Recognizing World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.  And while it’s a sunny June day here in Washington DC, the topic of Elder Financial Exploitation is a forecast of some very rough weather ahead.

The problem of financial exploitation of seniors is scary, and is getting scarier.  Today, there are 40 million Americans over the age of 65 — the largest in history, and the number will grow over the next ten years. According to the True Link Report on Elder Abuse, up to $36 billion (with a “b”) is lost by seniors in various forms of financial exploitation, and $17 billion of that is done through deceptive-but-legal tactics that are designed to promote financial mistakes by seniors.  Also, about half of the exploitation happens by other family members, which is disturbing and depressing.  The generation that is being scammed is especially vulnerable, since it is a polite generation (many do not want to hang up on phone scammers); trusting people (may fall prey to internet scams); and sometimes cognitively impaired (which can make someone especially helpless).  Sadly, there are literally call centers that are set up to scam seniors out of money, which can end up in horrifying results.

The CFPB recently posted guidelines and a report for financial institutions to help fight this problem.  The webinar they hosted on May 25 was a very helpful walkthrough of these guidelines.  Other government institutions are also paying more attention to this problem. It is clear to me that financial institutions are going to be a key defense for combating this problem.  However, not all financial institutions have quality resources available to them for their employees, older customers/members, and for adult caregivers of the elderly.  Many employees of financial institutions end up having three jobs: being a teller, a social worker, and a family counselor.  It is a lot to ask of them.

We are EverFi are working hard on this problem right now. Given the size and scope of this complex issue, it is clear that there will not be one single solution that eradicates this issue, but our goal is to make a big dent in it.  Just like our programs for adult financial education, we are going to partner with financial institutions, help them on the front lines, and get them the tools and resources they need.  I am so proud that we are taking on this terrifying, growing, and very personal issue.

To ‘celebrate’ World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, please take time to spread the word about Elder Financial Exploitation. Know that the storm is coming.  But also know that EverFi will be there to help you weather it.

EverFi and BB&T Congratulate Winners of the 2015-2016 BB&T Student Blog Contest

This past fall, EverFi proudly partnered with BB&T to launch a student blog contest to teachers and students across more than 800 high schools that use the BB&T Financial Foundations program in their classrooms. After students completed the financial education course, they had the opportunity to download and play BB&T’s web-based leadership app, LEGACY: A BB&T Leadership Challenge, and were invited to write a short essay on what leadership means to them.

BB&T Associate Cindi Shaddix presents winning student Tytiana with her award.

BB&T Associate Cindi Shaddix presents winning student Tytiana with her award.

We are pleased to announce the winners of this year’s blog contest! These four students demonstrated a deep understanding of what leadership means to them, and their thoughtful essays inspired all of us.

Tytiana, a student at Elite Scholars Academy in Georgia, shared her views on what it means to be an effective leader:

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then you are a good leader. In the minds of some, being a leader is mainly focused on power, will, and fear. However through the LEGACY game I have learned that being a leader is a goal for the common man or woman who seeks change. Leaders have to be relatable to others. Being an effective leader is about learning to understand, having the patience to succeed, and being able to make the best decisions possible for you and others around you.”

Caleb, a student at Pasquotank County High School in North Carolina, shared his realization that leadership comes in a wide variety of forms:

Caleb, a student at Pasquotank County High School, receives his award

Caleb, a student at Pasquotank County High School, receives his award

“There are two sides of a good leader. There is a mental side and a social side. Before playing LEGACY: A Leadership Challenge, I tended to just focus toward the mental side. This means doing anything that they can to get the job done, hoping for a better future, repeating your good habits and eliminating your old. The mental side is very important. But the social side is just as important. To be a good leader, you must be able to communicate with people effectively. This is what I had to do in LEGACY. I had to communicate with the other characters in a kind yet straightforward way. This is what my father, the leader I look up to in my life, does very well. He was a worker at Lowes. He rarely took days off. He was a very social person. Customers tended to wait the extra minute or two just to be served by my dad, something that my whole family is very proud of. My father’s salary was diminutive compared to many other people in society, but he loved his job. That’s what put him above his counterparts. That’s what puts society’s great leaders above the rest. Their drive. Their willingness to work for what they want. That’s where I want to be.”

