Today, Congressman David Scott (D-GA) was joined by Reps. Steve Stivers (R – OH-15) and Madeleine Dean (D-PA-4) in introducing H.R. 6012, bipartisan legislation to improve access to financial education for consumers. The Consumer Financial Education and Empowerment Act would create a grant program within the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to facilitate financial education programs in schools, libraries, nonprofits, and other similar organizations. These grants would provide for both direct classroom education, as well as the instruction of financial education trainers.
“Unfortunately, many consumers today, especially our young people, struggle with decisions around basic financial planning, saving, and investing,” said Congressman Scott. “This lack of education often leaves consumers vulnerable to potentially avoidable financial pitfalls.”
Scott added, “My bill, the Consumer Financial Education and Empowerment Act, will provide vital financial education, thus allowing consumers to protect and empower themselves to make better informed decisions regarding their personal finances and improve their overall financial well-being.”
"The key to long term success for our nation lies in our young people, our future leaders, which is why it’s so important that we provide them the tools to take control of their financial success,” said Congressman Stivers. “I look forward to continue working with Representative Scott, and our colleagues, to get this legislation across the finish line. Efforts like this to improve financial literacy are crucial in equipping folks in Ohio’s 15th District and nationwide with the education they need to set themselves up for a secure financial future.”
"No matter the age, everyone benefits from robust financial literacy programs - from learning how to save to understanding retirement plans, this type of education is at the core of financial well-being," said Congresswoman Dean. "I'm pleased to join Rep. Scott in introducing this important bill - which will expand consumer access to these vital programs."
A 2018 report by the Federal Reserve showed that 40 percent of Americans do not have adequate savings to cover an unexpected $400 expense. Of that 40 percent, 27 percent would have to borrow or carry a balance on credit cards, and 12 percent would not be able to pay the expense at all.
“Financial well-being”, as defined by the CFPB, is “a state of being reflecting a person’s ability to meet current and ongoing financial obligations, feel secure in their financial future, and make choices that allow enjoyment of life.” An analysis of the 2016 CFPB National Financial Well-being Survey found that even small amounts of liquid savings correlate positively with a person’s financial well-being. Additionally, research shows that financial education can help consumers build skills like day-to-day money management, planning, and habits of savings so they can achieve better financial outcomes, even within the context of their circumstances.
Leading organizations also supporting H.R. 6012 are AARP and the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy.