Educator Spotlight: Somya Munjal Achieves Success by Investing in the Next Generation
Being able to help people gain a solid financial education is truly a dream come true for Somya Munjal, founder and Managing Director of Youthful Savings. Through her collaboration with the various organizations, Munjal has found a way to translate her passions into a career.
Munjal finds her primary motivation for teaching financial literacy in her desire to help others. Her work allows her to connect with other humans on a deeper level than she could within corporate America. According to Somya, proper money management is essential to a person’s wellbeing. Teaching people personal finance lessons at a young age ensures them happier, more successful lives, not only for themselves but for their loved ones too.
The main goal of Youthful Savings is to disrupt the cycle of poverty. “If we can teach the next generation how to manage their money and avoid common debt traps,” Munjal says, “we can create a better tomorrow and avoid past mistakes.” While mainly serving higher-income families and businesses, the enterprise donates 10% of all its earnings toward youth college scholarships—a policy Munjal views as an investment in the next generation.
Although Munjal always knew she had a passion for helping people with money management, “I did not know where to begin before I reached out the NFEC,” she says. Prior to establishing Youthful Savings—a social enterprise operating under the tag line Save, educate, and create—Somya worked for large corporations as a CPA. “I knew I had a financial background, but did not know how to leverage that into a career that I was passionate about. The National Financial Educators Council provided the training and guidance that supported my desire to serve others.”
A Program that Works
As an NFEC Certified Financial Educator and member of the Personal Finance Speakers Association, Munjal has applied the NFEC financial education model to reach out to her community and create a successful program. Youthful Savings applies its save, educate, and create philosophy to provide holistic financial solutions to the community. The organization uses the NFEC curriculum in most of its large group programs.
Here’s how the Youthful Savings program works:
Save. They help small businesses and individuals maximize revenues by providing accounting and tax services.
Educate. The organization offers college and financial planning in dedicated one-on-one counseling sessions.
Create. In collaboration with its dedicated partners, Youthful Savings creates and delivers innovative youth financial and entrepreneurship programs.
In addition, the enterprise has recently started My Own Challenge, a program that challenges young people to create and operate their own businesses. In partnership with a bank, Youthful Savings helps youth set up college savings plans and learn basic financial education and entrepreneurial skills. At the end of the challenge, the group or individual that has saved the largest proportion of earnings receives a college scholarship. The course is available in a consolidated six-week online format as well as in person.
Feedback from participants in Youthful Savings courses has been overwhelmingly positive. The program has a proven track record for touching lives and giving back to the community.
Challenges Met and Overcome
The main obstacle Munjal faced when starting out was convincing people that financial education was meaningful. “Creating and showing our value is always the biggest challenge,” she states, “but also the most important.” Talking to the community, constantly seeking avenues for leveraging services, and building partnerships represent Munjal’s methods for overcoming this challenge. SugarTime Sports Agency and PNC Bank are examples of Youthful Savings partners, a complete list of which can be found at www.youthfulsavings.com.
Somya has always known helping people was the gift she had to give the world, and she lets no obstacle stand in the way of her true passion.
Youthful Savings does 60% of its business in accounting consultation with small businesses. Building entrepreneurship is the core of the organization’s business model. They earn the other 40% of revenue through youth programs—one-on-one college counseling and after-school courses.
The organization seeks to grow as much as possible over the next few years, expanding from its New York City headquarters into satellite offices across the country. Their model is based on the notion that the more they succeed, the more the next generation succeeds.
Advice for Others
Munjal’s primary advice to others who share her passion for financial wellness is to invest in themselves. “Finance is a core to the way our world operates. Understanding and tackling the pitfalls that come with finance is essential to our wellbeing. Invest in yourself and you’ll see a world of difference not only in your life but in the lives of those you love.”
Somya Munjal began blogging about financial literacy in 2010. She paid her way through a BS, Masters of Accountancy, and MBA in International Business by gaining scholarships and working as many as three jobs. She is a firm believer in education as an agent for change.
Having worked for large firms and corporations, Munjal’s real passion is investing in youth. She founded Youthful Savings in 2012 as a social enterprise with a clear mission for developing the human spirit through essential financial education and life skills training—one educated, happy youth at a time.
Youthful Savings is committed to empowering communities with financial education services through tax preparation/planning, college/life planning, and creating and delivering innovative after-school and summer programs for youth.