I am honored to share my thoughts on the topic of education, a subject for which I have a great passion. Education can be defined as the “formal process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills, customs, and values from one generation to another.” Education has always been a high priority in my life because of the values instilled in me by my parents, as well as the sacrifices made by many before them which have afforded unlimited educational opportunities today.

My father supported our family of ten through an Air Force career as an aircraft mechanic. My mother was a homemaker and sewing machine operator. While neither completed college, both established high educational standards for us. My parents also promoted an attitude of service. As a military family, this included service to our country, of course, but it also meant service to our family, church, and community. We were taught to leverage our education, resources, and skills to support ourselves and help others.

I have enjoyed a long career in housing finance and have had the opportunity of helping many achieve homeownership. I also have appreciated the privilege to learn from some incredible, inspirational people along the way and look for ways to share the lessons I have learned with others.

One of the lessons I like to share relates to the “three C’s of credit,” which credit professionals consider when determining whether to extend credit: character, capacity, and collateral. The “three C’s” are important foundational principles in financial education that everyone should be aware of, but they also can be applied to the following life principles:

Character– Be your word. Be prepared to work hard to reach your goals. Don’t be envious of what others have.

Capacity– Live within your means. Make a conscious decision to have reserves in every aspect of your life.

Collateral/Capital– Be willing to invest your resources and put “skin in the game” to reach your goals. You may not think you have much, but cherish what you have.

As our country continues to work through the financial crisis, it is important to make financial education readily available and accessible, as well as to find new ways to share resources and collaborate. The greatest gift of education is the ability to share it. I encourage everyone to make a positive difference by finding his or her own way to share what they have learned with others.