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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this letter from John Adams to Thomas Jefferson in 1787 (since we at EverFi are in Washington DC, we love this kind of historical reference).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/

Vault Helped Me Learn about Needs vs. Wants

Today we’re featuring a guest post from Chicago student Khloe W who shares how the skills and knowledge she gained from Vault – Understanding Money™  will help her reach her goal of graduating from college and earning her doctorate. Congrats to Khloe for being one of our scholarship recipients!

Khloe W

Student: Khloe W
Teacher: Linsey Rose
School: STEM Magnet Academy
State: Illinois
Sponsor: MassMutual Foundation

Imagine standing on a tall podium, thanking your family for supporting you from undergraduate to doctorate! That is how I want to be. There are many things that this EverFi Vault has taught me that will help me accomplish [my goals]. One big accomplishment that I want to do when I grow up is go to college, and be very successful. College is very important to me because I love getting an education and learning new things. Seeing my brothers and sisters go through college, I know it can be stressful thinking about failing many times. I also know that college costs a lot. EverFi Vault has prepared me to become a successful and responsible college student through the modules.

One important thing that Vault has taught me is about the different institutions that take care of money like brokerage firms, banks and credit unions. This is important to know when I go to college because I will need a bank account, since I will be away from my parents and have my own responsibilities. Also, I will need to know about these different parts because I will need to open up savings accounts for emergencies and pay bills to help my parents with the college funds.

Knowing that college is a lot of money, Vault has also taught me to be responsible and careful with the people I share my financial information with. EverFi says that financial information is very imperative and a key to success to life. If others can get access to it, things can do bad. For example, people can hack into your account and take your name, and spend your money, and that is not good. So, we have to be mindful about the information we share to others about our financial purposes. This is important to me and my dream to go to college because the world is cruel, and people can take advantage, be manipulative, and this can be food for thought as I continue to try to accomplish my dream.

One last thing that is very important and can affect my dream is how I spend and save my money. In college, I’ve heard many stories about the students being “broke”, and having no money to live off of, or not enough to buy necessities. I do not want this to happen to me and the way I can do that is to manage my money correctly. I will make a budget and make sure to document/establish my needs and wants. This is important because some people will focus on what they want to buy to fit in and do not focus on what they need to survive or succeed. Also, I can do this by getting a debit card. EverFi Vault has taught me the difference between the two [debit cards and credit cards] and for this situation a debit card is the best decision. Knowing that I can track my balance, see transactions and transfer/send money, this can help me better manage my money and what I spend rather than using cash.

In conclusion, this is how EverFi is helping me to with accomplish my dream to go to college. Vault is a very fun and interactive game that helped me better understand real problems in the real world.

Announcing the Scholarship Contest Winners!

The Winter Scholarship Contest ended last week with a record number of student submissions. From earning their doctorates to being nautical engineers, your students shared big dreams. We loved hearing about what they’ve learned through Vault and FutureSmart, and how financial education will make a difference in their lives. Each of our five student winners earned a $1000 college savings scholarship to help make their dreams a reality. Their stories will be featured on the EverFi Blog over the coming weeks. Congratulations winners!

Khloe W, STEM Magnet Academy, Illinois

Shannon W, New Market Middle School, Maryland

Grace K, Falls Lake Academy, North Carolina

Diandra P, Giltner High School, Nebraska

Mateja C, Berlin Middle School, Wisconsin

Want to submit more stories? The Spring Scholarship Competition is now open! We will be awarding another five $1,000 college savings scholarships to students in the U.S. who complete Vault, FutureSmart, or EverFi Financial Literacy, and who provide a short reflection by April 28th. This is a great capstone project for students and allows them to reflect on what they’ve learned. Click here to learn more.

Tabitha Herrin

TEACHER SPOTLIGHT: Tabitha Herrin

We recently sat down with Tabitha Herrin, a teacher at Stewarts Creek Middle School in Smyrna, TN, to hear how she uses EverFi’s resources in her classroom. This is part of our Teacher Spotlight series.

Tabitha Herrin

Tabitha Herrin

What impact have EverFi’s courses had on your students?

A parent told me that a student who used EverFi Financial Literacy in my class helped his older brother with his FAFSA form! I love hearing stuff like that.

I’ve also seen the impact of Healthy Relationships and Ignition – both hone in on all of the issues of this middle school age. Students connect with the courses on a personal level and really enjoy them.

What do you like best about the programs?

They fit around my curriculum so well. Also, they are very up to date. The kids don’t think it looks like something from the 80s or 90s – it’s very engaging for them.

What is your approach to implementation?

I use a half and half method – 10 students will get on the computers and the rest of the class will go through our written curriculum. We alternate back and forth each day.

What best practices would you share with other teachers?

  • I have new students every 9 weeks, so I created a PPT that has the login info on it. I also print off a paper version of the instructions that I put at their desks. The login process happens during one class period. Because of the half and half method, students may only get on the computers twice a week, but all will cycle through. They are welcome to work on it outside the classroom as well. Their EverFi grade is their main grade. Their username & password is their login information. That way, they can remember it year after year and just add their course code for each year.
  • I planned an engagement activity for Venture (the entrepreneurship course where students create their own food truck business). I reached out to several food trucks in the area and invited them to come to the school. It was a great way to support the local food trucks and provide an additional incentive to students who completed their business plan.
  • Another activity I created is “The World’s Largest Party with Ignition.” Once students finish Ignition, they apply what they’ve learned about how to use technology by planning a party for a country of their choosing – they love it! They have to research basic facts about the country. The population of the country is the attendance; the theme of the party is the native dress; famous landmarks are the venue. Students create a PPT and do a presentation at the very end. We also bring in the food aspect, and students have to make at least one recipe for the class. It takes about 2 class periods to do. It brings in a lot of excitement, and combines many aspects of what they’ve learned in Ignition including technology and research, and it helps them learn more about different cultures and practice their presentation skills.

Do you have any advice for other teachers considering using EverFi?

Don’t be overwhelmed by all of the resources! Try it out with one class/program, or do one program for all of your grade levels until you can get familiar with it and get your lesson plans done. Once you’ve done it all the first time, EverFi makes life so much easier!! Eventually, you can get to have a course per grade level.

Anything else you’d like to share about the program?

The customer support is amazing! If I have an issue or am having problems, I send an email and my Schools Manager connects me to the tech team and they help immediately. By the end of the class period I get a response back. Having that support is great! They even partnered up with my tech specialist at the school and we figured out how to fix a problem I was having. The support is probably one of my favorite aspects.

Tabitha, thank you for your commitment to equipping students with critical life skills!

Tabitha uses Vault for 6th grade, Healthy Relationships and Ignition in 7th grade, and Venture and FutureSmart in 8th grade.

How Your Bank Can Improve Family Financial Wellness

Recent research from EverFi has revealed significant gaps in family financial capability in the United States, with only 43 percent of all parents reporting that they feel prepared to talk about finances with their children. Fortunately, as trusted sources of financial information, banks and credit unions are perfectly positioned to help families fill these financial literacy gaps. Here are five ways your bank can make a difference.

Only 43 percent of parents feel prepared to talk about finances with their kids. Learn 5 ways financial institutions can foster family financial wellness.

Only 43 percent of parents feel prepared to talk about finances with their kids. Learn 5 ways financial institutions can foster family financial wellness.

Provide resources for financial education

Ideally, the financial education you provide should cover three audiences: children, adults, and parents talking to children. Make sure these resources are available as an unbiased set of resources and resist the urge to sell to your customers.

Make these resources readily available

In addition to offering financial education to your loyal customers, your bank should also make your resources readily available and searchable on your website for new prospects.

Educate employees

Your employees are on the front lines of meeting with customers, so making their personal financial education an on-going process ensures your customers are getting the best engagement and information possible.

Embrace banking for kids

Along with offering financial education for kids, your bank can also promote entry-level accounts for young people interested in learning financial capability on a small scale. This allows kids to practice working with financial institutions and learning about money—early on.

Support financial education in schools

School-based financial education can make a big difference in improving financial capability. By supporting and promoting these programs, your financial institution can increase accessibility to education for underbanked communities—and also help to fulfill your CRA requirement.

