around a wealth of financial knowledge in our pockets. Our smartphones ensure that we’re never more than a few screen taps away from the answers to all of our questions. If you think about, carrying a smartphone is like having a bank or credit union branch in your pocket. Yet we’re still celebrating Financial Literacy Month like nothing has changed—when, in reality, a lot has changed.

Taken at its most basic definition, literacy is the ability to read and write. And while an understanding of financial products and terminology may have been a worthy goal for bank and credit union customers in the past, the bar needs to be raised for a world of technology and complex financial decision-making.

Tune in to our webinar on April 25th, 1-2pm ET to hear more on why your bank or credit union should focus on financial capability this Fin Lit Month.

Tune in to our webinar on April 25th, 1-2pm ET to hear more on why your financial institution should focus on financial capability this Fin Lit Month.

A Brief History of Financial Literacy

The first acknowledgement of a need for financial literacy might be this letter from John Adams to Thomas Jefferson in 1787 (since we at EverFi are in Washington DC, we love this kind of historical reference). However, the term itself wouldn’t start to gain popularity until after the 1914 passage of the Smith-Lever Act, which focused on providing citizens with necessary learning experiences, including financial education.

For the majority of the 20th century, financial literacy continued to be a relevant term. But most financial educational tools were text-based, so absorbing this knowledge involved a lot of reading and writing. As it did for many industries, technology soon changed everything.

Smartphones Change Everything

On January 9, 2007, the very first iPhone was announced, and everything changed. Now, people can get the knowledge they need quickly and easily; anything you want to know can be found in seconds. And with more information available, people are able to do more research before making important decisions.

Beyond access to knowledge, smartphones also give people the ability to take action from the palm of their hand. They can read Amazon reviews to research a product, then purchase it with a single click. They can download their bank’s app and have access to financial education, then put that education to use right away by making changes to their accounts. These interactions go well beyond simply becoming literate; instead, smartphones allow users to achieve proficiency and take immediate action.  

Moving Beyond Financial Literacy to Financial Capability

Consider a customer who is aware of both bank services and check-cashing services—the latter of which can be predatory, tacking on huge service fees. The customer already has the financial literacy to know that each option exists. But to achieve true financial capability, this hypothetical customer needs the confidence and strategic attitude to make the connection that a banking product would be a better choice for their long-term financial health.  

That’s why we think it’s time to replace financial literacy with a more impactful term: financial capability. Financial capability is the set of knowledge, attitudes, habits, and confidence in one’s ability to control one’s finances that a consumer needs to build his or her financial wellbeing. In other words, it’s not just a matter of being literate about your financial options—it’s having the capability to use that literacy to make good decisions.

In order to change the conversation surrounding financial education standards, we need to change the industry expectations. So, in April 2018, let’s not celebrate Financial Literacy Month anymore. Instead, let’s raise the bar.  Let’s plan a big, impactful, and action-oriented month.  Let’s have Financial Capability Month.

P.S. – Download our mini guide, Developing Financial Capability Across Every Stage of Life: Why Financial Education Should Start Early, to learn how your financial institution can improve its financial education initiatives.

Financial Marketing and Millennials: By the Numbers

For financial institutions seeking to attract the millennial demographic, using technology is the key—especially technology that is optimized for mobile devices. Not convinced? Here are some mind-blowing statistics around millennials and mobile that you should know to influence your financial marketing strategy:

Financial marketers looking to engage millennials must leverage mobile technology as part of their financial marketing strategy.

Financial marketers focused on engaging millennials must leverage mobile technology as part of their financial marketing strategy.