Lola, a student at Veterans High School in Georgia, wrote about how the LEGACY game expanded her view on what it means to be an effective leader:

Teacher Dana Burress alongside winning student Lola at Veterans High School

Teacher Dana Burress alongside winning student Lola at Veterans High School.

“My previous idea of a leader was a person who could wield authority; something like an army sergeant. While authority is a good leadership trait, another commonly overlooked trait a of good leader is tact. People are brought up with their own beliefs and ideas of right and wrong. To be an effective leader, one has to go about the right way of introducing your followers to another way of seeing or doing things — without demeaning what they already know. Being a leader is about so much more than possessing authority; it’s about using your influence to help better others. I can only be grateful that this has been brought to my attention early in life, giving me the opportunity to grow in this area and share my newfound knowledge with others.”

Eric, a student at West Forsyth High School in North Carolina, cited an example of a leader in his life who has inspired him:

“Leadership is a defining quality of an individual. A great leader incorporates a multitude of qualities such as being trustworthy, engaged, and empowering while consistently maintaining a positive outlook under intense stress and against all odds. I learned important leadership qualities over this year’s Academy of Finance summer internship from my mentor, Angus Reid. Everyday Mr. Reid organizes and communicates effectively with different clients, tenants, and workers in an elevated sense of respect, positivity, and initiative. His ability to adapt to each individual’s needs and respectfully delegate tasks make him a fantastic leader.”

Congratulations again to our four winners, who each received a $500 gift card. You all have a bright future ahead of you! And many thanks to the dedicated teachers who submitted these winning essays on behalf of their students.

 

EverFi Salutes Our Veterans

The EverFi team honors all our nation’s military servicemembers, and we’re proud to be a company comprised of strong veteran families.

While our nation’s heroes are out serving our country, we are committed to helping them protect their assets, build financial security, and manage important financial, legal, and personal matters over the course of their lives. This includes education and resources for military servicemembers as well as their families.

We also feel privileged to help many of our partners in their efforts to support the military community through an Employee Career Readiness course and digital programs that build awareness around military student loan benefits. 

The infographic below highlights some important tips to help military servicemembers manage their finances and legal matters before they deploy, while deployed, and during the transition to civilian life.

Military Financial Education Infographic

EverFi is committed to helping them manage important financial, legal, and personal matters over the course of their lives.

The National Report Card on Financial Literacy in High Schools: While Some States Fall Short, Innovation is Happening Everywhere

Last week, Champlain College’s Center for Financial Literacy released its National Report Card on State Efforts To Improve Financial Literacy in High Schools. This study evaluates the personal finance education efforts of each state based on their graduation requirements, academic standards, and regulations regarding how personal-finance courses are delivered in public high schools.

For a state to get an A, high school students must be required to take the equivalent of a half-year personal-finance course in order to graduate. Only 5 states — Alabama, Missouri, Tennessee, Virginia and Utah — earned that distinction. Twelve states received Fs on the national report card, while the majority of states received Bs and Cs.Champlain_Report_MakingTheGrade2015

This study underscores the critical need to make financial education a national priority and affirms that state-legislated financial education standards are an important part of the equation. But HOW states operationalize those standards to connect with students is also a huge part of producing measurable results. The study suggests that only state actors can help solve this challenge, but through EverFi’s work with more than 1000 private-sector partners, we are demonstrating that innovation from the both the public and private sectors can have real impact.

At a national level, EverFi’s high school students are making great strides in all 50 states. Last year alone, our students’ knowledge of savings rose 75%; understanding credit scores rose by an average of 39%; and the number of students who now feel prepared to apply for financial aid to help reach their dream of college increased by 79%.

