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Rep. Young Kim

Mar 21, 2024 | Economy, Education, In The News

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Young Kim (CA-40) joined Rep. Joyce Beatty (OH-03) for a conversation with POLITICO on “Building Financial Literacy for All” ahead of Financial Literacy Month in April.  

Reps. Kim and Beatty are co-chairs of the Bipartisan Financial Literacy and Wealth Creation Caucus and serve on the House Financial Services Committee.  

Watch the full conversation HERE and read highlights below. 

On her background as an immigrant (WATCH) 

“I’m an immigrant from South Korea. I lived my younger – the first dozen – years of my entire life in South Korea, and I was born in the aftermath of the Korean War. So you can imagine just from that quick description the type of community and environment that I lived where individuals are not very familiar with financial literacy or investment or even having access to capital because we were just living in a different environment. My family emigrated to the United States not knowing a word of English […] and with the little money that we had that was pretty much nothing. We started with no money, but we just had a couple hundred dollars in our pockets. If we knew what we know today, my parents would have been able to get some access to capital to start up their first business or even know what resources are available. For immigrant communities that do not know much about what’s available, it is much more difficult, the difficulty is compounded by the language barriers too. So I think for a lot of immigrant communities we struggle to find ways to start our new lives. The way they did it was we got together, we brought information we knew from South Korea. That is, you get together in your own communities and each of you, let’s say there were 10 of us together, and if you’re able to put in $1,000 from one person, one of the 10 people will walk away with $10,000. Back then, it was a lot of money. It helped to start as a down payment to start your own small business. That’s how I got my first taste of what it’s like to help each other, lift one another in an immigrant community like us. And of course today, I get to serve in this capacity and really share the information that I know. I’m really excited about this.”  

On implementing financial literacy programs (WATCH) 

“On financial literacy, in the past when I started working with local banks, it was more about giving them a CD and a little pamphlet on how to create your small budget. They were going after the school students to teach them how to write checkbooks. That’s no longer the case. Who writes checkbooks these days, right? So we have changed over time how financial literacy should work so that you have a better understanding of what resources are available and you can create wealth. […] Whether it’s creating a budget, or expanding your savings and investing and understanding compound interest, for example, we’re teaching a lot of our students who are participating in, let’s say, SIFMA. I work closely with them in encouraging our local high school students in the Capitol Hill Challenge. I visit a lot of high school students who are actually going through the Hill Challenge. I’ve talked to them through this importance of understanding different types of investment tools that are out there. What is the difference between investing in stocks versus mutual funds, or CDs? That is really important to teach them early on. It’s not just in that area, but also whether it’s encouraging students from K-8, K-12 before they become adults and join us in the workforce in the different careers that you get in. Teaching them about these are very, very important.”  

On helping Americans grow credit (WATCH) 

“At the federal level, in a bipartisan way, what we did was we recognized there are people without credit. You can’t get capital to do anything to purchase a home. We introduced the [Credit] Access and Inclusion Act that allows anyone that is paying on a regular basis, without a beat, your cellphone bills, rent, utility bills. That will add to building your credit. So when you’re growing your credit, you’re growing your finance. That’s the kind of thing we are currently working on.” 

On the future of financial literacy in the U.S. (WATCH) 

“Because of our work, in a bipartisan way, it transcends any politics. Whoever is occupying the White House, regardless of the outcome, whoever is in control in the House of Representatives or the Senate, one thing is very clear: we want Americans to be able to have the tools and the resources they need so they can better prepare for future retirement, for better budgeting, understanding what resources are available to help them better guide their investment tool portfolio. Regardless of your background, or what zip code you live in, you should not be discriminated against any access to the capital just because you don’t know what resources are available. All Americans should be aware of finances so they can take better control of their future and live the American dream like me, like Ms. Beatty, like everyone who’s watching.”  

On growing the Financial Literacy Caucus (WATCH) 

 “Anyone who’s watching, especially because I know there are some staff members who are working for members on the Hill, we want to encourage you to talk to your members to join our Financial Literacy and Wealth Creation Caucus. We can help each other, educate our members’ offices, so we can take this conversation to all sectors of different parts of our country, whether it’s from my district in Southern California to Ms. Beatty’s district in Ohio, we want to take this on the road and we want to take you, private sector, financial industry folks who are interested in working with the members of Congress to make sure we expand the financial literacy efforts so we can make sure more Americans are educated on the resources and information that are available. We’re going to continue to work on bipartisan legislation, continue to draft and support policies toward that, and then we’re going to promote better coordination between private and public sectors.” 

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