Over the years I have seen society struggle with repairing the disparity in housing amongst the races. The perception is that if lenders just stopped their conscious or unconscious biases everyone would be at equal footing. The CFPB was born and billions in fines were levied; yet minority homeownership is at its widest gap (30 percent) since 1968 passage of the Fair Lending Act!
We need financial coaching to fix this. Currently we teach a class on home ownership, give a certificate and a grant and this optimistic family can by the house. But then the boiler goes, they lose one of their jobs, life happens and payments get missed.
The answer is to create an AmeriCorps of financial educators, tapping into our aging population who have endless economic wisdom and mixing in recent college grads who bring enthusiasm and technology.
Just like weight loss, the only programs that will help are long–time, committed coaching programs that give clear rules and guidance with coaching. Tax credits would be earned by those benefitting in the program and by those teaching in it. $2,500 for single $5,000 for married couple annually if they stay in the program and their FICO scores do not drop.
The educators would be at the stages of life when they are looking for a greater purpose. They could use financial benefit by either having their college debt paid off as part of federal loan program or are looking for tax breaks or medical credits. So, beyond minimal wage, the government could add those credits to keep the jobs attractive for quality people who want to give back.
Many older Americans have financial experiences and wisdom from making mistakes and adapting to changes is an untapped resource that can power millions of lives.
— Brian Kloss is the executive vice president of national production at The Mortgage Network Inc., in Danvers
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