In 2008, State Treasurer John Perdue created partnerships—with citizens, businesses, and other government entities—to ensure that financial education programs and services would not only be available to the public, but most importantly, in the classroom. The cornerstone of the Treasurer’s financial education plan included a partnership with the State Board of Education to begin implementing his NetWorth program in kindergarten and continuing through all grade levels to produce financially literate high school graduates.
“The Nebraska Treasurer’s Office has announced a new streamlined system for banks, businesses and other organizations to report unclaimed property.
The new in-house method was developed by the Information Technology Division of the State Treasurer’s Office and became available Oct. 3, just in time for unclaimed property holders to meet the Nov. 1 deadline for turning over property whose owners cannot be located to the Treasurer’s Office.
Organizations, known as holders, can now create profiles, load records and submit reports without leaving the Treasurer’s website at https://treasurer.nebraska.gov/up/holder-reporting/. Holders have the option to manually enter property and owner information or use an Excel template to upload records. There is no charge to use the Treasurer’s reporting service.
In the past, holders had to use a third-party software or web developer to create their report files and submit them to the Nebraska Unclaimed Property Division. One of those third-party providers is now charging for the service.”
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“PROVIDENCE, R.I. — In the aftermath of an overhaul, Rhode Island’s CollegeBound savings programs won medal-level ratings this week from Morningstar, the Chicago data giant that tracks mutual funds, stocks and other investment securities.
Morningstar gave a silver rating to the CollegeBound Saver program and a bronze rating to CollegeBound 529 on Tuesday when it announced the best 529 college savings plans for 2016.
“The state overhauled both plans in July 2016, replacing former program manager AllianceBernstein with Invesco and Ascensus,” Morningstar wrote. “[CollegeBound Saver] offers extremely low fees for Rhode Island residents — the plan’s primary investors — earning it a Silver rating.”
Previously, Morningstar ranked the programs at the bottom among peers, due to high fees and poor investment performance, according to a news release issued by General Treasurer Seth Magaziner.
During his first year in office, Magaziner replaced AllianceBernstein and secured some of the lowest fees of any 529 plan in the nation for Rhode Islanders, the release says.”
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NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Association of State Treasurers and its affiliate, the College Savings Plans Network, urge the President and the Congress of the United States to pass these three bills (or substantially similar bills in subsequent Congresses) in a timely manner to enhance and expand opportunities for individuals with disabilities and their families to save for their future needs in ABLE programs.
Finding money you didn’t know you had is like discovering lost treasure. For many people, there’s treasure to be found in old, forgotten bank accounts.
Las Vegas resident Michael Catania was surprised when he plugged his name into MissingMoney.com , a website for unclaimed-property searches, and learned that Massachusetts was holding money for him from a forgotten bank certificate of deposit.
The adjunct music professor had lived in four states over the past decade, including Massachusetts, where he had opened the $1,500 CD that had long since matured.
“I’m embarrassed that I forgot about an account with that much money,” he says, “but I was moving around a lot and the bank didn’t know how to reach me.”
According to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, a group of state officers, nearly $42 billion is sitting in state coffers, having come from financial institutions and other businesses with dormant accounts. In addition to old bank accounts, the property often is from unclaimed insurance policies, uncashed paychecks and abandoned safe-deposit boxes.
Save for college and enjoy some tax breaks too.
Formally known as a qualified tuition program or QTP, a 529 plan is a tax-advantaged way to save money for college. The “529” refers to the section of the IRS tax code that authorized the plans back in 1996.
While you don’t get a federal income-tax deduction for your contributions to the plan, they may be deductible on your state tax return if you invest in the plan run by the state you live in.
What’s more, the earnings on your account will not be taxed by the federal government, or by many states, as long as you use the money to pay qualified educational expenses. Those generally include tuition, mandatory fees, room and board, and required books.
BOISE — IDeal, Idaho’s 529 college savings program, is celebrating its 15-year anniversary.
Created by the Idaho legislature and launched in 2001, the state-sponsored program has helped more than 37,500 families, the program announced Tuesday.
In total, there’s 1,842 accounts held in south-central Idaho. Here’s the breakdown by county: 718 in Twin Falls County, 117 in Jerome County, 15 in Lincoln County, 664 in Blaine County, six in Camas County, 169 in Cassia County, 81 in Gooding County and 72 in Minidoka County.
IDeal also offers a state tax deduction ($4,000 for single filers and $8,000 for married filers), and earnings are not subject to state or federal tax if used on qualified expenses.
Washington State is the latest state to adopt standards for financial education in K-12 schools, the Seattle Times reports.
The state’s new financial literacy standards were adopted earlier this month. They’re based on a national model created by the Council for Economic Education and cover topics such as credit and debt, employment and income, investing, risk management and insurance, and financial decisionmaking.
State Superintendent Randy Dorn told the Seattle Times that financial education is important for students: “They need to know what interest is, how to calculate taxes, when to begin investing. Giving them those tools may help us avert the next financial crisis.”
PORTLAND, Maine — September 30, 2016 — Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling, the Superintendent of Portland Public Schools Xavier Botana, and Ben Gilman, Senior Government Relations Specialist at Maine State Chamber of Commerce joined Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) CEO Bruce Wagner to announce a major statewide effort called Invest in ME 2030. This new effort is intended to have a lasting impact on the economic future of the state of Maine. The announcement was made during an education rally at Portland’s Deering High School with students from the high school, Longfellow Elementary School, and Lincoln Middle School. Supporters in attendance challenged everyone in the state to get involved to reach the goal. Prior to the announcements at Deering High School, students participated in financial education activities designed to help them think about their future and what education will be needed to pursue their career and life goals.
