The Financial Future of Generation Z: Stability or Ruin?

The Financial Future of Generation Z: Stability or Ruin?

The Financial Future of Generation Z: Stability or Ruin?

The Financial Future of Generation Z: Stability or Ruin?


$620 billion.
  That is how much the United States (States and Federal) spent on education in 20171. That is around $12,000 per student enrolled in public school, and it’s even higher when you consider private schools and other educational systems. Despite this world-leading investment in our children’s education, we are not only failing to compete against much of the world in our core competencies; we are failing to give them critical and relevant training in basic ‘survival skills.’ There was a time when we looked at school systems to train our children in the core competencies (Math, Science, Reading, Writing, History) and the rest of life’s lessons were consumed within the household (Finances, Healthy Lifestyles, Religion, Politics, Relationships and what I would call survival tools). But (and there is always a but), the world has changed.

The family dynamic has changed; technology has changed; the degree to which we lean on our educational systems and educators has changed; communication systems have changed; access to data and information has changed.

The world has changed.

I find myself constantly reminding my employees as well as myself of a mantra: ‘evolve or die.’ It may sound dramatic, but it’s the truth. If we are to recognize these changes and the accompanying reality, we must also recognize that our ultimate goal of preparing our children for success should not change. So, what is the goal when educating our children? My mother, a former part-time professor at Columbia University, focused on early childhood education. She would tell me that the purpose of educating our youth is to “prepare them to be active and valuable contributors to society for their benefit, and benefit of the community at large.” To me, that seems an honorable and logical goal.

Before I allowed my daughter to drive her car, I taught her how to change the tire. And I made her change the tire. She may never have to change a tire, but in the event something were to happen, I want her to be prepared with this basic survival skill. If you could only impart your children with a limited amount of knowledge (that they’ll retain), how would you prioritize their education? We clearly have work to do regarding the core competencies, but I want to focus on life lessons, specifically financial literacy.

Why do our children spend hours learning about the roman empire, but little time on survival skills like balancing a checking account, establishing a budget, understanding how credit cards and loans work, learning about savings and retirement planning…the list goes on. I would wager (not a good financial wellness habit, I agree) that most of our children will more likely benefit from the latter over their lifetime. I don’t say this to take away from the value of historical lessons; more so, to emphasize the importance of our youth being able to efficiently operate in the world as it exists today, ensuring financial habits are both understood and motivated.

Exhibit A.

A basic financial literacy test was administered to high school students; the result was an average score of 48%. Even college students given the identical financial literacy test scored only 62%2.

Exhibit B.

94% of ALL Americans failed an 11-question financial literacy quiz administered by Financial Engines.3
Restated: only 6% of Americans failed a simple quiz related to basic financial questions.

 

These are scary results. Let’s set our children up for success so they fall into the 6%, with the hope that they’ll drive that average exponentially higher. A certain number of these children will benefit from the roman empire lesson, but I am confident that all of them will benefit from the development of their financial acumen.

Many financial wellness programs offer a version of ‘family sharing’ when it comes to educational resources. There are many age-appropriate courses tailored to children, and the offerings can range from grades K-12. The courses generally focus on core competencies in the financial arena: spending, saving, borrowing and planning. These focus areas are core to any holistic financial wellness program that enables behavioral change.

Through the family sharing plans, financial wellness participants can share financial education with their families. And it’s often at no cost to the participating adult. The financial wellness industry is expanding its reach to be all-encompassing; industry providers recognize the need to educate and develop our youth and are designing programs accordingly in an effort to build strong financial foundations.

The world has changed, and teachers are overwhelmed with their historical role coupled with our increasing reliance on them to teach ‘survival skills.’ We expect school systems to do the heavy lifting of life lessons; subject matter ranging from money, relationships, politics, healthy lifestyles and beyond. If we are going to ask the educational systems prepare our children to be active and valuable contributors to society, we should do our part to aid in their financial wellness education.

The resources are available. The technology is available. Now we, as responsible and educated adults, need to motivate our children and encourage engagement.

By 410 AD, the Roman Empire had all but split in two and the division between East and West was the preface to the collapse of the entire empire. If we are to prepare our children for an ever-changing future, we must recognize the need to unite the classic core competencies with the life lessons and survival skills. Even a basic education on the fundamentals of financial behaviors inclusive of spending, saving, borrowing and planning could have substantial impact on the future choices our children will make. Through financial wellness and available technology, they can have access to so much more than a basic education. It may very well be the difference between financial stability or ruin.

