October 26th, 2007
07:40 PM ET
15 years ago

Biden: 'I don't own a single share of stock'

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

Filed under: Joe Biden • New Hampshire
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. KD Pittsburgh PA

    A lot of great points already made. I happen to admire and like Joe Biden. But, the heart of the issue is finacial literacy, credit, and American Greed. At 27 years old and a Grad student, I still manage to contribute (small) to my IRA and my ING savings account. Is this hard? No. Do I come from a rich family? More like middle-class with parents with only high school education. I also ran up my credit card debt in college despite sound advice from my parents. My point: Anyone can learn to be financially literate; there are books by Bach and Orman that are easy and entertaining to read. The Problem: How do you reach Americans to read them rather than watching American Idol or the mishaps of Britney and Paris?

    October 28, 2007 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  2. C. K. Justus TN

    I got into stock market in 1992 for I had very little money in the bank and I was getting too close to retirement with what I had,
    Thank the lord for Bill Clinton and his policies of that changed the previous 12 years of the fat cats running the country and making the dollar worth less every day by the BORROW AND SPEND and leave the debts to our children.
    I did ten times better than I thought I would and more than doubled what money I had while Clinton was president.
    Then the dam broke when the idiot we have was declared president by Rhenquist and company.
    Before I had sense enough to get out, I had lost a third of what we had. I got out or all but those 3 or 4 stocks that did not tank and put my money in CD's. I started looking for the highes paying CD's regardless of what bank they were in within 20 miles of where we live and still do that.
    When a CD's comes due I look for the highest interest rate for the longest period of time. If you look for the highest interest rate, you can bet the banks already know it is going ot fall it is for a short time limit.
    They raise interest rates for the short terms when they know or are pretty sure rate will fall in the future. They will raise the long term rates if they think the interest rates will begin to rise and the rates go higher.
    I play the best rates for the longest period of time in 95 percent of the cases.
    I will go the other way if a band really gives a high rate for at least a couple of years.
    There are no management fees, brokerage fees, or selling fees. So if you can get 5 percent or better and not have to pay any of those fees, you would need to get about 7 percent to match your CD's.

    October 28, 2007 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  3. Steve Sumter, SC

    I don't own stock either but I will gladly exchange financial portfolios with him, just tell me when!

    October 28, 2007 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  4. Joe

    Steve..you don't own stock, but you would gladly exchange financial portfolios's with him?

    October 29, 2007 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  5. spinstopper

    I don't own stocks and yet here I am, after 30 yesrs of serving America, a multi-millionaire. Hmmmm......

    October 29, 2007 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  6. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca

    Joe – you must have have NO understanding of the difference between STOCKS (ownership) and BONDS (debtor):

    If you ever want to have a voice in how a company is doing business – you become a stock-holder. People who own bonds do not get voting rights and are simply a debtor of the company.

    But I guess when you live your life in Washington you forget these things since you feel you can control companies from your seat in Congress.

    Next time, Joe, take Finance 101 before running for the Presidency.

    October 29, 2007 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  7. Jim, Columbus, OH

    So Biden must be among the 3% or 4% of Americans who don't buy stock. That will probably reflect his polling percentages. What is he suggesting, that we all dump our stock holdings and let him manage our money? Even if there were a way to keep pace with inflation not buying stock, would it be a wise decision? Biden has always come across as a holier-than-thou grandstander, not the upright man of humble origins that he seems to see himself as. Buying stock has become a middle class activity and one that is near as you can get to democracy in financial markets. Wake up senator!

    October 29, 2007 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  8. Rick, Kansas City, MO

    I get that he was trying to show how "uncorrupted" he is and such, but it just shows that he has no brains when it comes to managing his personal finances. Anyone with a 401(k) has an investment in the stock market, in some form. I certainly don't want to trust him with the budget. He is likely to do even worse than Bush has done.

    October 30, 2007 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
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