January 8, 2018
Ten years following high school graduation, I've noticed a critical knowledge gap affecting many of my former classmates. It comes up gradually in our conversations. A subtle remark about student loans or a short comment about being buried in credit card debt. Over the course of the conversation, it is revealed that keeping personal finances in the black is a major problem.
What's interesting is this problem isn't divided along the lines of profession, income or neighborhood. At some point, you either learned how to manage your finances, or you didn't. Or maybe you learned later in life but by that point had already accrued enough debt to put you behind the eight ball for the foreseeable future.
After seeing the ruin from the financial crash of 2008, one lesson has become clear: for many people the pain of 2008 could have been avoided by learning personal finance in school. Personal finance is a topic that every single student will need for their lives. It doesn’t matter how much money they make or what profession they are in. Financial catastrophes happen and building a solid financial foundation can help everyone weather life’s storms.
Seeing a clear problem, EVERFI’s mission is to bring critical life skills to students across America. EVERFI has developed a nine lesson, digital course that engages students with important financial concepts like credit scores, saving money, and investing. Each digital lesson has a corresponding paper-based lesson so that teachers contextualize concepts and allow students to apply what they have learned in the digital lessons.
The classroom is the best place to teach students financial education concepts. For this reason, EVERFI is aligned to New York state standards for CTE and economics classes so that teachers can feel confident adding EVERFI to their existing curriculum.
What makes the magic happen is that EVERFI provides its resources free to schools and districts. No restrictions on student licenses or time available to the school. Money should not be a barrier to learning about money!
When people become financially literate, they take control of their lives. They turn a point of stress into something that will make their lives easier over time. All it takes is 8 hours of learning in a single semester to make a lifetime of difference.
A current EVERFI teacher, Carmen said it best -- “It all boils down to money and how well you know how to work with money. I think because these students do not have experience, they think that being in debt a little bit isn’t a big deal, but once you get into a bit of debt, it gets harder to get out.”
Now circling back (just like a good lesson), are your students prepared for the real world?