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Leading financial services company and consumer advocate challenge
workers, students and employers to lead debt-free lives
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
Sun Life Financial Inc. (NYSE: SLF, TSX: SLF) today announced a powerful
partnership that marries the financial services company’s commitment to
advancing financial literacy education and workplace wellness with one
of the nation’s foremost financial literacy advocates to eradicate
America’s culture of debt.
dfree®, developed by Dr. DeForest B. Soaries Jr. and featured on the CNN
documentary, “Almighty Debt,” is an ambitious movement that aims to
emancipate American workers, students and employers from one of the
biggest challenges facing our country’s economic prosperity – the
crippling $2.635 trillion in U.S. consumer debt1.
Sun Life is partnering with dfree® to galvanize the public to overcome
this epidemic through the Breaking Free Workplace Tour, a public
awareness campaign that educates audiences across the country,
challenges them to pledge to lead debt free lives and provides a
solution through free financial literacy education training and tools.
The goal is to encourage consumers to become financially
self-sufficient, greatly improving their quality of life while helping
companies increase workplace productivity, morale and loyalty along the
The economic and societal costs associated with ill-informed financial
decisions and the resulting feelings of powerlessness can be
devastating. 76 percent of workers cite the state of their personal
finances as a major cause of stress2 leading to decreased
productivity and higher absenteeism.
“Debt is becoming embedded in our society and our partnership with
dfree® speaks to Sun Life’s commitment to reverse this trend by
encouraging financial self-sufficiency and empowerment,” said Sun Life
Financial U.S. President Wes Thompson. “Our goal is to help employers
and employees understand the causal relationship between financial
stability and health and prosperity, while providing them with the
knowledge and resources necessary to achieve financial freedom.”
Through the Breaking Free Workplace Tour, which will include
visits to select cities and to historically black colleges and
universities this fall, Sun Life and dfree® will help U.S. workers,
students and employers assess, pay down and manage debt through a
variety of user-friendly money management tools and resources. This
includes the Breaking Free Workbook, which will provide
participants with interactive activities and evaluation tools to help
them achieve financial self-sufficiency. People will also be encouraged
to join the Billion Dollar Challenge, a free grassroots campaign
started by Dr. Soaries to reduce consumer debt by a total of $1 billion.
The Challenge will be operated through a confidential,
password-protected web-based program, in which users can create and
track personal debt payment goals and form support groups.
Sun Life will roll out financial literacy training programming to all of
its U.S. based employees. As part of the program, each employee will
receive the Breaking Free Workbook and participate in interactive
training seminars led by Dr. Soaries. In addition, Sun Life will provide
its current and prospective clients throughout the U.S. with the
opportunity to offer dfree® programming to their employees.
“I have witnessed first-hand how debt and financial stress, particularly
in the workplace, can cause serious suffering and ill health, so I’m
excited to partner with a successful company like Sun Life that is
committed to financial wellness and security for all people – students,
families, workers and its own customers and employees,” said Dr.
Soaries. “Together, Sun Life and dfree® share a deep commitment to
helping low-income communities and individuals change their financial
futures through education, technology, new tools and mentoring. I look
forward to working together to spread our message and challenge more
people across the country to live debt-free lives.”
Dr. Soaries, who served as New Jersey’s 30th Secretary of State and
currently sits on the board of the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York,
first introduced dfree® to his 7,000-member congregation at First
Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, N.J. Soaries’ program
emphasizes living without debt, within your means and paying bills on
time: no debt, deficits or delinquencies. The pastor is specifically
focused on the predatory lending practices of the high-interest “payday
loan” businesses, and on the spiritual, health and community benefits of
economic empowerment and self-sufficiency.
In addition to providing support to Americans through the tour, Sun Life
will provide the free financial education curriculum to its Sun Life
Rising Star Awards program recipients. The company’s signature
philanthropy program, now in its third year, addresses low high school
graduation rates in large urban school districts by providing financial
resources and education to students and nonprofit organizations
committed to increasing success in high school and beyond, as well as
promoting financial literacy as a means to achieve life-long financial
wellness and stability.
About Sun Life Financial
Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services
organization providing a diverse range of protection and wealth
accumulation products and services to individuals and corporate
customers. Chartered in 1865, Sun Life Financial and its partners today
have operations in key markets worldwide, including Canada, the United
States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan,
Indonesia, India, China and Bermuda. In the United States and elsewhere,
insurance products are offered by members of the Sun Life Financial
group that are insurance companies. Sun Life Financial Inc., the holding
company for the Sun Life Financial group of companies, is a public
company. It is not an insurance company and does not offer insurance
products for sale in the United States or elsewhere, and does not
guarantee the obligations of its insurance company subsidiaries. In the
United States, Sun Life Financial provides a range of products and
services to employers and their employees. The U.S. Employee Benefits
Group Division of Sun Life Financial offers group and voluntary life,
disability, dental and stop-loss insurance products. These products are
issued by Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada in all states except New
York. In New York, these products are issued by Sun Life Insurance and
Annuity Company of New York. Product offerings may not be available in
all states and may vary depending on state laws and regulations. For
more information please visit www.sunlife.com/us.
Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and
Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.
In 2005, Dr. Soaries began a ministry at the First Baptist Church of
Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, NJ designed to help church members
eliminate their debt, pay their bills on time and live within their
means. After five years of using the dfree® strategy to motivate
families to use resources that facilitate financial freedom, Dr. Soaries
decided to share his strategy with the country in his book: dfree®:
Breaking Free from Financial Slavery. His goal is to help one
million families live a debt-free lifestyle. The dfree® strategy was
designed as a response to our culture of debt. It provides tools and
resources to help individuals and families become financially free. It
is a holistic strategy that makes it popular to pursue economic freedom.
It is delivered through education, celebration and support and is used
by churches, organizations and ordinary people with their friends. A
dfree® lifestyle gives us peace of mind, economic power and most of all;
it allows us the opportunity to focus on life’s real purpose and the
achievement of dreams without the distraction and burden of bills and
SLPC 24175 04/2012 (Exp. 04/2013)
1 The Federal Reserve Bank of New York Quarterly Report on
Household Debt and Credit, February 2012. Excludes mortgage and home
equity line of credit balances
2American Psychological Association 2011 Stress in America
Report, January 11, 2011.
Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available:http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50260033&lang=en
Sun Life FinancialAlexi Maravel, 781-446-1624[email protected]orelevateKeith
Gainsboro, 857-234-1481[email protected]
Source: Sun Life Financial Inc.