Financial Literacy: What Is Everfi? And Why Are We Using It?


Owen Dorau, The Baron of Bad News

Our use of Everfi is a result of multiple different factors. To begin, the Senior class of 2018 wanted a better understanding of the financial world they were entering. The old naviance ILP wasn’t covering it. For those of you that don’t know, these individual learning plans are what we did last year every other Monday.

To find out why we changed, I spoke with Kelly Flynn, a consultant hired by the school to implement the Everfi program in our schedules. In our interview, she mentioned “The feedback from seniors was poor and they had already applied to college.” Another part of the feedback was that they wanted to understand finance.

However, unless you take the personal finance course, little is taught about how to save, invest, and understand the various payment types. This is where Everfi comes in. Unlike the college focused naviance lessons, the new program is being used to answer our financial questions.

“It’s important to understand the basics” Ms. Flynn followed up, “Interests and savings, how to write checks and avoid consumer fraud.” Just about everyone agrees that being financially literate is important in this day and age, but not everyone agrees on how to teach it.

I asked Ms. Flynn if Everfi was enough to learn from, “In my opinion, It should start earlier. A teacher taught course would be ideal. College is very expensive; the more you pay in the present the less interest adds up.” She also believes that “Understanding loans, grants and scholarships are also very important.”

On top of the previous grades push for understanding the world of finance, Everfi has been introduced as part of a growing national trend to get high schoolers financially prepared. Throughout the country, statewide efforts have been made to implement financial literacy courses into curriculum. This has raised the question about if financial literacy is actually working, and why it’s important now.

There’s no debate that the financial world can be hard to navigate, and that everyone should have a sense of what they are doing. However, in an article written for The Billfold, author Mike Dang, cites a paper in published by The Journal Management Science that showed how Within 20 months, almost everyone who has taken a financial literacy class has forgotten what they learned.” This is consistent with most other high school classes as well. Not everything you learn is retained and used again. Dang mentions that “passing a financial literacy class with flying colors does not make you a person who is good with money.”

The point can be made that there is a disconnect between when we learn financial education and when we need it. It is also important to understand the difference between our financial knowledge and consumer habits. A large part of our financial situation is based off of our behavior and how we view our money.

In addition, today’s financial world is tough. People fall victim to credit card debt, missed fees and a plethora of other obstacles. However, it’s important to understand that most debt victims are products of consumer targeting. This usually stems from ethnic or economic backgrounds.

In an article written for the The Atlantic, author Marianne Cooper writes that “Financial institutions often target such unsophisticated consumers with their less-than-straightforward and often very expensive—financial products.” In the article, a recent study found that “misconduct by financial advisers is concentrated in firms located in counties with low levels of education and elderly populations.”

Furthermore, the article mentions that financial expert and author Helaine Olsen asks her readers “Which is easier? Educating and changing the financial practices of 300 million Americans or changing the financial frameworks surrounding them?” 

Is it possible that our financial literacy needs come from the misunderstanding of who is actually being affected? To get another students point of view, I spoke with Evan Antonakes to see what he thought of the program. 

When asked about if financial literacy will fix debt problems in America, he responded by saying “Financial literacy classes won’t make the problem go away, though it’ll definitely help. A course that conveys essential financial advice and skills could only help with the financial issues faced by so many in this country”.

Overall, just about everyone will say that these new courses will help in some way or the other. However, they may not solve the whole problem.