It’s Never Too Soon To Start A Financial Education

Mar 23, 2023

[IMPACT+: This series features IMPACT articles that take a longer look at vital topics that affect Americans.]

At Voya, we believe that empowering young people to better understand and manage their finances is a vital first step toward long-term financial resilience.  

Childhood experiences and an early introduction to the ins and outs of the financial world can drive our financial decision-making in adulthood.

That is why Voya has been a strong supporter of Junior Achievement USA (“JA”).

With programs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, JA reaches more than 3.3 million students per year, giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and financial choices.

JA’s mission, economic empowerment through education, is admirable and its results are tangible. JA alums are more likely to have a college degree, feel confident about managing money, have career success and  start a business as an adult.

Financial literacy correlates to a more secure retirement

The focus on boosting financial literacy and education is particularly important now. Financial literacy rates in the United States have been steadily declining since 2009. Additionally, only 23 of 50 states require students to take coursework in personal finance prior to the completion of high school. This is especially concerning because people with lower financial literacy are much less likely to have planned for their retirement savings needs (29% vs. 52%) or to have opened a retirement account (43% vs. 70%).

That is why Voya has worked with JA for more than 20 years to support young people as early as possible so that they become financially resilient adults. Together, we close a unique gap between the capabilities of America’s school system and the needs of our workforce and our families. JA is helping children develop important skills needed to navigate major financial areas, including student debt; credit; housing and home ownership; financial products and services/financial capability; and family needs. These areas have been carefully chosen because poor decision-making on these matters as a young person can have repercussions that last a lifetime.

This is also why we support the ACLI Capital Challenge, an annual event in Washington, D.C., that highlights the importance of financial inclusion by advancing financial education in underserved and underrepresented communities – and raising awareness for policymakers, the media and other key stakeholders. 

It’s never too early – or too late – to begin your financial education

Not enough Americans are planning and saving for retirement. In fact, more than one quarter of American workers have no retirement savings at all. We must change this trend by providing children with the resources, tools and experience to gain the financial literacy and confidence to make sound financial decisions as adults. 

It is common to hear the advice that it’s never too late to start saving, but it’s also never too soon to start providing children with a sense of the value and uses of money.

Junior Achievement’s programs help students learn the importance of saving and how to make smart financial decisions that lead to a secure retirement. Voya is proud to support JA and its initiatives which will improve the long-term financial security for millions of young people across the nation.

Rodney O. Martin, Jr

Rodney O. Martin, Jr. is Voya Financial’s executive chairman and a Junior Achievement board member