In a major step forward in advancing systemic change in the financial sector, retirement company Voya Financial, one of the leading retirement plan providers in the U.S., has joined BlackRock’s Emergency Savings Initiative. Voya will collaborate with the national nonprofit Commonwealth, an industry expert partner in BlackRock’s Emergency Savings Initiative, to provide tools and opportunities for individuals to save more for their future and build greater financial stability. Voya is the first recordkeeper to join the Initiative, providing unparalleled access for millions of working Americans to the Initiative’s leading innovations and solutions that support broader holistic workplace wellness needs.
Retirement recordkeepers and workplace retirement savings are a significant opportunity to advance emergency savings, as industry data shows more than 58 million Americans participate in 401(k) plans. Voya’s platform alone reaches over 6.1 million retirement plan participants.
Providing access to emergency savings opportunities can allow working individuals to avoid tapping their retirement funds for unexpected expenses and reduces employee financial stress. According to data from Voya’s retirement plan participants, individuals with inadequate emergency funds are 13 times more likely to take a hardship withdrawal from their retirement account.1 Voya research also found an increased interest in saving as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as 62% of Americans note they plan to save more money to cover possible unexpected expenses given their experiences with COVID-19.2 Financial insecurity affects employers as well. Nine in ten US employees report that COVID-19 is causing stress on their personal finances and research shows that stress costs employers $250 billion per year.
“We recognize that individuals today face competing needs and financial priorities now more than ever before, but we also understand the important role emergency savings can have in keeping one’s retirement intact,” said Jeff Cimini, SVP, Retirement Product Management at Voya Financial. “As employees are increasingly looking toward their employers for support with their broader health and wellness needs, it’s important to focus on ways to make the most out of workplace savings. Our collaboration with Commonwealth and BlackRock’s Emergency Savings Initiative can help to provide new opportunities for working individuals to save more for the future.”
“Voya acts as a recordkeeper for more than 51,000 employers, providing an opportunity to scale worker emergency savings and financial security on a wide scale,” said Commonwealth Co-Founder and Executive Director Timothy Flacke. “As American workers face ongoing economic hardship and an increasingly urgent savings crisis, these changes to the financial system infrastructure will provide a critical foundation to financial security for all Americans. Large-scale partnerships like this one can deliver proven emergency savings innovations to millions of workers at scale.”
BlackRock’s Emergency Savings Initiative has made a $50 million commitment to help millions of people living on low and moderate incomes gain access to and increase usage of proven savings strategies and tools.
“We launched BlackRock’s Emergency Savings Initiative to make savings easier and more accessible for low- and moderate-income workers,” said BlackRock’s Global Head of Social Impact and President of the BlackRock Foundation, Deborah Winshel. “We are proud to welcome Voya to the Initiative, a clear milestone on our path to advancing emergency savings solutions at scale.”
1Voya Financial internal retirement plan participant data, adequate emergency fund is defined as 3+ months of living expenses (Feb. 2020).
2 Voya Financial survey conducted through Ipsos on the Ipsos eNation omnibus online platform among 1,004 adults aged 18+ in the U.S. (including 534 who are currently working). Research was conducted Nov. 19-20, 2020.
About BlackRock’s Emergency Savings Initiative
BlackRock announced a $50 million philanthropic commitment to help millions of people living on low to moderate incomes gain access to and increase usage of proven savings strategies and tools – ultimately helping them establish an important safety net. The size and scale of the savings problem requires the knowledge and expertise of established industry experts that are recognized leaders in savings research and interventions on an individual and corporate level. Led by its Social Impact team, BlackRock is partnering with innovative industry experts Common Cents Lab, Commonwealth, and the Financial Health Network to give the initiative a comprehensive and multilayered approach to address the savings crisis. Payroll providers, recordkeepers, employers and fintechs have joined BlackRock’s Emergency Savings Initiative to help their employees and customers take the essential first step toward long-term financial well-being.
Commonwealth is a national nonprofit building financial security and opportunity for financially vulnerable people through innovation and partnerships to change systems. Black, Latinx and Female-led households disproportionately experience financial insecurity due in large part to longstanding, systemic racism and gender discrimination. Commonwealth’s collaborations with consumers, the financial services industry, fintechs, employers, policymakers and mission-driven organizations result in solutions that are grounded in real life and based on a deep understanding of financially vulnerable people. Commonwealth has designed effective innovations, products, and policies enabling over 750,000 people to accumulate more than $3 billion in savings. For more information, visit buildcommonwealth.org.
About Voya Financial®
Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), helps Americans plan, invest and protect their savings — to get ready to retire better. Serving the financial needs of approximately 13.8 million individual and institutional customers in the United States, Voya is a Fortune 500 company that had $7.5 billion in revenue in 2019. The company had $657 billion in total assets under management and administration as of Sept. 30, 2020. With a clear mission to make a secure financial future possible — one person, one family, one institution at a time — Voya’s vision is to be America’s Retirement Company®. Certified as a “Great Place to Work” by the Great Place to Work® Institute, Voya is equally committed to conducting business in a way that is socially, environmentally, economically and ethically responsible. Voya has been recognized as a 2020 World’s Most Admired Company by Fortune magazine; one of the 2020 World’s Most Ethical Companies® by the Ethisphere Institute; as a member of the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index; and as a “Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion” on the Disability Equality Index by Disability:IN. For more information, visit voya.com. Follow Voya Financial on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter @Voya.