Financial literacy is a lifelong pursuit. Every April, I make it a priority to remind people of that as we recognize Financial Literacy Month.
From ramping up financial literacy education, to ensuring that the choices involved with major decisions are transparent, throughout my time in Congress, I’ve worked to help Americans get the tools they need to foster financial success, because whether it’s a child deciding whether or not to spend her allowance or someone planning for retirement, financial decisions are required at every stage of life.
Unfortunately, too often our schools aren’t equipping students with the knowledge they need to handle finances, and so folks are left to find other resources and educate themselves. That’s why I co-chair the House Financial and Economic Literacy Caucus.
The mission of our bipartisan caucus is to connect every American with the resources and education needed to navigate their finances. We focus on the importance of planning, regularly contributing to a savings account, and implementing a retirement plant. Just sharing information on these topics can set future generations on the path to be self-sufficient.
For many, that information and financial literacy starts at home with modeling good habits for our children.
As children grow up, one of the first major financial decisions they make is what to do after they graduate from high school.
The reality is that education is one of the most expensive investments someone will make in their lifetime. Students need more information to help make the right choice for their unique goals.
Frankly, if folks can have endless information when purchasing a home, or buying a car, Americans deserve the same transparency when making a choice about education after high school.
The lack of information means that many students are taking on debt they can’t pay off, partly because the current college reporting system doesn’t provide the facts they need about things like graduation rates and starting salaries for graduates with certain degrees.
I introduced the College Transparency Act to address this issue. By increasing transparency, we can help students understand their earning potential after graduation and make decisions about the amount of debt they are willing to take on to go to college.
Shortly after I graduated from The Ohio State University, I bought my first home, and I remember the mix of excitement and apprehension that I felt making that investment. That’s why I worked with Representative Joyce Beatty to introduce the Housing Financial Literacy Act.
This bill, which passed the House, would give first-time homebuyers a discount on their mortgage insurance premium if they took HUD-certified counseling course. That means that perspective buyers will have a better understanding of the commitment they are making and how to handle the financial challenges that come with being a homeowner.
By taking charge of your own finances, you can improve your own financial well-being and set yourself up for success.
If you have any questions or comments about this or other issues facing our federal government, you can call my office in Washington, D.C. at (202) 225-2015 or in Wilmington at (937) 283-7049.
Steve Stivers (R-Upper Arlington) represents Ohio’s 15th District in the U.S. House of Representatives.