Learning Through EVERFI Has Settled Some of My Financial Worries

Today we’re featuring a guest post from student Miranda who shares her experience with EverFi – Financial Literacy and how she believes the program has helped her better prepare for life after high school. Congrats to Miranda for being one of our scholarship recipients!

Student: Miranda
Teacher: Mr. Keller
School: Oliver Wendell Holmes High School
State: Texas
Sponsor: MassMutual Foundation

There is no such thing as being 100 percent prepared for anything in life. In school we are taught how to write better, solve math problems quicker, and memorize scientific and historical facts longer, but we are never directly taught how to do important fundamentals of life. Often times I have heard stories from my friends who wish they would have known this or didn’t find out until it was too late, and it has made me wonder why aren’t students informed sooner? I believe the reason people are unsuccessful in their finances is not because they failed to prepare themselves for future circumstances, but rather they simply were not given the tools to know for themselves. EVERFI is the tool that can and does help numerous students transition securely into their new financial circumstances. The three topics I believe will help me directly after high school are higher education, credit scores, and investing. By understanding these three topics better, I feel more prepared and assured in myself to increase my financial stability for the future.

Learning about higher education, credit scores, and investing through EVERFI has settled some of my financial worries by exposing me to various paths and helping me to choose the best ones for me. The higher education portion of the module has made me feel better prepared on how to pay for college. Understanding how my FAFSA provides a personalized limit on money I can use toward college, how filing for subsidized loans is a better choice, and how to get more grant and scholarship opportunities has benefited me in organizing a suitable way to pay for college. This section taught me how to handle my payments and debts for college in a way so that once I graduate, I will not feel overwhelmed or stressed like many other graduates often do.

Before using the module I didn’t know the advantages and disadvantages of having a credit card nor how it could effect my credit scores. I will now be encouraged to pay my future credit bills on time so that credit lenders will know I am dependable; furthermore, making me eligible to receive loans in the future. The investment section taught me how it’s better to prepare for situations that are years ahead rather than months away. I’ve learned that bonds are loans to business and are safer choices than stocks where the profit I earn fluctuates along with success of that particular business. I now know undoubtedly by saving more today I can enjoy the benefits tomorrow .

I appreciate this module for teaching myself, alongside many other users, how to not be afraid of our future responsibilities. I believe that the reason so many people stress over their finances is because they don’t know what to expect. This module may not take care of all of the financial burdens people face, but it does help to educate and prepare them for when situations arise.

Keeping Baby Boomers Financially Secure

Financial Elder Abuse

How and why financial institutions can help

As the baby boomer population quickly becomes the largest senior demographic in American history, there is a growing concern about keeping their hard-earned investments safe. According to a recent report, the U.S. senior community loses an astonishing $53 billion annually to both fraudulent and deceptive practices.[1] This type of preying on the elderly is known as “elder financial abuse,” and financial institutions are in the perfect position to help. First, let’s look at the three types of financial elder abuse:

  • Financial Exploitation
    This type of exploitation is legal but highly unethical, and consists of deceiving or convincing seniors to make poor financial decisions or give their money away.
  • Criminal Fraud
    This type of activity is clearly illegal, and includes identity theft and mail fraud.
  • Caregiver Abuse
    This refers to financial theft or deception by someone trusted—whether it be a family member, healthcare worker, or even a financial manager.

How banks and credit unions can help

As institutions that have built long-term relationships with seniors and their children, banks and credit unions are perfectly positioned to help stem the tide of financial elder abuse. But how to do so? Financial education is a big part of the solution. Both elders and their caregivers feel confident that the information they receive from their bank or credit union is both honest and understandable—but getting the information to them can be a challenge.

In the digital age, where some seniors may be housebound but accustomed to surfing the Web, while others might feel more comfortable visiting their local branch, financial education must be a two-pronged approach. The first prong includes providing digital programming that can be accessed by boomers and their children—anywhere, anytime. The second prong focuses on the branch level, and includes training employees and providing relevant print materials. As the baby boomers age, the problem of financial elder abuse is not going to go away.

[1] Study: The True Link Report on Elder Financial Abuse 2015 Executive Summary. (January, 2015). Retrieved January 20, 2017, from https://www.truelinkfinancial.com/news/true-link-releases-latest-elder-financial-abuse-findings-losses-discovered-to-be-much-worse-than-originally-thought

Financial Education Program Online

4 Elements of an Effective Financial Education Program

Young Adult at Computer

Recent studies have shown that young people are growing up without adequate financial education, and banks, credit unions, and employers have been stepping in to fill this gap. But as a corporation or financial institution, how can you be sure that the financial education program you choose is an effective one? Fortunately, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has laid out guidelines for what makes an effective financial education program.[1] Here’s what to look for:

  1. Content
    How strong is the content of the program, and what topics does the program cover? Ideally, a financial education program should cover a wide range of topics, including spending, saving, investing, credit, and money management. Also look for programs that speak to different life stages and employ age-appropriate methods and technologies.
  2. Utility
    Is the program easy to use—for both students and administrators? Is it available in other languages? Look for programs that can be accessed by multiple demographics and age groups, and on a range of devices, including computers, phones, and tablets.
  3. Quality
    Explore the quality of the program. How deep is the subject matter? Where are the facts coming from? And is it based on the most recent research in the field?
  4. Efficacy
    Perhaps most importantly, how do you know that the program is effective? A reputable financial education program should be able to demonstrate that students’ knowledge increases after taking the course. Look for programs that not only measure and document student progress, but also can show success after doing so in the past.

There are many financial education programs available in the marketplace, but not all of them are created equal. When you’re evaluating a new program, these four critical elements will ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth.

[1] Report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Youth Financial Education Curriculum Review. (October 2015). Retrieved January 27, 2017, from http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201509_cfpb_youth-financialeducation-curriculum-review.pdf

Financial Education in Elementary School

Financial Education for Younger Kids

As financial institutions and employers watch the twenty-something generation struggle with money matters, there has been much talk about the importance of financial education for young people. But how young should you start?

A recent report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) offers compelling reasons for starting financial literacy education for children as early as elementary school.[1] According to the report, childhood financial attitudes, habits, and norms begin to develop between ages 6-12. Teaching children heathy money habits at this age can have lasting effects, setting them up for a lifetime of financial success. In specific, CFPB recommends focusing on two primary areas in elementary school:

  1. Financial Habits and Norms
    We already know that children learn social and cultural behaviors at a young age, by observing the behaviors and attitudes of the people around them. According to the CFPB, financial behavior is no different. The report argues that “the values, standards, routine practices, and rules of thumb used to routinely navigate our day-to-day financial lives” can—and should—also be taught to young children. In practical terms, this means that children who are exposed to healthy financial habits at a young age tend to grow up to be adults who also have healthy financial habits.
  2. Financial Knowledge and Decision-Making Skills
    Beyond socialization, kids also have the ability to start learning concrete financial skills at a young age. The CFPB notes that “skillful money management, financial planning, goal setting, and financial research” are among the hands-on skills that must be taught in order for children to have a healthy financial foundation. For example, teaching elementary-aged kids about saving money, managing a basic budget, comparison shopping, and setting money goals are skills that will last a lifetime, and will give them the financial confidence and knowledge needed to grasp more complex financial topics at a later age.

The financial world that our children will inherit is an increasingly complex one. In an age of online shopping, digital payments, global trading, and sometimes deceptive lending, we need to set up our children for success—and this means teaching them solid financial habits and skills at a young age. To learn more about family financial capability and examine how it can help inform your consumer financial education solutions download our guide.

 

[1]Study from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Building blocks to help youth achieve financial capability. (September 2016). Retrieved January 27, 2017, from https://s3.amazonaws.com/files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/092016_cfpb_BuildingBlocksReport_ModelAndRecommendations_web.pdf

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.

The Importance of Education Technology in the Workplace

Despite Progress, Compliance Problems Still Exist

Most companies are making progress with compliance — they have codes of conduct, are working to improve their cultures, and are hiring staff including compliance, diversity, privacy and ethics officers. These companies should be credited for laying down necessary, ethical infrastructures.

