(Feb. 8, 2019) The Bank of Ocean City kicked off its fourth EverFi Financial Literacy program at Stephen Decatur High School Wednesday.

The program offers financial literacy to students as an elective course for freshmen up to seniors, with nine sections covering savings, credit scores, renting versus owning, investing, banking, insurance and taxes, student loans, consumer protection and overall financial literacy.

“The Bank of Ocean City is proud to sponsor [this] program,” Vice President Earl Conley said. “The whole premise of this, you’ll be able to walk through a virtual reality program, you’ll do everything from learning how to create a savings account, how to write a check, invest in the stock market and virtually travel through the stock exchange.”

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Vice Presidents of the Bank of Ocean City Earl Conely and Nancy Bradford talk to Business teacher Kurt Marx's Financial Literacy class about the importance of the EverFi lessons at Stephen Decatur High School, Wednesday.

“The government mandated that schools need to teach financial literacy a while back,” he continued. “The Bank of Ocean City sponsored EverFi to take the financial burden off our local high schools. The bank covers the cost of the program through a bank funded sponsorship. We were proactive and contacted several schools and three responded. They are Stephen Decatur High School, Worcester Preparatory School and Indian River High School.”

Since the program began in 2015, the Bank of Ocean City has provided certifications of financial literacy to roughly 529 students, with more than 412 learning hours completed. This semester, 42 students are taking Business Teacher Kurt Marx’s elective financial literacy course.

“When you’re done this course, you will probably know more about personal finances than anybody you know, including your parents and grandparents,” Marx said. “This is an excellent opportunity for you to learn about personal finances.”

The teacher emphasized to his students the importance of knowing how to handle finances at a young age.

“Historically, people would go to work for a company or government and get a pension,” Marx said. “Basically, you knew, ‘If I stay working there, I’ll be ok. They’re going to give me health insurance ... everything’s going to be fine.’ That’s not true anymore. Very few occupations provide a pension anymore. Next you look at Social Security trust fund. There’s no money in the Social Security trust fund. Are [you] going to get it? You have to be much more cognizant of what’s going on with money because you have to take care of yourself.

“If you make good decisions when you’re young, financially, life is so much easier,” he continued. “If you make bad decisions when you’re young, life gets much, much more difficult.”

The course takes approximately four and half hours to complete all nine modules. Students pass a module once they can pass a quiz at the end of the section. A passing grade is a seven out of 10.

Conley and Vice President Nancy Bradford spoke with the students about the importance of knowing how to maneuver finances to avoid costly problems in the future.

“We see the good the bad and the ugly,” Conley said. “A lot of the ugly starts early. It can steamroll and once you get in it it’s hard to unwind that.”

The Bank of Ocean City will return to Stephen Decatur in April to present certification awards.

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