In the “A” states that mandate a half-year personal-finance course, our work is highly scaled. For example in Virginia, since the 2011 legislation became active, 96% of public high schools are now partnering with EverFi to reach over 178,000 students. Alabama did not enact state standards until 2013 when they created a new required ninth-grade class, but EverFi is already working in 43% of those Alabama high schools with great results.

As the report shares and we can verify, even in “lower ranked” states we are seeing pockets of excellence led by courageous Superintendents and Principals in districts across the country, State Treasurers, and private-sector partners who are driving financial education innovation for millions of students nationwide. These leaders understand that work and life demand real critical skills, including financial education.

To the 90,000 teachers across 20,000 schools that help us deliver critical financial literacy education to students, thank you for continuing to be on the front lines of this important work with us.

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EverFi & Arizona State Treasurer Host Financial Literacy Roundtable for Advocates in the State

Urgency to address a critical skills gap in K-12 financial education was the theme for a spirited discussion led by Arizona State Treasurer Jeff DeWit and EverFi. On August 12th, EverFi and Treasurer DeWit hosted a roundtable discussion with community leaders on the importance of financial education in the state of Arizona.

It is my goal to improve the financial knowledge of all Arizona students,” said Treasurer DeWit.  “It is critical that education leaders, business leaders, and technology innovators, like EverFi, continue to collaborate to reach more students with critical skills education.

During the 2014-15 school year, EverFi reached 113 Arizona schools through its financial literacy programs and served over 8,000 students.  Students increased their knowledge in financial literacy topics by 85% after completing the course and felt more prepared to make financial decisions on their own.IMG_2040

Many Arizona community leaders joined Treasurer DeWit for the event including Phoenix Union High School District, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale Unified, Dysart Unified, Arizona Department of Education, and Arizona Charter School Association.

Tony Camp, Director of Career and Technical Education (CTE) for the Phoenix Union High School District, talked about the district’s integration of EverFi’s courses and the benefits they have seen.  He also invited several CTE students from Trevor Browne High School to share their experience with the program.

Rudy Lima, a 12th grade student at Trevor Browne High School, shared that I am grateful to have been exposed to EverFi’s financial education course in high school.  Before, I wasn’t confident I knew enough about my own finances, but now I feel more prepared to make important financial decisions as I enter my adult life.  I would encourage other students and teachers across the state to get involved with EverFi’s programs.

A Phoenix Union High School District 11th grade student explained how the program helped her to learn about the FAFSA so she could apply for financial aid when she was ready to go to college.  All of the students in attendance have plans to go to college and stated that the program helped them to understand their financial options.

EverFi and Treasurer DeWit plan to work on a continuation plan to keep the group engaged and actively involved in the advancement of financial education in the state.  For more information about the roundtable or EverFi’s programs in Arizona, please contact Jessica Golden, Arizona Schools Manager, at jgolden@everfi.com.

 

Why EverFi is a Proud Member of UK’s Big Blue Nation

There are many reasons to cheer for the Kentucky Wildcats this weekend in the NCAA Final Four. Maybe you hail from Kentucky or attended UK.  Or you could be in awe of the possible feat of completing an undefeated national championship season, and joining the ranks of the greatest college teams of all time.  You could admire the way Coach John Calipari has molded a group of blue chip All-Americans into a selfless, hard-working and cohesive unit that usually wins by doing the dirty work of playing suffocating defense.

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At EverFi, we’re rooting hard for Coach Cal, but it’s not just because of the accomplishments of his team.  For as much passion as Coach Cal brings to the court, he brings an equivalent level of commitment to supporting community programs off the court.  For the last three years, we’ve been proud to partner with Coach Cal and his family foundation in extending EverFi’s elementary school financial education program to schools across the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Through this partnership, I’ve personally learned how much Coach Cal cares about building empowered and responsible adults, as well as athletes on the court.  As strongly as he believes in playing the kind of defense that has made his squad 38-0 to date, he feels just as strongly about helping individuals be responsible with their finances.  While that might take the form of giving advice to some of his soon to be future NBA stars, it also extends much, much deeper than that into the communities and schools all across Kentucky.  Through a partnership with EverFi, the Calipari Family Foundation Financial Scholars program has impacted over 20,000 students in 150 Kentucky classrooms.

