Archive - Financial Literacy

By Melissa Newton

Financial Literacy Initiative at Evergreen Bank Group

"Knowledge is power, and I submit that financial knowledge is security."

These words were given in a speech by Governor Elizabeth Duke of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve at the 2011 Virginia Beach Financial Planning Day. We are definitely living in a time when solid financial literacy is a part of the knowledge base we must develop. Lessons learned over the past few years reinforce the importance of building this reservoir of knowledge, in particular for young people. Teaching the basic principles of money management can impact money-smart decisions and ultimately an individual's financial security for a life time.

It is because of the recent economic crisis that the U.S. Treasury's efforts through the Financial Literacy and Education Commission are more important than ever. The National Strategy for Financial Literacy Initiative commenced in 2011 and continues to promote access to the right tools and information so every individual and family can take control of their financial futures. Evergreen Bank shares this vision and wants to extend its reach even further by bringing the message of financial literacy to the communities in which it serves.

"We have always taken an active role in supporting our communities," Darin Campbell, President & Chief Executive Officer, Evergreen Bank Group advised. "Our financial literacy initiative is an important part of keeping our communities strong and prosperous."

One focus of the bank's financial literacy initiative is tweens ages 8 to 14. Through an online interactive virtual world called MoneyIsland (https://evergreenbankgroup.moneyisland.com), young people can be taught real-life principles of financial responsibility in a fun and innovative way. It uses videos, quizzes, and an adventure game to teach the basics of Saving, Spending, Investing, and Sharing. As users go on quests to exciting destinations like the Eiffel Tower and England, players will meet financial gurus like Chef Jacque, earn "smackers" to use like real money, and ultimately complete the game to receive a certificate for reaching "Guru Status" and other real-life rewards.

Evergreen Bank Group is partnering with schools, not-for-profit groups and community organizations to bring financial literacy to young people. By working together, we can are utilize cutting edge technology and engaging financial literacy tools to educate the next generation of educators, business leaders, and consumers. Together, we can build a stronger community of tomorrow.

Financial Literacy Key to Brighter Future

The Great Recession changed how we view financial education. The textbook for how we plan our financial futures has been rewritten. Experts have confirmed what we already know. It is no longer just about survival in the new economy. You have to acquire solid financial knowledge in order to ensure a successful future. Governor of the Federal Reserve Elizabeth Duke made the case for financial education in her speech to the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in May 2011.

"A working knowledge of basic financial terms and concepts can lead to better economic decisions and outcomes for individuals over the course of a lifetime. There is a clear relationship between individuals' financial decisions and the health of our entire economy."

Do you want a lifetime of making better financial decisions? Below are four areas where you can make financial education a part of your daily living starting today!

Basic Financial Foundation

Master the basics on financial matters. These include the principles of saving, spending, investing, and sharing. Companions to these include wisely navigating credit and having a solid handle on protecting your identity. Develop a relationship with your banking institution so you can take advantage of the services and products to safely handle your money management. Articles and resources to get started are available at the click of your mouse at www.fdic.gov and www.federalreserve.gov.

Create Money-Smart Kids

The Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy test given to high school seniors provides a cautionary warning regarding basic financial knowledge and young people today. When asked simple money questions, the students have consistently recorded an average failing score of 50 to 55 percent. These failing numbers represent individuals who are going to be our educators, business leaders, and consumers of tomorrow.

It's never too early to begin learning basic money matters. Technology and advertising introduce young people to consumerism at the earliest stages of their development. Evergreen Bank provides a great resource through an online interactive virtual world called MoneyIsland. It uses videos, quizzes, and an adventure game to teach the basics of Saving, Spending, Investing, and Sharing, and real-life principles of financial responsibility. Check out the site at https://evergreenbankgroup.moneyisland.com.

Dial Down the Stress

According to the American Psychological Association's Stress in America survey released in 2011, 76 percent of respondents noted money as the highest source of stress. The Mayo Clinic outlines a host of symptoms of stress that can negatively impact both the body and mind. These can include headache, fatigue, anxiety, high blood pressure, and obesity, just to name a few. Inevitably, money stress can interfere in other areas including personal relationships and work life.

Obtaining a working knowledge of financial matters may not completely eliminate money stress but can dial it down a bit. Understand the basics of what your bank offers in services, products, and staff expertise and take advantage of those resources.

Be Retirement Ready

Olivia Mitchell, professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, commented regarding the research she and colleague Annamaria Lusardi of Dartmouth College conducted on financial literacy and retirement.

"We have found profound levels of financial illiteracy, which helps explain how we have people winding up with no saving for retirement and high levels of debt."

The issue of retirement readiness is too broad a subject to address in detail here. However, now is the time to gather the information you need to secure your lifestyle in your mature years. Begin your research at the U.S. Social Security Administration (www.ssa.gov) to verify your full retirement age and estimated retirement benefits. Check out www.usa.gov to review the basics on pension plans, IRAs, social security, and other issues related to retirement.

When making plans for any significant event whether it's a wedding, purchase of a home, or investing for your child's education, you outline the details to make certain you meet the goal. Establishing a firm foundation of financial knowledge is just, if not more, important. To achieve the dream of a brighter future, take the necessary steps to make financial literacy a part of your daily living.