I Started a College Savings Account because of Vault

Today we’re featuring a guest post from Nebraska student Diandra P who shares how Vault – Understanding Money™ helped her develop the skills and confidence needed to make smart financial decisions. Congrats to Diandra for being one of our scholarship recipients!

Diandra P

Student: Diandra P
Teacher: Jackie Hinrichs
School: Giltner High School
State: Nebraska
Sponsor: Nebraska Educational Savings Plan Trust (NEST)

Many people have dreams for the future. Some kids want to grow up to be doctors, while others want to be firefighters. Personally, I want to go to college in a big city and eventually work as an editor for a popular newspaper or magazine.

But how many of us actually know how to reach our goals? It can be pretty confusing trying to navigate the adult world of money and life-changing decisions. Luckily, there’s a program out there to help us achieve our goals. It’s called Vault – Understanding Money. Through Vault, I learned about making responsible money choices, as well as about income and taxes.

Vault taught me a lot when it comes to making smart financial decisions. I now understand the importance of saving my money and tracking my spending habits, which are both important skills I am using to plan for the future. I set up a savings account to help pay for college, and am practicing writing down everything I buy to control my spending. I feel great knowing that I am already a step ahead of the game when it comes to paying for tuition.

I also learned about all the different people I have available to talk to when I have a question about money. I took the advice of Vault and talked to my parents about money, and I’m glad I did. The more financial information I get, the more confident I feel about my ability to be be successful in today’s society.

In addition to learning how to make monetary decisions, Vault taught me about earning income and taxes. Besides all of the ways I can earn money as an adult in a few years, the program also introduced me to ways that kids like me can make money now. I’m funding the savings account I set up for college by detasseling and babysitting, and I’ve encouraged my friends to do the same. Working has proved very worthwhile for me. Besides the weekly paychecks I receive, my jobs have rewarded me with many new friendships, connections, and life lessons, which I’m sure will prove mighty useful in years to come. Of course, the creators of Vault knew that you can’t teach kids about means of income without also teaching them about the major responsibility that comes along with earning money – paying taxes. Vault showed me that it is very important for me to pay taxes so that our country is still beautiful and safe when I’m a hard working, prosperous adult.

Maybe I’ll change my mind within the next few years and decide that I don’t want to be an editor, and that’s okay. I’m just a kid; I don’t have to have my whole life figured out already. But there’s one thing I am certain about – I know that whatever I decide to do, I’ll be well prepared to achieve my goals because of Vault, where I learned about making educated financial decisions, earning money and paying taxes.

Does Data Validate Online Compliance Training?

Many large enterprises provide compliance training to their employees. A 2017 report by KPMG provides survey data and analysis of compliance best practices, including employee communication and training. This post pulls out data points that allow us to better evaluate the value of effective online compliance training.

KPMG’s The Compliance Journey (“the Survey”) surveyed organizations across seven industries with compliance teams that run the gamut between fewer than 25 professionals to more than 250. While the survey did not indicate the number of respondents, which impacts the sample size, the range of organizations and departments surveyed indicates a good amount of validity.

Summary of Results

The Survey found that organizations are making “substantial progress” in their ethics and compliance programs, particularly in governance, culture, policies and procedures, and communication and training. But, organizations can do better in compliance monitoring and testing. In addition, CEOs can instill accountability across their organizations by considering adherence to compliance policies and procedures as a factor in employees’ performance ratings and compensation.

And sure, compliance scandals have rocked sophisticated companies over the past couple of years. But these setbacks shouldn’t prevent companies from trying to do better to ensure that their compliance programs are fulfilling their goals of keeping companies and, most importantly, employees safe.

Compliance Training is Used, But Not Maximized

The report provided specific stats on training and communication in particular. Virtually all organizations (98%) require employees to take compliance training on key compliance policies and procedures and most (84%) train about applicable key laws, rules, and regulations. Companies have realized the importance of training, and implement it consistently across the board.