  • Millennials (people between the ages of 18 and 34) have the highest rate of mobile usage of any other demographic.
  • A whopping 97% of millennials have used a mobile device to access online content. For 1/5 of millennials, mobile devices are the only way they access the Web.[1]
  • The average adult checks their phone 30 times a day. That sounds like a lot. But the average millennial checks their phone more than 150 times a day![2]
  • Does your website work well on all devices? Because 40% of people will abandon their first choice of a search result if it isn’t mobile friendly.[3]
  • Are your emails optimized for mobile, as well? We hope so, because 91% of people checking email on their phones will ignore marketing emails if they are not optimized or linking to pages that are mobile-friendly.[4]
  • When it comes to financial education, we here at EverFi found that 36% of our adult users used their phones to access our financial education content—in 2017 alone.
  • Does your bank or credit union offer financial education? Because millennials are 24% more likely than Baby Boomers to value financial education from their bank as an important feature.[5]

Taken together, these statistic make it clearer than ever: banks and credit unions that want to attract millennials should be focusing on providing a great mobile experience for this demographic.

For more information on how to connect with this “mobile generation,” download our new white paper, The Financial Marketer’s Guide to Acquiring Millennial Consumers Through Mobile.

 

[1] 2016 U.S. Cross-Platform Future in Focus. (n.d.). Retrieved December 16, 2016, from http://www.comscore.com/ Insights/Presentations-and-Whitepapers/2016/2016-US-Cross-Platform-Future-in-Focus

[2] SMW Staff (2016). Millennials Check Their Phones More Than 157 Times Per Day | Social Media Week. Retrieved February 23, 2017, from https://socialmediaweek.org/newyork/2016/05/31/millennials-check-phones-157-timesper-day

[3] De, D. (n.d.). Financial services in a mobile-fi rst world. Retrieved December 16, 2016, from http://forum2016.com/ wp-content/uploads/presentations/Financial_Services_In_a_Mobile_First_World.pdf

[4] Van Rije, J. (n.d.). The ultimate mobile email statistics overview. Retrieved December 16, 2016, from http://www. emailmonday.com/mobile-email-usage-statistics

[5] Study: Millennials Value Financial Education, Guidance and Mobile Account Access from Their Financial Services Providers. (2016). Retrieved December 16, 2016, from http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/study-millennials-value-fi nancial-education-guidance-and-mobile-account-access-from-their-fi nancial-services-providers-300346661.html

Vault Taught Me How to Save and Spend Wisely

Today we’re featuring a guest post from student Shannon W who shares how the skills and knowledge she gained from Vault – Understanding Money™  will help her reach her financial goals of owning a house and supporting a family. Congrats to Shannon for being one of our scholarship recipients!

Student: Shannon W
Teacher: Kelly Barger
School: New Market Middle School
State: Maryland
Sponsor: MassMutual Foundation

It’s 5:00 P.M., and two kids come running toward their mother, a boy and a girl. They envelope her in hugs as she brings in the mail. There are bills to pay and catalogs for the kids. The father comes in, noticing the huge stack of bills piled up on the table. “I bet you’re glad we didn’t get that extra-large TV for the kids,” he says. The mother nods, realizing how her choice to save that money was a benefit to her financial stability. They had just bought a new house, one with a big backyard for the kids to play in, with a large, open kitchen for the mother to do her cooking in. The two kids were growing up fast, and the mother knew that this house, along with their new minivan, would be perfect to grow into. It had taken a long time, months maybe, to find the perfect house that fit their budget and their family. The mother was glad that she had paid attention in class all these years and knew how to make successful financial choices.

This is not just a story, this is how I see my future. I dream of having a happy life, being married, and having children. I know that these dreams can come true if I make good social and financial choices in the years to come. Completing the Vault – Understanding Money program in EverFi has been an essential step in my path to achieving my dream of owning a house and supporting a family.

Something that parents need to prioritize when involving money is the concept of wants and needs. In Vault, I learned that it is okay to spend money on things that you want every once in awhile, but it is essential to prioritize what you need to do with your money first. Needs include food, clothing, and shelter. Vault has greatly helped me understand the difference between these two financial factors.

Buying a house is a major step that causes difficulty for most young parents. I have the knowledge to help avoid these difficulties because of Vault. Vault taught me that you need to have good credit in order to get a loan on a house. I know that in order to buy a house, I will have to prove that I am a responsible borrower and can always pay for items on time.

