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In Support of H. Res. 172: Supporting the Goals and Ideals of National Financial Literacy Month

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. HINOJOSA. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of House Resolution 172, supporting the goals and ideals of National Financial Literacy Month, 2013. I would like to thank my four co-sponsors of the bill, Mr. STEVE STIVERS of Ohio, my new co-chair for the Financial and Economic Literacy Caucus, Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON of Texas, Ms. TERRI SEWELL, of Alabama, and Mr. MATT CARTWRIGHT of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Speaker, personal financial literacy is essential to ensure that individuals are prepared to manage money, credit, and debt, and become responsible workers, heads of households, investors, entrepreneurs, business leaders, and citizens. Financial literacy has been linked to lower delinquency rates for mortgage borrowers, higher participation and contribution rates in retirement plans, improved spending and saving habits, higher net worth, and positive knowledge, attitude, and behavior changes. Expanding access to the mainstream financial system provides individuals with lower-cost and safer options for managing finances and building wealth and is likely to lead to increased economic activity and growth.

According to the newly released study from Girl Scouts of the USA, "Having It All: Girls and Financial Literacy,'' ninety percent of girls say it is important for them to learn how to manage money. However just twelve percent say they feel confident in making financial decisions. They are also products of how the world has changed, as many distrust large financial institutions and think that debt is a normal part of life. Young people look to their parents for guidance on money issues. Unfortunately, too many parents themselves are choosing to opt out of the financial mainstream, for a number of reasons. According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, at least 28.3 percent of households in the United States are unbanked or underbanked and, subsequently, have missed opportunities for savings, lending, and basic financial services. According to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, 39 percent of adults in the United States report that they have no savings. For families to be able to emerge out of poverty, these statistics must change. Financial literacy is the key to social mobility in America.

In February 2005, then-Congresswoman Judy Biggert of Illinois and I co-founded, and currently co-chair, the Financial and Economic Literacy Caucus, FELC, to provide a forum for interested Members of Congress to work in collaboration with the Financial Literacy and Education Commission, highlight public and private sector best practices, and organize and promote financial literacy legislation, seminars, and events, such as Financial Literacy Month and the annual Financial Literacy Day Fair on the Hill that is being held today, April 26, 2013, in the Cannon Caucus Room.

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