1 https://www.politifact.com/ohio/statements/2016/sep/21/donald-trump/trump-us-spends-more-almost-any-other-major-countr/

2 https://www.stockmarketgame.org/assets/pdf/2008%20JumpStart%20Financial%20Literacy%20Survey.pdf

3 https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/19/94-percent-of-americans-failed-this-financial-literacy-quiz.html

 

David Kilby has been president of FinFit since it was founded in 2008. He has grown the company from a single idea into the nation’s leading Financial Wellness Benefit platform, servicing over 150,000 clients. Prior to FinFit, David led a multimillion dollar financial holding company where he was inspired to find ways to help employees improve their financial health. He is committed to helping employees succeed today, and prepare to live healthier, more productive, financially stable lives.

Get in touch with him – he’d love to talk to you about your company, your employees and how he can help.

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Kristen Stringer

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Kristen Stringer came to FinFit in 2010 and has been instrumental in the development of the proprietary FinFit systems and processes. Kristen served as FinFit’s Director of Operations for 7 years before being promoted to Vice President of Banking and Credit Services. She is responsible for managing strategic partners including the Celtic Bank and Ares credit relationships, in addition to establishing new relationships in the sponsor bank market. Kristen also oversees the underwriting and credit areas and is involved with development of underwriting models and new credit products, expansion of credit offerings, auditing and compliance, and the overall performance of credit products.

Kristen holds a bachelor’s degree in business with a concentration in finance, and is currently pursuing her MBA at Old Dominion University. She began her career at HSBC Bank in the customer service and collections departments and later was responsible for process improvement and project management. She was selected to lead numerous special projects including a foreclosure avoidance project that liquidated over $2 million dollars in less than three months. In her spare time, Kristen enjoys photography and is an avid sports fan.

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David Kilby

President/CEO

David Kilby has been President/CEO of FinFit since its founding in 2008. He has grown the company from a single idea into the nation’s largest, most comprehensive Financial Wellness Benefit platform. Chosen as one of the top 100 companies to work for three years in a row (2014-16), FinFit pursues a mission of changing employees lives one employee at a time. Prior to FinFit, David led a multi-million-dollar financial institution holding company, where he was inspired to find a way to help employees get more financially fit. At KPMG Peat Marwick, Norfolk, Virginia, he worked with a variety of public and private organizations in a variety of industries including automotive, chemical manufacturing, consumer finance, managed health care, retail, real estate and wholesale organizations.

David received his CPA designation in the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1991 and graduated from Old Dominion University. Today he serves as the President of the Ability Center of Virginia, a charity devoted to helping children and adults with disabilities serve productive lives. He is also an active member with the Young Presidents Organization, an active Board Member of Old Dominion University Business School, a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Jennifer Creech

Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships

Jennifer Creech brings more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience to FinFit. Jennifer is accountable for the overall sales initiatives, client acquisition and strategic relationships. She is also responsible for client retention strategies and the development and management of sales agents.

Jennifer previously served as VP/Director of Marketing at Bank of Hampton Roads/Hampton Roads Bankshares, Inc. As an officer of the bank, she was responsible for the development and implementation of the bank’s sales and marketing programs and was a member of the Retail Leadership Committee to expand the retail banking division.

Jennifer is currently the President of It’s A Surprise and offers support to various community charities.

Kristen Gaskins

Director of Client Engagement and Awareness

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She’s a Virginia Beach native who enjoys travel and cooking, just not at the same time.

Cliff Kiel

Senior Vice President, Sales

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Prior to his tenure with FinFit, Cliff served four years with Purchasing Power as Vice President, and General Sales Manager. He was instrumental in onboarding many Fortune 100 clients. Under his tenure leading the sales team, the company's revenue doubled and he recorded record sales years for the organization. Prior to Purchasing Power, Cliff worked for leading health and welfare companies such as MetLife, United HealthCare, CVS Caremark, Cigna, Value Options, and Alere.

He earned his BA degree from the State University of New York at Oneonta, and his Certificate in Healthcare Management from the State University California, Irvine.

Cliff has been a featured speaker at the annual Voluntary Benefits Conference and many other leading conferences.

Paul Grosch

Chief Technology Officer

Paul Grosch is a seasoned technology executive with over 20 years of experience growing business through software development, infrastructure management, data analytics and customer support. He brings a wealth of experience with strengths in areas such as technology process standardization, measurement and disciplined innovation. Paul has worked across a broad spectrum of industries including construction, retail, hospitality, financial services and Department of Defense.

Paul joined the FinFit team in Q3 2018. Prior to joining FinFit, Paul served as the Vice President of Information Technology for Gold Key Hotels and Resorts, the largest and most demanding hospitality developer, owner and operator in the Mid-Atlantic. Paul led the technology team through a series of rapid growth, innovation and exit cycles. This included the $168MM sale of Gold Key Resorts in and recent sale of oceanfront Hilton properties valued over $87MM. Paul has also led state of the art development projects within Lockheed Martin and the Department of Defense.

Paul Grosch obtained his Bachelor and Master of Science in Computer Science from Old Dominion University. He holds an MBA from University of Virginia Darden School of Business. He is a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified IT Service Management Expert (ITIL).