Wagner announced FAME’s Invest in ME goal: By 2030, all Maine families are saving for higher education and Maine will have one of the lowest average student loan debt rates in the nation.
Helping Maine’s 256,000+1 children actively save for higher education would help alleviate their need to borrow more later. About 64 percent of Maine college students graduate with debt and the average student loan debt per student in Maine is $30,908, putting Maine 7th highest2 in that regard when compared to other states.
“Today we want to draw statewide attention to the economic impact an under-educated workforce and growing student debt are having on our state and stress the importance of starting to save for college or any form of postsecondary education early,” said Ben
Gilman. “We chose Stevens Avenue in Portland to announce this major statewide goal because it’s a unique street in our state and in America—where a child’s entire educational journey can be traveled over the course of a few blocks. On this one street, you can stroll from an early childhood center, past an elementary school, a middle school, a couple of high schools, a college, and a graduate school campus.”
Gilman continued: “We are asking all of Maine’s political leaders, business leaders, community leaders, parents, grandparents, and educators to help us reach our goal. There will be something everyone can do to support the future faces of Maine and the future of our state.”
“We know that children with savings are six times more likely to pursue higher education.3 Building college aspirations, increasing completion of postsecondary education, and making it possible for more children to go to college or trade school by increasing college savings and lowering student debt can play a significant role in boosting Maine’s overall economy,” Gilman concluded.
Maine’s Workforce—Growing Need for Skilled Workers
Currently, many Maine employers face significant challenges filling open positions that require higher education qualifications. The state faces a shortfall of skilled workers. FAME is working with statewide governmental and non-governmental agencies, employers, and educators on a workforce development coalition. They are seeking to increase the number of Maine workers who have some type of postsecondary certificate or degree. The reasons why these efforts are critically important include:
* If Maine were to grow 65,000 more jobs, 60% of the workforce would need education beyond high school to meet future workforce demands.4 Only 54 out of 100 students in Maine will go to college and only 39 will graduate within 6 years.5
* College savings increase college aspirations AND completion; low and moderate income families with children are 3 times more likely to attend college and 4 times more likely to graduate from college if they have college savings between $1- $499.6
* Economic growth depends on a highly educated workforce, and instilling aspirations to higher education begins at an early age.
* Student debt limits graduates’ job choice and their ability to launch a new business, buy a home, start a family, and save for retirement.7
“The best way to attain an educated workforce to meet the changing labor and economic needs in our state is to invest in education beyond high school and make it
available and affordable for more of our youth,” said Bruce Wagner, CEO of FAME. “We want to encourage everyone in Maine to take part in the “Invest in ME 2030” movement and help Maine reach this goal. It will take all of us to make a significant impact. To get involved, visit InvestinME2030.com to find action items that Maine people can deploy to make progress throughout the state. FAME will also be hitting the road to engage businesses, organizations, and families to inspire each of us to invest in the future faces of Maine.”
Scholarship Sweepstakes Announced—16 $1000 Scholarship Prizes for Mainers
During the event, to spark statewide awareness with Maine families about savings for higher education and reducing debt, FAME Director of Education Martha Johnston announced that on October 1, 2016, FAME is launching the Invest In ME Sweepstakes. The sweepstakes will award $1,000 scholarship prizes to 16 NextGen accounts, selecting one random winner from each of Maine’s counties. Participation in the sweepstakes does not require an existing NextGen account and no purchase is necessary to enter.* FAME invites everyone to visit NextGenForME.com for details about the sweepstakes and how to enter.
*An account will be required to be opened in order to receive the prize.
New Student Loan Resource Unveiled
In an effort to help Maine residents who pursue higher education not to be saddled with debt, FAME, along with its network of local Maine lenders, recently unveiled an online resource: TheLoanforME.com. Designed to be the ultimate student loan resource for Maine, the website helps families become informed borrowers, especially when they need to close the gap between the cost of higher education and what they have saved and might obtain through financial aid, grants, or scholarships. The online resource also offers help to Maine residents who want to refinance or consolidate existing student debt.
“We’ve been helping Maine families for decades be better informed about borrowing and finding affordable solutions to help reduce student loan borrowing up front,” said Johnston. “The Loan For ME can also help people with existing student loan debt explore ways to lower monthly payments and have more dollars to build their lives.”
NextGen is a Section 529 plan administered by the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME). Before you invest in NextGen, request a NextGen Program Description from your Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor or Maine Distribution Agent or call Merrill Edge at 1-877-4-NEXTGEN (877-463-9843) and read it carefully. The Program Description contains more complete information, including investment objectives, charges, expenses and risks of investing in NextGen, which you should carefully consider before investing. You also should consider whether your or your designated beneficiary’s home state offers any state tax or other benefits that are only available for investments in such state’s
Section 529 plan. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated, a registered broker-dealer, member SIPC, is the program manager and underwriter.
About the Finance Authority of Maine
FAME is a quasi-independent state agency that expands business and educational opportunities to help Maine people and businesses succeed. FAME helps to lead the creation of good paying jobs by working at the nexus between economic development and workforce development.
To learn more about FAME, please visit FAMEmaine.com
About the Maine State Chamber of Commerce
The Maine State Chamber of Commerce advocates on behalf of its 5,000 member companies before the Legislature and the state’s regulatory agencies and through educational and networking events to ensure that the state’s business environment continues to thrive by lowering the cost of doing business in Maine. Its advocacy efforts focus on seven central themes: tax reform, health care, workers’ compensation, economic development, environmental, education, and government spending/budget.