Congressman Al Green Teaches Amigos Por Vida Students to Save and Spend Wisely

Apr 4, 2007 Issues: Education

(Houston, TX)--Today, Congressman Al Green (TX-09) joined Julie Cripe, president and Chief Operating Officer of OMNIBANK to give Amigos por Vida Charter School Students an interactive financial education lesson on the importance of savings and money management.  The "Teach Children to Save" presentation instructs children about the importance of saving, budgeting, distinguishing needs from wants, and helps develop a familiarity with banks.

Congressman Al Green told the students "your life’s work has already begun.  You are never too young to get a job done, just be sure to do your job well and not stop until it’s done."  He gave the children examples of how to make their money grow and shared with them the value of education and how higher education can increase their earnings.

During a visit last year, Congressman Al Green encouraged Amigos por Vida students in the audience to take $10 and open a savings account.  Today he followed-up with the students to see how they have used the money.  When asked by their Congressman whether or not they still had their $10, all of the children raised their hands.  Two of the children were able to grow their money. One eight year old girl collected cans and was able to increase her $10 savings to $50.  Another young boy was able to increase his $10 to $800 by doing household chores.

"Whether you’re talking about a college education or home ownership, a good savings habit is the difference between dreams and reality,” Congressman Al Green said.  “I strongly believe that a rising tide lifts all boats. By creating an educated and literate population, we strengthen our national economy and help everyone take a step closer to the American dream."

Currently, fewer than 10 states require a personal finance course for graduation, and many parents feel their own financial shortcomings leave them ill-equipped to teach their children.  This lack of financial education can lead to a life of financial missteps and unrealized dreams.  According to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, 66.7 percent of people obtaining pre-bankruptcy credit counseling cited poor money management as their reason for seeking bankruptcy protection.

According to the Consumer Federation of America, the young, poor and minorities are the least likely to have a separate emergency savings fund.  Only 31 percent of African Americans and 32 percent of Hispanic Americans have such a fund, compared to 40 percent across all demographics.

The 2006 Jump $tart Coalition financial literacy survey showed a gap in financial literacy between minority and non-minority students: In the most recent survey, white students scored an average of 55 percent while African Americans scored 44.7 percent and Hispanic Americans scored 46.8 percent. This lack of financial education has serious effects:  According to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, 66.7 percent of people obtaining pre-bankruptcy credit counseling cited poor money management as their reason for seeking bankruptcy protection.