Pete Ostberg

Chief Operating Officer

Pete Ostberg joined FinFit in 2017 after spending 20 years in the payroll industry. Pete is responsible for overseeing all business operations, ensuring FinFit has effective operational procedures in place. He also conducts market research and analyses to strengthen FinFit’s product portfolio by adding new and exciting offerings to help employees become more financially stable. Pete is focused on growing the number of valued partners and ensuring the successful implementation of FinFit with each one.

Prior to FinFit, Pete worked at Paychex in a variety of roles. He has in-depth knowledge of tax payments, payroll, insurance, operations, business analysis, and product management. During his tenure there, he helped to strategically position new products as they were brought to the market. Pete has a degree in Political Science from SUNY Geneseo and in his spare time, he enjoys spending time with family and traveling.

David Hockstad

Senior Data & Financial Analyst

David Hockstad came to FinFit in 2015 and has led the development of FinFit’s custom underwriting algorithms and employee assessment questionnaire. As Senior Data and Financial Analyst, David is responsible for identifying portfolio trends and KPIs, implementing business intelligence tools, creating visual ad hoc reports, and enhancing predictive modeling capabilities. David also assists various departments in finding actionable insights in their data, be it understanding successful company demographics, employee contact methods, or customer propensity to borrow.

David obtained his Bachelor’s from Lee University. After graduating in 2012, he began his career at PNC Bank as a commercial underwriter where he was responsible for optimizing business cashflow and underwriting loans.

Kim Miller

Director of Marketing

Kim Miller joined FinFit in early 2018 to build their marketing department, re-energize the brand and establish FinFit as the industry expert. She is an experienced marketing director with a demonstrated history of developing brand identities, increasing brand awareness and creating optimal customer experiences. Skilled in strategic product development, content creation, user experience, cross-channel marketing and customer engagement, she is passionate about moving the business forward and establishing FinFit as the industry leader.

She started her career at Brunner, a national advertising agency, helping to create a digital footprint in the emerging space. She supported a variety of brands including Consol Energy, Cub Cadet, Longhorn, Aquafresh, WesBanco and Huffy, and worked in every discipline from project and account management to copywriting to site architecture.

She moved to Virginia in 2010 and joined Dominion Enterprises, working in the marine, automotive and powersports divisions during her tenure. She helped build and grow their marketing departments, create brand identities, develop sales processes and tracking capabilities, and drive the product development for both B2B and B2C audiences.

Bill Hall

Chief Compliance Officer

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Bill brings extensive legal and regulatory compliance experience to FinFit, primarily in the financial services industry. After beginning his legal career as an Associate Attorney with Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge and Rice in Winston-Salem, NC, Bill had a 19-year career in the Law Department at United Guaranty Corporation in Greensboro, NC. At United Guaranty, Bill served as Vice President and Associate General Counsel, as well as International Group General Counsel.

Bill earned a B.A. degree, cum laude, from Davidson College and a J.D. degree, with honors, from the University of North Carolina School of Law. Bill is licensed as an attorney in the state of North Carolina.

Brooke Saunders

Director of Human Resources

Brooke joined FinFit in early 2013 and focuses on key areas such as Talent Management, Employee Development and Training, Benefits, Payroll and Compensation, Business Strategy, Employee Relations and developing programs to increase employee engagement.

Brooke is a graduate of Old Dominion University and started her Human Resources Career at Robert Half International as a Staffing Manager in 2002. She worked there for 3 years and recruited, hired, interviewed, and placed administrative workers into office positions for her clients.

Brooke has years of experience in the hospitality field, where she served as both Human Resources Director and Resort Marketing Recruiter for large organizations such as Gold Key Resorts and LTD Limited. Her skills included the development of effective recruiting programs, handling all associate relations and counseling, tracking all worker’s compensation claims and other various HR functions to support the HR Manager.

Matt Fahy

Chief Financial Officer

Matthew Fahy serves as Chief Financial Officer for FinFit, with responsibility for the overall financial management of the company, including accounting, financial planning and analysis, credit and treasury functions and tax.

Matt brings extensive financial and operations management experience to FinFit, primarily in the technology industry. Before joining FinFit, Matt served as CFO and Executive Vice President of Global Services for AgilQuest Corporation, a Workplace Management Enterprise SaaS company. Prior to that, he served as CFO for Public Access Technologies, Inc. and QualityClick.com Inc. and oversaw the rapid growth of these Internet companies. Matt was also a Senior Manager for KPMG in the Information, Communications and Entertainment practice serving public and private media, entertainment and technology clients. Matt began his accounting career with Paul Scherer & Company, a boutique CPA firm in New York City serving Advanced Publications and Newhouse Broadcasting Corp., the largest privately held media company in the world.

Matt is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, specializing in Accounting & MIS. Matt received his CPA designation from the state of Ohio in 1993.

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