 

For more information on EverFi’s research into family financial wellness, and how financial institutions can get involved, download our free white paper, 5 Strategies Every Bank Can Use to Improve Family Financial Capability, here.

The Future of Community Reinvestment Act Compliance

The Future of Community Reinvestment Act Compliance

Since Congress signed the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) in 1977, financial institutions have had a legal obligation to provide banking access and education to communities—particularly underbanked communities—within their geographic footprint. That obligation has not changed over the years, but the communities, as well and the ways in which financial institutions meet their needs, has. This relationship will continue evolve alongside technology. Here’s what the CRA future has in store.

Download Our Guide the Evolving Bank Branch: A Look at Tomorrow’s Community, Technology, and CRA

Download Our Guide the Evolving Bank Branch: A Look at Tomorrow’s Community, Technology, and CRA

 

Streamlined evaluation process

Technology has offered companies unprecedented access to data—and that data is becoming easier to gather, sort, and transmit. This will allow for a much simpler evaluation process and, potentially, an automated data collection system that would make the reporting and compliance process easier and more transparent for both FIs and regulators.

Increased access to financial education

Financial education is crucial to successfully engaging with underbanked communities and helping young people become financially capable; for FIs, providing that education is becoming easier and more accessible as technology improves. Not only does greater education accessibility help FIs maintain CRA compliance, but as financial education service platforms become more personalized and customized, more data can be collected about individual learners. This will help FIs measure both the effectiveness of their programs and the financial wellness of their communities.

Greater focus on the the individual

Thanks to this increased ease of data collection, expect the requirements of the Community Reinvestment Act to become significantly more individualized in scope. With so much information about the individual available, it’s likely that financial capability will be determined by more than just a credit score. Instead, FIs can determine loan risks on a more individualized basis, allowing for a greater number of underbanked populations to qualify for services.

Data-driven processes and predictive analytics are already changing the playing field. In the future, expect these two factors to play an increased role in not only how CRA regulators evaluate compliance, but how FIs engage with the communities they serve as well.

To learn more about how FIs can meet and exceed Community Reinvestment Act requirements through technology and financial education, visit EverFi.com/FinancialEd.

Why Financial Institutions Should Care About Consumers’ Financial Literacy

In a world where banking relationships are becoming increasingly virtual, financial institutions are struggling to find new ways to connect with customers  and529plan 2 prevent the exodus of a new generation of tech-savvy consumers that’s growing in economic impact. While digital tools like mobile check deposit offer efficiency and convenience, they’ve also made banking relationships pretty transactional. The result? Customer loyalty is at an all-time low. In fact, more than 70% of millennial consumers say that they would likely bank with a revered tech brand like Apple, Google, or Amazon if they offered financial services.

Amidst rapidly changing consumer preferences, financial institutions are increasingly focused on finding new and better ways to grow customer relationships in the digital age. Forward-thinking institutions are shifting dollars away from traditional advertising toward a more transparent, education-based approach that resonates with today’s consumer. Digital education creates new touch points to strengthen relationships and educates consumers on financial services offerings, while also building credibility, trust, and loyalty.

A recent survey conducted by FICO found a correlation between higher financial literacy and better customer engagement, more use of financial services, and decreased likelihood to switch financial institutions. “Educating consumers, especially Millennials, about their financial rights makes good business sense,” said Anthony Sprauve, senior consumer credit specialist of FICO. “Basic financial literacy equips consumers with the knowledge and confidence they need to make responsible financial decisions at all stages of their lives.”

Leading companies are making financial education a core part of their business  providing prospects and customers with an open, transparent way to build their financial knowledge at every stage of life, whether it’s educating a first-time home buyer, helping customers grow their portfolio, or providing information on retirement resources. Consumers that engage with a company through education are actually 5 times more likely to make a purchase than those reached by direct marketing. Providing dedicated and relevant educational content is a powerful way to secure customer loyalty, sell new products, and meaningfully connect with a new generation of customers.

Learn how EverFi is helping financial institutions build customized consumer education programs