Hear more about Coach Cal’s focus on financial education directly from the guy you’ll see pacing the sidelines in Indianapolis this weekend:

View this video on Vimeo: Coach Calipari Discusses the Importance of Financial Education

From all of us at EverFi, GO CATS, GO!!!

 

CFPB and FSR Put National Spotlight on BB&T’s Financial Education Program

Organizations Unveil Joint Initiative Promote Financial Education

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has joined forces with the Financial Services Roundtable in a nationwide public-private initiative to promote effective financial education. On January 28, FSR president and CEO Tim Pawlenty and CFPB director Richard Cordray joined top business leaders at a forum in Washington to formally unveil the program.

The group discussed ways they can work together to encourage adoption of financial education initiatives, especially in K-12 schools and in the workplace, and to protect older Americans from financial exploitation. The forum featured a panel of financial services CEOs who discussed the business case for financial education. Among them were EverFi partners Discover and BB&T.

Here’s what BB&T’s Chairman & CEO Kelly King had to say about their approach to financial education:

BB&T has partnered with EverFi to bring critical financial literacy education to more than 800 high schools across 11 states. The BB&T Financial Foundations Program has reached nearly 160,000 students since the program’s inception in 2010.

In December, BB&T launched an adult financial education program for all of its associates. This 90-minute interactive course covers critical topics such as saving, investing, planning for retirement, and financing higher education.

We are proud to partner with organizations like BB&T that are truly improving the economic well-being of the communities they serve.

Extending Adult Financial Education to the Hispanic Market

 

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Today is an exciting day here at EverFi.  We’ve just launched a Spanish language version of our adult learning platform, EverFi@Work.  Our goal in doing so is to extend financial education opportunities to a growing population — expected to grow to 43 million over the next five years — that has typically been underserved due to something as simple as a language barrier.

Understanding credit scores, mortgages, Spanish Screenshots Finalidentity theft, and overdrafts is hard enough for so many people; just imagine if you are trying to do it in another language!  Simple misunderstanding of terms in another language can get people into very quick and serious trouble. Perdiendo aprendi: mas vale lo que aprendi que lo que perdi.  Right?

EverFi@Work™ is a (now bilingual) interactive learning tool that helps adult learners develop important money management skills and a deeper knowledge of credit, investing, mortgages, financing higher education, and other key areas.  It’s specifically designed for today’s busy adult with a series of short ten-minute learning modules that are mobile and tablet-friendly.

To date, EverFi is working with over sixty partners who are leveraging this platform in communities across the country.

We’re also incredibly proud to announce that our partner BBVA Compass is the first organization to feature this Spanish language financial wellness solution.  In fact, this weekend, July 19-20, 2014, the EverFi and BBVA Compass teams will be debuting the platform at the annual conference of the National Council of La Raza in Los Angeles, CA.  We’re thrilled to be a part of this event that will attract 2,000 attendees and some of the most influential individuals, organizations, and companies working with the Hispanic community.

BBVA Compass is already a national leader in financial education with an active sponsorship of our elementary school course at 400 elementary schools across Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas.  To date, BBVA Compass has reached more than 25,000 students through this program.

 

Want to take a look? See an overview of EverFi@Work in Spanish 


Building the course was a lot of fun, from choosing the narrator’s voice, to making sure our translations hit the right note and nuance, to seeing the whole thing come to life in a whole new look.  I have taken the course hundreds of times myself, but seeing it in Spanish for the first time was a very special moment for me.

Whether you are a, EverFi partner, a customer, or just passionate about helping increase financial literacy for everybody, please help spread the word about this course!

 

Evolving Financial Literacy Into Financial Empowerment

It’s April, which means your mind is probably on three things: warmer weather, filing your taxes and financial literacy.

Okay, maybe you’re not focused on the last one.

