WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Tim Scott (R-SC), Jack Reed (D-RI), and Doug Jones (D-AL), co-chairs of the financial literacy caucus, introduced a resolution declaring April as Financial Literacy Month in effort to highlight the importance of learning and maintaining healthy financial habits. According to a 2017 report by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), approximately 25 percent of households in the United States are unbanked or underbanked and have limited or no access to savings, lending, and other basic financial services. Financial literacy empowers individuals to make wise financial decisions and reduces the difficulty of making decisions in an increasingly complex economy.
The resolution was cosponsored by Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), John Boozman (R-AR), Mike Braun (R-IN), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Carper (D-DE), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Patty Murray (D-WA), Gary Peters (D-MI), David Perdue (R-GA), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Jon Tester (D-MT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Todd Young (R-IN).
“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.”
"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,” said Senator Reed.
“In our increasingly complex economy, financial literacy is more crucial than ever. From taking out loans for a college education to starting a business, it’s critical that Americans have the tools necessary to make smart financial decisions. It’s appropriate that the Senate recognized the importance of financial literacy by passing this resolution today,” said Senator Doug Jones, co-chair of the Financial Literacy Caucus.
“Maintaining and establishing healthy and effective financial habits is an issue that affects countless people not only in Indiana but across the country. As I travel across the state, Hoosiers consistently raise financial security as an area of concern” said Senator Young. “By designating April as Financial Literacy Month, I hope to highlight the necessary skills and available tools to make informed and effective decisions with financial resources.”
“Personal financial education helps prepare individuals to manage their money, credit and debt, and it serves as a cornerstone of consumer protection,” said Senator Crapo. “Financial Literacy Month highlights the many different resources available to help Americans contemplate ways to increase financial soundness and boost the quality of life for our families.”
“Financial literacy, just like standard literacy, is fundamental to successfully navigating our world,” Senator Enzi said. “Financial education is all about having the information to plan for your future and the tools to understand the risks and rewards. The more financially literate people are, the better off our country will be.”
“As a business owner, I know financial literacy is essential to empowering Americans to make the best decisions for themselves and their families,” said Senator Mike Braun. “It’s essential that Americans have the financial education needed to confidently maintain a household budget, manage credit cards, or start their own business.”
“Increasing financial literacy will empower Arkansans and all Americans to make smart financial decisions, which will mean positive benefits for individuals, families and our economy,” said Senator Boozman. “Too many of us simply do not know how to maintain healthy financial habits, and I am hopeful that through promotion of Financial Literacy Month we can stem that tide. I’m proud to support this resolution and will continue to work to raise awareness about the importance of informed financial decision-making.”
“Economics and finance can have a significant impact when it comes to making everyday decisions,” Senator Capito said. “Whether it’s taking out student loans, buying a car, raising a family, or saving up for retirement, financial literacy is so important when it comes to helping individuals build a strong foundation for a successful future. I am proud to co-sponsor this resolution to raise financial literacy awareness and—hopefully—help more Americans lead a successful and financially stable life.”
“It is essential that people have the financial literacy skills that they need to make important financial decisions – like how to pay for college, when they should buy a home, and how to save for retirement,” said Senator Hassan. “Designating April as ‘Financial Literacy Month’ will bring awareness to the importance of a fundamental, but unfortunately, undervalued skillset that will help Granite Staters and Americans make smart financial decisions.”
“Lack of experience or knowledge on financial decisions can prevent Montanans from confidently making good decisions about their finances,” Tester said. “I am happy to designate April as Financial Literacy Month to help folks more confidently make major purchases, invest in their educations, start a business, or save money.”
“Learning healthy habits is crucial for long-term financial security,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Financial Literacy Month is about giving families the tools and knowledge needed to take control of their financial futures.”
“A lack of basic financial knowledge can have disastrous consequences for an individual’s personal success,” Wicker said. “This resolution supports efforts to empower Americans to make informed decisions about their financial future.”
“At a time when predatory practices aimed at scamming Michiganders have become increasingly sophisticated, improving financial literacy is all the more critical,” said Senator Peters. “Expanding financial literacy opportunities will put more individuals and families on a better path to buy a car, own a home or pay off student debt.”
“This resolution brings attention to the need for Americans to be more familiar with their personal finances. High school students in Mississippi and around the country would benefit from strong financial literacy programs that also help adults better understand taxes, mortgages, retirement savings and the importance of their financial choices,” Hyde-Smith said.
“Both of my parents were schoolteachers, and I’ve been involved in numerous literacy programs throughout my career,” said Senator David Perdue. “Financial literacy programs, like those taught in Georgia’s high schools, help open doors to brighter futures, and are proven to result in higher credit scores and lower default rates. By recognizing April as ‘Financial Literacy Month,’ we are encouraging others to adopt strong standards for financial literacy and raise awareness to the importance of a personal financial education.”
Below are highlights from the senator’s previous legislation: