At Financial Symmetry we are in constant pursuit of our mission to enhance today and enrich tomorrow for our clients and communities through empowerment, education, and guidance toward financial prosperity. That is why we are excited to announce our partnership with 3rd Decade. 3rd Decade is an independent non-profit that has helped nearly 1,000 young adults across the country improve their lives dramatically, and Financial Symmetry is proud to be a new partner bringing the program to young people in North Carolina. The program teaches important concepts such as budgeting, saving and retirement planning. After completing classes, participants get professional financial coaching for two years.
Founded in 2016, 3rd Decade is now expanding nationally and setting some ambitious goals. It aims to educate thousands of young adults a year across the nation and support them in their journey towards financial freedom with information and advice from blogs and podcasts. Dimensional Fund Advisors and the Charles Schwab Foundation recently stepped up to provide significant financial and practical support for the program.
3rd Decade is a rarity among financial literacy programs because:
- It is free – and there’s no pitch at the end to sell investments or services.
- The program’s target demographic is also not typically seen in traditional financial literacy programs – young adults of moderate means who are just starting their careers and who typically wouldn’t have access to traditional financial planning.
- 3rd Decade effectively pays young people to participate. Those who successfully complete the coursework and pass a final exam get $1,000 deposited into a Roth IRA.
- The $1,000 is not only an incentive but also a teaching tool. Using their own Roths, participants learn how to invest, including the critical principle of compounding.
To qualify, applicants must be between the ages of 20 to 35, fully employed, and must rent or own a home. Their annual income is generally between $35,000 and $75,000. This, research shows, is the sweet spot for teaching financial concepts. Participants are most eager to learn when they’re juggling adult responsibilities and stretching paychecks to cover the bills.
3rd Decade is unique in a vital way. Every participant gets free financial coaching for two years. This mentorship is the real magic in the program. Financial Mentors help participants practice budgeting and develop new habits that promote saving instead of spending. These coaches also offer large doses of compassionate financial therapy. In some families, money is a taboo topic shrouded in secrecy and shame. Some participants are so overwhelmed with fear and guilt they can’t make prudent decisions.
In sponsoring 3rd Decade, Financial Symmetry recruited two employees who will work with participants of the program and act as their Financial Mentors over the two-year period. Garrick King and Christian Polanco have generously volunteered to donate their time and talent to the program.
Allison Berger says “We are excited to support financial education and empowerment in partnership with third decade. Helping inspire young professionals to invest early and often builds a strong foundation for long term financial success. Sponsoring 3rd Decade furthers our mission to enhance today and enrich tomorrow for our clients and communities. We are fortunate to have dedicated and generous employees like Garrick and Christian who are willing to volunteer as mentors for such a good cause.”
Garrick King says “When Allison let me know of the opportunity to work with 3rd Decade I jumped at it. I saw it not only as an opportunity to represent Financial Symmetry, but a way to use my knowledge from CFP® studying to help others around my age better understand their financial picture and help them toward their goals. It will also help me gain valuable experience that I can use when I get to the advisor level.”
Christian Polanco says “3rd Decade’s focus on empowering young adults through education and financial mentorship resonated with me and why I decided to be a financial planner. I thought this would be a great opportunity to help others feel more confident about their financial success and be a mentor to those who may be in a similar life stage as myself. If I’ve learned anything from life, it’s that money can bring feelings of anxiety for a lot of us. Sometimes, all we need is an affirming voice to tell us we’re on the right path or guide us in the right direction.”
3rd Decade is currently enrolling for 2021. If you or someone you know is eligible and would benefit from this transformational experience, please apply online.