Yet, it is apparent that companies are not fully utilizing training. Many survey results provide opportunities that good training can accomplish. For example, only

  • 31% of Chief Compliance Officers (CCOs) do not know, or do not communicate, lessons of conduct and culture across their organizations
  • 29% of organizations report that they assess compliance skills of their staff on an ongoing basis
  • 23% do not engage in open communication about compliance issues, lessons, and practices (or do not know if they have such an approach)
  • 69% say their organization leverages technology to support its compliance initiatives

Training is a vehicle to communicate lessons of conduct, culture, compliance, and to assess skill building. Online compliance training allows it to be implemented across the entire company and leveraged for data.

Compliance Training Best Practices

If training was as simple as just providing it, we would see immediate results. It doesn’t work that way. Understanding does not signify learning or action. In the land of compliance, research shows that merely presenting a law or policy to a learner is ineffective. In fact, it can make people more likely to violate compliance standards. This may be why “CCOs recognize that adult cognitive learning theories support offering shorter trainings that are more memorable, engaging, and that contain real-life vignettes.” Engagement is important to learning, but again, it’s not enough. To learn more about effective adult learning theory, check out EverFi’s white paper, Value of Conduct Training.

Fortunately, the Survey provides many examples of how companies, or their training vendors, can make compliance training more effective. Here are some highlights.

  • Identify what needs to be trained on based on internal risk assessments
  • Use storytelling, “refreshers,” and real examples from the company’s workplace
  • Train middle managers to “enhance accountability” and “develop ethical leadership skills”
  • Deliver “compliance training content to employees who may historically only been
    reachable via live/in-person training using advances in technology”
  • Leverage technology to monitor and follow up on the results of regulatory testing
  • Utilize technology to “track training results and content distributed to employees, as well as to enable more targeted training for employees based upon their roles and responsibilities”

Top Compliance Challenges for CCOs

Indeed, when asked about their top compliance challenges, CCOs responded that enhancing accountability in compliance, improving data quality, and making compliance effective and sustainable were the top three. Online compliance training, when developed effectively and rolled out to a willing audience, can help organizations meet their biggest compliance challenges.

LawRoom (powered by EverFi) delivers online training to help your business meet compliance requirements both dynamically and scalably. In addition to our award-winning online courses, LawRoom delivers a robust, cloud-based learning management system to help you easily deploy and track our growing library of ethics, anti-harassment, data security and employee conduct courses.

Data Security Risks: The Bad News and The Good News

The Bad News. 

Data breaches are on the rise. The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), which has been tracking data security risks since 2005, released a report in which it counted 430 data breaches between April 2016 and April 2017. This shows a 37% increase from 2015-2016, according to Credit Union Times. This is a scary thought when we consider that ITRC found 2016 to be a record year for data breaches, according to Bloomberg.

It gets worse. A cybersecurity survey conducted by EiQ found that small to medium-sized businesses (SMB) were not prepared for a cybersecurity breach. Out of approximately 150 IT security personnel, 86% responded that their company has underfunded security initiatives, and 56% said their organizations are unprepared to identify and respond to cyberattacks. EiQ states that cybersecurity is a small fraction of many companies’ IT budgets, indicating that cybersecurity isn’t as big a priority as other technological initiatives. The National Center for the Middle Market, out of Ohio State University, has a Cybersecurity Resource Center tailor-made for midsize companies, which may feel the harm of inadequate resources to counter data security breaches.

It would appear that larger organizations fare better, as they tend to have more resources to maintain effective data security programs. However, data security breaches constantly spatter news headlines, like the ones at Yahoo and the US Internal Revenue Service. Additionally, laws like the GDPR, UK Privacy Shield, and New York’s Cybersecurity Regulations require adequate third-party data security management, including vendors and outside law firms. The Association of Corporate Counsel’s Model Information Protection and Security Controls for Outside Counsel Possessing Company Confidential Information is a guide that can help companies prepare.

Ultimately, companies of all sizes and resources should be investing in enhanced cybersecurity.

The Not-so-Bad News. 

