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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.

Financial Elder Abuse

Keeping Baby Boomers Financially Secure

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 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

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, Mammoth Heights Elementary, 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 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

4 Solutions to Reach Underbanked Communities

4 Solutions to Reach Underbanked Communities

For banks and financial institutions, engaging underbanked communities is key to spreading financial education and maintaining compliance under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Fortunately, by leveraging technology and embracing the needs of students and young adults, reaching underbanked communities has never been more possible.

Download Guide: 4 Solutions to Reach Underbanked Communities

Download our free guidebook, Technology is the New Branch: 4 Solutions to Reach Underbanked Communities, and learn about the trends, statistics, and strategies that will help you better meet the financial needs of your community.

Here are four solutions for using financial education to connect with the underbanked:

  1. Go mobile. Mobile usage has skyrocketed over the last several years, but enacting a comprehensive mobile strategy for financial education is especially important for reaching people with low-to-moderate incomes. Since smartphones are less expensive than computers and can perform most of the same functions, many use them as their main source of technology.
  2. Scale with digital. To reach more people in a way that is both scalable and cost effective, embrace digital learning. By providing financial education programs online or through an app, more people can have access to the information they need.
  3. Break down language barriers. A 2014 study by the National Council of La Raza found that 33 percent of Spanish speakers selected their bank with language accessibility in mind. Offering financial education solutions in multiple languages helps eliminate these barriers.
  4. Think beyond credit scores. According to FICO, 53 million people—the majority of whom are millennials or low-to-moderate income households—don’t have a credit score, making this standard that banks and credit unions use to evaluate consumers problematic. Instead, certificates and test scores for financial education courses could be used to determine credit risks for underbanked populations.

Employing strategies to reach underbanked communities means the next generation will be more informed and confident about their financial decision-making—and these four solutions are a great place to start. Learn more about how your financial institution can better reach underbanked communities.

To learn more about EverFi, visit us at EverFi.com/FinancialEd.

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.