Yet, despite these efforts, terrible things happen in the workplace. Fraud and conflicts of interest continue to plague organizations and governments.  Sexual harassment continues to be a problem, devastating its victims and demoralizing the workplace, according to a recent report by the EEOC. Discrimination, diversity, hiring bias:  these are not just buzzwords, but real problems that exist across the globe.

We believe that almost all organizations care about their employees’ well-being, but sometimes the link between attitude and action gets lost in the shuffle. The potential is there, it just needs to be unlocked. Education technology can help unlock that potential.

Using Technology to Educate, Not Regulate, Humans

Technology for Managing Ethics and Compliance

Employers now have access to powerful technological tools to help manage their ethics and compliance programs. A 2017 report by KPMG finds technology, like automation and data analytics, to be “necessary investments” for compliance to conduct risk assessments, monitor, and report data points. Fast Company highlights many companies throughout the US that are using artificial intelligence to “spot nuanced biases in workplace language and behavior” to improve human behavior that favors certain groups of people over others. Technology has no boundaries, and it’s easy to rely on it to help solve real workplace issues.

We cannot forget, however, that people are, and must continue to be, the focus of technology. We are not going so far as saying that technology is going to overtake the human race but we do believe that companies should think deeply about who they are ultimately serving with technology and not just use technology for technology’s sake.

Education in the Corporate Workplace

Education has been called the “social continuity of life” and an overall social good. Education also happens in the workplace through skill-building programs, mentorships, and of course, training. We can’t forget, however, that humans are at the center of it. Employees are both the perpetrators and victims of harassment.  Employees make decisions.  Employees are responsible for driving diversity and inclusion, refusing bribes and reporting violations. We can monitor, track and report all we want. If employees do not have the necessary knowledge to do what’s right, a concept that reaches well beyond the corporate cloister, we place our companies at greater risk of harm.

Not all education is equal. Research shows that merely understanding a code of conduct does little to change unethical or illegal behavior. Words on a page do not translate into action. Instead, focus should be on how and what an employee can learn. For example, knowing that bribery is illegal and to “stop it” is much less valuable than a case study prompting an employee to watch out for red flags in everyday actions, then reinforcing that learning with post-training assessments and additional training. True learning leads to impact, because it develops real world skills that help stamp out social ills like corruption, cultural tone deafness, and discrimination. In this way, it can be said that workplace education, or training, fulfills a greater social good.

When implemented thoughtfully, workplace education is a way to help organizations, each other, and society. And when combined with technology and a focus on our roles as humans, it can scale to reach people regardless of the borders we constrain ourselves with.

The Solution: Education Technology

National problems need a national solution. Education is necessary, but by no means a silver bullet. And while some companies may balk at being responsible for social problems in addition to shareholder value, that attitude is dying fast.

It is estimated that Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025. They, unlike any other generation before, support private business but also expect companies to represent something bigger, and truer, than just corporate profits, according to a 2017 Deloitte survey. Millennials want to work for and consume from ethical and diverse companies. Incorporating these concepts into a company’s everyday business strategy and operations can help them achieve long-term sustainability. Combining technology with education about intractable issues like discrimination and abuses of power can help build a sustainable company, if not society.

Conclusion

It’s about time that private and public organizations come together. That is why EVERFI is bringing together regulators, prevention experts, educators, legal/compliance professionals and scientists to tackle some of the most intractable social issues through education technology. The acquisition of online compliance training leader Workplace Answers makes us “the world’s largest company committed to empowering learners at every stage of their lives, from the classroom to the boardroom.” Make no mistake, we are a for-profit company. But we believe we can do both. And we believe that every other company can too.

EVERFI delivers online training to help your business meet compliance requirements both dynamically and scalably.

Note: This post was previously published by Corporate Compliance Insights.

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, Mammoth Heights Elementary, Colorado
Gina, Wallenpaupack Area High School, Pennsylvania
Edgar, Jefferson High School, Illinois
Lauren, Bradley Central High School, Tennessee