Some industries did better than others. In fact, the ITRC survey found that healthcare and financial services experienced declines in data breaches compared to the prior year. Meanwhile the educational industry, the government/military, and the “business” industry (which includes all other industries, like retail and professional services) experienced more. This should not be surprising to some folks, as both the financial services and healthcare industries are highly regulated by federal data privacy laws like the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and HIPAA, respectively.

Even though financial services’ data breaches dropped by more than 50% (4.1% to 1.9%), a global study by Capgemini showed that only 21% of 183 surveyed senior data privacy and security professionals at financial services companies were “highly confident” in their organization’s ability to detect a data breach, creating data security risks. This uncertainty wasn’t relegated to the SMB group, either. Forty percent of the surveyed professionals came from companies with revenues of $10 billion or more. To help with these issues, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) offers a variety of cybersecurity resources for financial institutions.

Further, the lower occurrence of data breaches in healthcare does not mean that they don’t occur. The US Department of Health and Human Services fined a hospital that ignored the security risk to patients’ ePHI. It had knowledge of data breaches, but did little, if anything, to counter them over a course of many years. Data breaches can have unforeseen consequences for healthcare companies’ business and customers, such as botched business deals and vendor pull outs in addition to decreased consumer confidence in an affected company’s reputation.

The Good News. 

Nonetheless, many companies should be applauded for their efforts at minimizing data security risks. Many have chosen to invest in training.

Conduct training can be an effective way to mitigate data breaches, as human error is a huge risk to cybersecurity. A Ponemon Institute report on closing data security gaps shows that insider negligence is the leading cause of data loss or theft. The National Center for the Middle Market explains:

Employees are your biggest cybersecurity risk–and also, potentially, your biggest asset. Cybersecurity is everybody’s job and mistakes by employees, contractors, and vendors – using weak passwords, opening attachments from an unfamiliar source, misconfigured settings – lead to the overwhelming majority of successful attacks.

Scams are becoming more sophisticated; common sense isn’t enough to protect employees anymore. As long as employees have access to personal or sensitive information, they can be a risk even in the most sophisticated data security program. They need training to teach them to recognize the more subtle forms of persuasion, like phishing scams. Attacks like these are known as social engineering — trying to trick people into doing something that they would never do if fully cognizant of their actions. Data security training can mitigate these real data security risks.  

Reduce Your Data Security Risks.

Learn more about Online Data Security training or read a white paper on what makes effective data security training.

LawRoom (powered by EverFi) delivers online training to help your business meet compliance requirements both dynamically and scalably. In addition to our award-winning online courses, LawRoom delivers a robust, cloud-based learning management system to help you easily deploy and track our growing library of ethics, anti-harassment, data security and employee conduct courses.

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.

Anti-Bribery Law Basics: FCPA and the UK Bribery Act

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the UK Bribery Act are two of the most important anti-bribery laws that seek to prevent corruption globally. Their broad scope and long reach mean that organizations of all sizes that do business overseas or have foreign partners should consider offering online FCPA training to their employees as well as their agents and partners when appropriate.

Brief History of the FCPA & UK Bribery Act

In the early 1970s, with public trust already shaken by the Watergate Scandals, investigations conducted by the Securities and Exchange Commission revealed that many US corporations were maintaining special cash slush funds for bribing foreign officials. According to a Congressional report, over 400 corporations admitted to making illegal or questionable payments to foreign officials, totaling more than $300 million (or $1.2 billion in 2015 dollars).

In response to these shocking revelations, Congress passed The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in 1977, prohibiting US businesses or persons from bribing foreign officials to get, keep, or direct business. In its report on the FCPA, Congress explained:

The payment of bribes to influence the acts or decisions of foreign officials, foreign political parties or candidates for foreign political office is unethical. It is counter to the moral expectations and values of the American public. But not only is it unethical, it is bad business as well. It erodes public confidence in the integrity of the free market system.

Today the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) jointly enforce the FCPA. Together, they have brought an increasing number of FCPA enforcement actions charging violators with both civil and criminal offenses. The year 2016 “produced what arguably is the most significant year of enforcement in the statute’s 39-year history” according to attorney F. Joseph Warin. The SEC and DOJ brought 53 enforcement actions against companies and levied more than $2 billion in corporate fines against companies.

