Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware.
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) - Speaking before a crowd of senior citizens, Sen. Joe Biden, D-Delaware, acknowledged the need for increased financial literacy and emphasized that investing was also outside his comfort zone.
"I come from a working class family, my dad was a gentle, honorable man who was a wonderful fellow, high school educated," Biden said.
"When I went into college, I didn't know what a bond was or a stock or an investment, my dad didn't know. You never discussed it. I wasn't even sure what a mortgage was and I'm not a slow fellow. But it's your comfort level and what you're used to and how you're raised."
Biden also noted that he was one of the poorest men in Congress owing to a "stupid" decision he had made when he entered office.
"I made some very stupid judgments when I got elected. I promised I'd never own a stock or a bond because Nixon had all that trouble with what stocks he owned. Very smart thing for guy to promise," Biden said with disdain.
"The worst part is that in my neighborhood, a promise made is a promise kept. I've kept it for thirty years so guess what, lucky me, I don't own a single share of stock."
Biden's solutions to increase financial literacy include extensive early economic training before college and creating mandates for companies to provide automatic paycheck deductions into retirement accounts. Such mandates would allow employees the choice of whether to enroll in the program.
The forum, hosted by AARP was held in partnership with the New Hampshire members of "Divided We Fail," a coalition of AARP, business roundtable and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). So far, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut have also participated in the New Hampshire forums.
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- CNN New Hampshire Producer Sareena Dalla