Senators tout benefits of financial education and teaching students about smart saving, wise investing, and responsible spending

WASHINGTON, DC — In an effort to highlight the importance of financial literacy and teaching things like budget planning and money management in schools, U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Tim Scott (R-SC) are introducing legislation recognizing April as Financial Literacy Month. 

Financial literacy is a key component to addressing many long-term challenges faced by American families nationwide.  The measure is being cosponsored by leading champions of financial literacy, including U.S. Senators: Doug Jones (D-AL), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Jon Tester (D-MT), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Tom Carper (D-DE), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Todd Young (D-IN), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

Recognized by the U.S. Senate since 2004, Financial Literacy Month is a national celebration of financial empowerment that raises awareness on the importance of financial education and providing resources to help Americans of all ages develop and maintain healthy financial habits.

Senator Reed, the co-Chair and co-founder of the Senate Financial Literacy Caucus, stated: “We need to encourage and support Americans in developing the knowledge and skills to be informed consumers and sound managers of their own financial lives, beginning at an early age and continuing through adulthood and retirement.  From managing a household budget to making major purchases, paying for college, starting a business, and laying the groundwork for a secure retirement, basic financial literacy is essential to success.  Unfortunately, too many Americans lack the information and experience needed to make informed financial decisions, and that’s something that can have implications for their children, local communities, and generations to come.  Raising awareness about the resources available to improve financial literacy is the first step on the path to a financially secure future.”

“We live in an America where there is a deep divide between many of our working class who live in distressed communities and the rest of the country,” said Senator Scott.  “Financial literacy is one of the bridges to closing these gaps and encouraging economic prosperity in our communities.  I am excited that I’ve been able to pass legislation that creates real tangible results for the American people.”

According to the 2018 “Survey of the States: Economic and Personal Finance Education in Our Nation’s Schools,” only 22 states currently require students to take an economics course as a high school graduation requirement; and only 17 states require students to take a personal finance course as a high school graduation requirement, either independently or as part of an economics course.

And the latest Gallup-HOPE Index notes only 57 percent of students in the United States have money in a bank or credit union account.

The bipartisan resolution notes: “expanding access to the safe, mainstream financial system will provide individuals with less expensive and more secure options for managing finances and building wealth;

Whereas quality personal financial education is essential to ensure that individuals are prepared—

(1) to manage money, credit, and debt; and

(2) to become responsible workers, heads of household, investors, entrepreneurs, business leaders, and citizens;

Whereas increased financial literacy—

(1) empowers individuals to make wise financial decisions; and

(2) reduces the confusion caused by an increasingly complex economy;

Whereas a greater understanding of, and familiarity with, financial markets and institutions will lead to increased economic activity and growth.”

Throughout the month of April, schools, libraries, non-profits, financial institutions, and businesses will host a variety of activities, events, and free workshops highlighting the importance of financial literacy and the benefits of financial education.