Since the passage of the FCPA in 1977, the global marketplace has become governed by an increasing number of laws and regulations that aim to prevent corruption. In addition to the FCPA, organizations doing business overseas may find themselves governed by other nations’ laws.

Of particular note is the UK Bribery Act 2010, applying to UK businesses and persons. The UK Bribery Act imposes more severe penalties and is broader in scope than the FCPA, covering bribes to private parties as well to foreign officials. The UK Bribery Act also prohibits being bribed, not just giving bribes. Because of the close ties between the United States and the United Kingdom, US businesses should pay special attention to all forms of potential bribery abroad, regardless of jurisdictional technicalities.

Penalties for Breaking Anti-Bribery Laws

The penalties for violating either the FCPA or the UK Bribery Act are significant. Both individuals and corporations can be held liable. While this shouldn’t form the basis of prevention, it highlights the enforcement bite of legal noncompliance.

Individuals who violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA may face criminal and civil fines, up to five years in prison, and ineligibility for future activities such as doing business with the federal government or the securities business, according to the FCPA Resource Guide.

Businesses may face criminal fines up to $2,000,000, civil penalties, and ineligibility for future activities such as doing business with the government, securities activities, or export licenses as well. There are additional hefty penalties for violating the FCPA’s accounting provisions. It’s worth noting that under the Alternative Fines Act individuals and businesses may face fines much higher than those suggested by the FCPA: up to twice what the defendant gained by making the corrupt payment.

Under the UK Bribery Act, individuals or businesses may face up to 10 years in prison or unlimited unlimited fines.

The Importance of Training on Anti-Bribery Laws

Given the intricacy and potential consequences of violating anti-bribery laws, it is crucial that your organization has compliance programs in place to prevent corruption whenever it has dealings overseas. This is why companies should invest in FCPA Training. It’s more than avoiding legal liability. It’s really about doing what’s right.

Both the DOJ and SEC take into consideration an organization’s compliance program when deciding whether to open an investigation or bring charges under the FCPA.

According to the FCPA Resource Guide, “In appropriate circumstances, the DOJ and SEC may decline to pursue charges against a company based on the company’s effective compliance program, or may otherwise seek to reward a company for its program, even when that program did not prevent the particular underlying FCPA violation that gave rise to the investigation.” Similarly, companies can defend themselves against charges related to the UK Bribery Act if they can show that they had adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery.

Further, the DOJ’s Fraud Section issued the “Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs” (ECCP), a litany of “important topics and sample questions” to help companies evaluate their compliance programs. My colleague Karen Peterson correctly points out that measuring compliance program effectiveness goes beyond checking a box. Data, culture, and ethical managers are critical facets that companies must validate, support, and foment.

Training is a hallmark of an effective compliance program. It helps reinforce an organization’s values, distribute its anti-corruption policies, inform the organization’s workers of the relevant laws and best practices, and ensure that workers understand how to act on those values, policies, and practices.

This post was informed by considerable research and analysis by my former colleague, Pax Hehmeyer.

LawRoom (powered by EverFi) delivers online training to help your business meet compliance requirements both dynamically and scalably. In addition to our award-winning online courses, LawRoom delivers a robust, cloud-based learning management system to help you easily deploy and track our growing library of ethics, anti-harassment, data security and employee conduct courses.

Compliance Training Requirements in EEOC Settlement Agreements

When the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announces a settlement with an employer, the press release generally says that the employer agrees to provide certain kinds of compliance training in the future. In EEOC settlements announced in March 2017, the EEOC announced that it had required an Illinois sheet metal company to train its employees on harassment and discrimination, required an Illinois food service company to train its managers on the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and required a janitorial cleaning services company to train all employees about unlawful discrimination.

What are the Typical Compliance Training Requirements?

