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Bringing Financial Wellness to a Bigger Base

Achieve and Voya leaders talk about debt, preparing for retirement, and leveraging digital to empower financial wellness.

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Welcome to the Riff on the Lift. We are, uh, sitting in a, in a trailer doing this today because the rain was not cooperating. I am Geoff Huckleberry. I work at and Achieve as a financial services company. I work on our websites and I work on, um, a personal finance app that we have.

Okay. And I'm Brian Goring. Uh, I work for Voya Financial. Um, I am one of their digital product managers, um, specifically working on, on the financial wellness aspect of the business. Um, so Voya, as you know, many people have heard, is, is a retirement company and, and it's kind of been in the market, um, for quite some time. So I think one of the topics we wanted to talk about was, was digital.

And it sounds like you're in charge of digital. Um, maybe you can do, do you want to share some of the, uh, projects that you've been working on lately in that space?

Yeah, so I think, you know, when it comes to digital, um, one of the, the aspects that we've really been focusing on is, is how do we bring, you know, the financial wellness aspect, uh, to a broader spectrum of people. Um, you know, so we focused very heavily in the past on, you know, the wealth aspect of financial preparedness. Um, so as we start to, to branch off, you know, we found that health becomes a really important aspect of what that financial future for people looks like.

You know, medical expenses are very high. So, how do we incorporate that and preparing for, you know, medical expenses or unforeseen things that may happen? How do we tie all of that in, into the, the, the overall financial health of our participants?

Yeah. Yeah. And so Achieve, you know, we're, we're focused primarily on, on um, debt products and, and users that are in need of debt. And I think in the current climate, what we're seeing is that that audience is really growing and, um, you know, probably record levels this year and probably, and we forecast for record levels next year.

What we've been trying to do is really what we see is that folks kind of, kind of will find their way in and out of, out of, uh, out of like a struggling situation. And so, you know, one of the impetuses for us developing this app and really trying to take more of a relationship oriented approach was just because we see that people can, you know, even when things are going okay, they're sometimes not too far away from a tough situation.

And so if we are able to kind of like sensitize them to their situation and be able to give them a little boost and advice along the way, we're hoping that we, they, they don't end up there. And, and so that's some of the products that we're trying to bring in. And we think digital is a good way to do it because it's, it's, um, you know, it's a little less intrusive and they can kind of opt in when they, you know, they can lean in when they wanna lean in and they can lean out a little bit when they want to too.

That's awesome. So, you know, have you typically seen that in the, I don't wanna use older, you know, 'cause we've got older, you know, the older generation that, that feels young. Um, but has a target demographic typically been of a certain age that you're seeing that, that kind of needs, that, that debt kind of structure and help?

Yeah. Yeah. Um, I think it's a good question. We have a range of products and so some of the products, and so some of the products will appeal across the spectrum, but what we find is that, um, you know, unfortunately the folks who probably get into the, the most trouble with debt, it takes a while to get there. It's sort of like it takes the time to build that.

And the other one is that they need to be pretty high on, in, on an income level to basically get the credit to which they can get into that debt. And so that tends to skew a little bit, a little bit on the older side. Okay. And so, and It seems to be interesting 'cause you know, there's been a lot of talk recently about student loans and, you know, and that debt seems to be really high for a lot of the younger generation. Yeah.

You know, so it'd be interesting to kind of, you know, to see how, you know, that scales to your business and, and, and whether or not you see an impact going forward as students' debts, you know, start to, um, really pick back up.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I think the ones that we've found where our users get into the most trouble, it's more of the unsecured debt and especially kind of the double digit, the higher interest ones. Yes.

And you see now with the interest rates rising that even, you know, those credit card fees can get in and interest rates can get even higher. And so those are the ones that I think usually are kind of the gotchas for them.

Yeah. They, they sneak up on you.

What, and what about you? Like, like, it sounds like, um, like, like what are, what are the areas where your, where your customers need to watch out?

Um, I, I think for the most part, our customers are really focused on, on, you know, preparing for retirement. Um, and so we try to really focus on making sure that we've got the building blocks in place to be able to, to get them to that end goal. Um, and so, yeah. Yeah.

Well, it was great, uh, meeting you, Brian. This is a lot of fun. Yeah.

Maybe next time we'll have a sunnier day. We'll be up there on the lift.

Do it on the lift. Yes. Awesome.

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