A Brighter Future for Canadian Youth with Support from Sun Life Financial

A Brighter Future for Canadian Youth with Support from Sun Life Financial
Sun Life Financial to Join Junior Achievement to Promote Youth Financial Literacy across Canada

TORONTO, Sept. 9 /CNW/ - Less than half of young Canadians know how to create a budget, and less than a third believe that they make good spending decisions. These alarming facts prompted Sun Life Financial to enter into a national partnership with the largest in-school financial literacy training organization in Canada, Junior Achievement.

Sun Life Financial will provide Junior Achievement of Canada (JA Canadaâ„¢) with $94,000 to sponsor the JA Dollars with Sense financial literacy program for the 2010/11 school year. The Dollars with Sense program is delivered by business volunteers to more than 37,000 middle school students across Canada each year.

"At Sun Life, we believe that an effective strategy for financial literacy starts with our youth. We are excited to play a role in educating the new generation of leaders and helping to address this issue head-on," says Kevin Dougherty, President, Sun Life Financial Canada. In working with Junior Achievement, an organization that has demonstrated several decades of commitment to financial literacy, I am confident we will be able to help students manage their finances more effectively now and in the future."

Dollars with Sense equips students with the essential personal money management skills that will lead to sound financial decision making throughout their lives. The program, designed for junior high school students, teaches them the basics of saving, budgeting and making informed decisions about how to spend their money. Along with an investment strategies game to challenge them, these young people learn that reaching future goals can only happen through smart financial planning and intelligent investing.

The grant will support material production and delivery of the Dollars with Sense program. Sun Life Financial employee volunteers will participate directly in the program delivery, training students while improving their own public speaking and presentation skills. A portion of the funds will be used to develop online learning tools for both the students and their parents. JA Canada and Sun Life are hoping to reach a broader audience beyond the classroom with these online tools.

Research notes that young people do not receive training on these essential skills on a consistent basis across the country. As well, young adults are often carrying heavy debt loads from schooling or personal overspending. A 2008 Environics study found that half of the youth surveyed feel their debt levels are far too high, with the implication that many are drowning in debt.

"Junior Achievement is thrilled to be partnered with Sun Life Financial, as they have always been a leader in the promotion of financial literacy," says Ross Maund, President and CEO, JA Canada. "The Dollars with Sense program will undoubtedly help students increase their savings, reduce personal debt, and make sound investment decisions. Working with Sun Life, we truly believe that we can give young people the tools they need to become the responsible citizens that Canada needs to ensure our future prosperity."

About JA Canadaâ„¢ (Junior Achievement of Canada)
For over 50 years, Junior Achievement learning experiences have helped young Canadians discover financial literacy, entrepreneurial and work readiness skills so they can achieve their highest potential as citizens of our global community. Across Canada, Junior Achievement reaches over 237,000 students annually with 13,000 dedicated business mentors in over 400 communities delivering a suite of eight national programs. Since 1955, almost 3.8 million Canadian youth have participated in our business learning experiences free-of-charge. JA Canada is part of Junior Achievement Worldwide, which operates in 123 countries and serves 10 million students a year. For more information please visit www.jacan.org.

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. As of June 30, 2010, the Sun Life Financial group of companies had total assets under management of $434 billion. For more information please visit www.sunlife.com.

Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.