But the compliance training requirements can be much more onerous than the brief descriptions in EEOC press releases might lead a reader to expect. Consent decrees that employers and the EEOC enter into, which are public documents, go into much more detail about required compliance training. For instance, in February 2016 the Vail Run Community Resort Association agreed to settle a sexual harassment, national origin discrimination, and retaliation lawsuit brought by Mexican female employees who were harassed by the Association’s male housekeeping manager. The EEOC press release announced that the Association would have to implement “substantial semi-annual training for managers on sexual harassment and the responsibilities of managers once a report of sexual harassment is made.”

The five-year consent decree provides more details, specifying that the Association was required to hire outside vendors to provide the following training on federal antidiscrimination laws:

  •         Nonmanagerial Employees: At least three hours of training on discrimination law
  •         Supervisory and Managerial Employees: Twelve hours of training annually (provided at least semi-annually) on antidiscrimination laws and on how to receive and investigate complaints of harassment and retaliation
  •         Senior Management: Training similar to that of supervisory and managerial employees, and training on how to document and preserve evidence of discrimination
  •         Employees Designated To Receive Discrimination Reports: At least four hours of annual training on accepted professional standards for receiving and investigating complaints, including witness interview techniques, other evidence-gathering techniques, maintaining investigative notes and records, legal analysis of the evidence, and methods for eliminating and ameliorating violations of anti-discrimination law

Not every consent decree will require third-party compliance training or even new training. As labor mediator Amy L. Lieberman said in a Bloomberg BNA interview with Lydell C. Bridgeford:

Depending on the employer’s current training, sometimes the parties can agree to continue with what the employer already provides. In cases where the employer does not already do training, I have often seen the EEOC and the company agree that the company’s employment counsel or in-house counsel can provide the training, as opposed to forcing the employer to hire a third-party provider.

So an employer with a compliance program might be able to continue with its own training, especially if the employer didn’t have widespread problems that were caused by a deficient compliance program. Companies should be sure to monitor their compliance program effectiveness if they want to be able to argue that an issue was confined to one circumstance or individual.

Companies should also examine the EEOC’s publications, such as its 2016 retaliation enforcement guidance, which the EEOC believes is a good resource for employers.  

Monitoring Consent Decrees

The EEOC monitors consent decrees and will file a lawsuit against a company that doesn’t comply. As the EEOC notes in its manual on Monitoring and Enforcing Consent Decrees, in 2001 it successfully sued a retailer for contempt for failing to comply with consent decree provisions. The penalty imposed was $750,200 ($100 per day of noncompliance, for each of 22 stores) in addition to attorney fees and other costs. The EEOC also extended the original consent decree by 18 months.

In an article by Gloria Gonzales for the Business Insurance website, EEOC trial attorney Richard Mrizek commented that consent decrees are meant to help companies deal with the issues that got them into trouble with the EEOC. “We’re not just settling it for money to make things go away,” said Mrizek. “We’re also looking at what can we do that we think will solve the company’s problems such as compliance going forward.”

Employers Should Assess Compliance Risks

Twelve hours of training may seem excessive, especially to employers who don’t have compliance problems, but some sort of regular training is a good idea. Employers should assess the risk of compliance issues in their workplace. For instance, in this case,  the Association’s housekeeping manager was in charge of employees who were fearful of being reported for their immigration status. This resulted in a risky situation for the Association, because the housekeeping manager took advantage of the employees’ fear.

Accordingly, the consent decree required the Association’s compliance training for managerial and supervisorial employees to emphasize that “due to their position of power,” such employees must be particularly vigilant not to discriminate, must be sensitive of how their actions or words might be perceived by subordinates, and must avoid the temptation to retaliate against an employee who makes or might make a complaint.

The more at-risk an employer is, the more they’ll want to improve programs, bolster implementation of their compliance programs, and communicate the programs by training. The more risk, the more training.

LawRoom (powered by EverFi) delivers online training to help your business meet compliance requirements both dynamically and scalably. In addition to our award-winning online courses, LawRoom delivers a robust, cloud-based learning management system to help you easily deploy and track our growing library of ethics, anti-harassment, data security and employee conduct courses.

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/