In order to have enough money for a house, I will need to know how to stick to a budget. Vault showed me that a budget needs to list different needed expenses and how much money will be used on each expense. This organizational structure helps prevent overspending and will help me be more responsible with how I use my money. This is important to my future because if I am not careful with my money, I will not have enough money to buy the items that my family will need, such as a house, a car, healthy food, and clothing. Learning how to be financially literate on Vault has prepared me to use my money wisely to support my future.

 

Learn more about the Vault financial education program: https://everfi.com/k12/vault-understanding-money/

Interview with Harriet Sanford, President & CEO of the NEA Foundation

We recently sat down with Harriet Sanford to hear about her impressive 40-year career in education, and her current work supporting public teachers and students through the NEA Foundation. The interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Harriet Sanford

Why did you go into education? 

I began my career – 40 years ago (sigh!) — as a public school teacher at Arbor Hill Elementary School, in Albany, NY, just blocks away from where I spent the first seven years of my life. Although I did not remain in the classroom for many years, my commitment to improving lives and underserved communities for the better never faltered. It has been a privilege to work in education philanthropy for the last 12 years, but make no mistake, it is educators who go to work in the trenches every day, not funders.

Neither my mother nor father completed their educations. Nonetheless, they were adamant that their children take advantage of all of the opportunities that a public education offers — both in and out of school time. They fully expected their children to pursue higher education and ensured that we could immerse ourselves in our studies, service, sports, and more. With many communities, schools and families just like mine facing insufficient resources, my work and the Foundation’s work is to do all that we can to ensure that every student has access to a high-quality education and finds his or her own joy in learning.

What is the NEA Foundation and what support does it give teachers?
The NEA Foundation is an independent, 501(C)3 public charity, created, in 1969 by educators for educators, to improve public education for all students. Highlights of support for teachers include:

  • Our Grants to Educators, distributed three times each year, fund educators’ creative and innovative classroom projects designed to prepare students for college, work, and life. Last year, our grants empowered more than 6,000 educators, reaching more than 186,000 students.
  • Our annual Awards for Teaching Excellence honor the challenging but crucial work that public school educators do every day. We reward outstanding educators who are shining examples of the millions of people who work tirelessly in America’s public schools, in service of students, but seldom hear how much we appreciate them.
  • Our Global Learning Fellowship, takes a group of educators abroad, such as on recent trip along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and other significant historical and cultural sites in Peru, as part of a year-long, cohort-based, professional development program. Participating educators return from their travels with fresh knowledge, skills and perspective needed to teach in the global age, and better equipped to deliver globally focused curriculum in their home schools and communities. Fellows also contribute to a growing, freely accessible, online collection of 195 lesson plans, accessed by peer teachers around the country more than 4,000 times.
  • We regularly produce issue briefs sharing the Foundation’s and our partners’ lessons learned on a wide range of topics and disseminating actionable information that helps educators overcome challenges to teaching and learning.

How do EverFi & the NEA Foundation work together?

The NEA Foundation and EverFi work together to increase educator and student access to technology and digital learning tools. We collectively strive to support critical skill areas that will enhance students’ ultimate academic and life success.

The partnerships currently supports NEA school districts across the country, providing free access to EverFi’s digital resources and accompanying professional development. Districts that have participated include Springfield, MA; Lee County, FL; and Prince George’s County, MD. Our partnership is leading us to work on more programming in STEM and to develop initiatives in social and emotional learning.

What encouragement would you give teachers who are working to integrate critical skills education into their classrooms?

My key piece of advice to educators, no matter what or whom they teach, is almost always the same: It takes “fierce” to battle your own self-doubt when you are the only one who seems to know that “good enough” is just not good enough for your students. Excellence is what you are after, and you are not going to let anything or anyone stand between your students and excellence. Bring “fierce” to the table every time. Be gentle, kind and caring with your students, but be fierce about their education.

 

Thanks to Harriet for giving us a glimpse into the important work she and the Foundation are doing to support public school education! If you’re interested in learning more about EverFi or our work with the NEA Foundation, reach out to Steve Sandak at steve@everfi.com.