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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.

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

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