This summer, thousands of employees will be improving their financial knowledge and pitting their know-how against others in the first Employee Benefit News Financial Fitness Challenge.

EBN - and its sister magazine, Employee Benefit Adviser - has partnered with Educated Investor, the preeminent creator of financial education software, to create The Financial Fitness Challenge, a unique, online employee financial education program built on a competition model. The aim of the Challenge is to provide employers with a proven and affordable way to make financial education fun, engaging and successful that also delivers measurable results.

EBN introduced the Financial Fitness Challenge in a series of Web seminars earlier this year and invited employers to apply for the limited number of slots and scholarships available. Eighteen organizations were selected to participate.

Meet all 18 scholarship winners, including the organizations' Financial Fitness Challenge "Champions," in a slideshow at

Each participating organization will receive a 5-week, online financial education course for a preapproved number of employees. The course was developed by Educated Investor and is valued at $50 per employee.

Course materials will be co-branded with the employer's information, and training and administrative support will be provided by Educated Investor.

Financial Fitness Challenge Champion William McPeck, director of employee health and safety for the State of Maine, thinks that the Challenge will be a great way to bring financial education into the benefits mix there.

"We see [it] as a way to increase the financial wellness of a segment of our employee population, as a way to pilot test a financial wellness program for employees, and as a way to determine the interest and desire of employees for additional financially related training opportunities," he says.


'Have some fun along the way'

Victoria Dolan, senior vice president and human resources director at River City Bank in Sacramento, Calif., also is looking forward to the Challenge.

"Since we are a financial institution, we believe that all bank employees, regardless of their role, should be comfortable with basic financial savings and planning principles. We expect to create some contests and have some fun along the way."

Participating organizations will promote the EBN-EBA Financial Fitness Challenge to their employees, who will take the online course modules during July and August.

As employees complete each of the modules, Educated Investor will analyze their progress, and EBN and EBA will publish aggregated program results in such areas as total employee participation and top employee scores. Some of the participants also will be profiled in future issues of the magazines.

After the conclusion of the Financial Fitness Challenge, EBN and EBA will release the final results for the program.

Watch for coverage of the Financial Fitness Challenge throughout 2012.

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