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 6.53.14 PMMaybe it’s news to you, but April is Financial Literacy Month – which means it’s time to take stock of our current financial situations and look at how we educate and teach the next generation when it comes to smart money management.

So now you know: there’s an entire month focused on finances.  But just how impactful is a single month dedicated to financial literacy?

Financial literacy means exactly what you think it does: it’s the ability to understand how money works in the world.  It’s about knowing how money is earned, managed, saved, invested…but that’s where the word “literacy” falls short.  Literacy implies memorization and the ability to read and write on paper. Literacy is about information and it lacks the critical aspect of application and the necessary change in attitudes and behavior to make a difference.  And that’s why we need to evolve Financial Literacy Month.

Financial literacy and financial education are an absolutely necessary foundation to creating a generation of smart, savvy money managers.  It’s the equivalent to driver’s Ed – before hopping behind the wheel of a car, it’s important to have some knowledge and training under your belt.  But when it comes to changing behavior, what matters most isn’t just the information.  What matters are things like a sense of self-efficacy, a feeling of confidence that you know what you’re doing and the ability to apply those lessons in the real world – to get behind the wheel and put that knowledge into action.

Students viewing technology

That’s where the idea of financial empowerment comes in. Unlike basic financial literacy tools, financial empowerment strategies don’t just educate: they empower, embolden and equip someone to make long-lasting changes in their life. They turn information into action.

A shift toward financial empowerment means a shift from memorization and information overload to action-oriented and simulated application. And that’s very different than just “literacy.”

So as we think about Financial Literacy Month, there’s a strong argument to evolve from “Literacy” to “Empowerment.”  Now the next thing that needs to go is the word “Month.”

Consolidating efforts to focus on a single month of financial education can be effective.  It provides the biggest awareness punch and it’s easier to put forth a lot of effort in a discrete timeframe.  But why limit the effort to just 30 days of financial health?  Why not make financial empowerment a consistent part of the education process?  Why not create a whole movement focused on promoting smarter money habits that impacts a student across their entire lifetime? We know that behavior doesn’t change overnight.  And we know that the moments where students need help managing their money doesn’t just happen in April every year.

Financial Literacy Month has served a very valuable purpose: it’s helped create awareness around an incredibly important issue and raise up the need to teach students about money management habits at a young age.

But maybe it’s time to extend the concept of Financial Literacy Month and to focus on something bigger, better and more meaningful: a Financial Empowerment Movement.

Coach John Calipari: Making the Right Call Both On and Off the Court

Coach John Calipari is among the most successful college basketball coaches in history.   In addition to leading the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team, Coach Calipari also makes a deep commitment to supporting and strengthening local communities.  He’s a person who understands how to leverage his role for social benefit – and how to leave a personal legacy that goes beyond the basketball court.

Since 2011, EverFi has been extremely proud to partner with the Calipari Family Foundation to extend financial literacy education to elementary school students across the commonwealth of Kentucky.

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Coach Cal describes his partnership with EverFi to extend financial literacy education to Kentucky’s youth.

“We need to create a generation of kids who understand concepts like savings, compounding interest, and the basics of why you invest to try to build wealth,” said Coach Calipari. “When you start down that road of understanding how money works – that instead of working for money, you can make it work for you – then you change the direction of an entire generation of young people.”

The Calipari Family Foundation has partnered with Kentucky banks to provide EverFi’s Vault™ – Understanding Money online learning program to more than 5,000 elementary schools students across the Commonwealth.  Other local partners – including Commercial Bank of Grayson, Farmers National Bank of Danville, First Community Bank, First Kentucky Bank, First National Bank of Brooksville, First National Bank of Manchester, Republic Bank, and Whitaker Bank – have joined in this effort by sponsoring EverFi platforms at schools across the state.

chappy and checkCoach Cal prides himself on helping young people reach their dreams and has placed 27 players in the NBA during his college coaching career, including 15 over his first three seasons at Kentucky. But perhaps the biggest impact that he’ll have is on the thousands of young people who he’s helped empower to take control of their financial future.

Thanks for your continued support, Coach Cal!