National High School Personal Finance Competition to Be in Lincoln in May, Treasurer Stenberg Announces
Lincoln, Neb. (February 22, 2018) – High school students from across the United States will be in Lincoln May 11 to demonstrate their knowledge of economics and personal finance in the Personal Finance Challenge national competition, Nebraska State Treasurer Stenberg announced today at a news conference at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Business.
Joining Treasurer Stenberg in making the announcement were Dr. Kathy Farrell, Dean of the College of Business, and Jennifer Davidson, president of the Nebraska Council on Economic Education, an independent, non-profit organization housed in the College of Business. Also attending the news conference was Kirk Kellner of Omaha, regional president of Wells Fargo, the signature corporate sponsor of the May 11 event.
This is the first time the annual competition will be in Lincoln. Activities will take place at the UNL College of Business. Previously the national competition, now in its eighth year, was in St. Louis or Kansas City.
“We are excited that this event will be coming to Lincoln this year,” Stenberg said.
Dean Farrell said the event will be an ideal opportunity to showcase the fine facilities and excellent educational offerings available at the College of Business and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Davidson said she expects students from as many as 25 states to travel to Lincoln to compete.
“Economics and personal finance concepts and tools are skills all students will need to be successful in life,” said Dean Farrell. “Understanding the importance of budgeting and of saving early to capitalize on compound interest truly changes financial outcomes for the future.”
“I am thrilled to partner with the Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office and Wells Fargo to make this event a reality. It has been over a year of conversation and is finally coming to fruition. Financial products are complicated, and more than ever before, people are required to be responsible for their own financial futures and retirement planning. An event like this is an exciting way to bring attention to the importance of personal finance education. To compete and win, students must learn and understand important personal finance topics and think about future financial planning,” Davidson said.
“It is a privilege for Wells Fargo to work with likeminded leaders and organizations in Nebraska to support programs such as the National Personal Finance Challenge,” said Kellner. “Wells Fargo prioritizes financial education, as a means to strengthen communities across our state and nation, providing people with information that will support good financial choices throughout life.”
Stenberg also announced that the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST) has issued a resolution endorsing the National Personal Finance Challenge and encouraging students to prepare, study, and enter the competition. “The future of our national economy, our state economies, and the economic well-being of constituents in member states depends on a well-informed citizenry that understands basic financial and economic concepts and can navigate in an increasingly complex and diverse financial environment,” the resolution said.
“We are also happy to announce that this year the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust will award NEST 529 college savings accounts to winners in the national competition as well as our own state competition,” added Stenberg, Trustee of NEST. “First-place winners in the national competition – like in our state competition – will each receive a $2,000 NEST 529 college savings account. Second-place winners will each receive a $1,000 NEST 529 account, and third-place winners will each receive a $500 NEST 529 account.”
A family does not have to live in Nebraska to open a NEST account, Stenberg said. In fact, there are NEST account owners in every state in the United States. NEST accounts can be used at colleges, community colleges, and technical schools throughout the United States and in many countries abroad.
The teacher of each winning team, both at the state and national levels, will receive an iPad tablet, courtesy the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust.
“The State Treasurer’s relationship with the Council on Economic Education goes back five years to 2013 when my office launched a financial education initiative for high school students. One component was focused on offering an online financial education course to Nebraska schools at no charge to the students or the schools or the taxpayers. The second component was focused on helping exemplary students prepare for college by awarding NEST college savings accounts to winners in the Personal Financial Challenge,” Treasurer Stenberg explained.
“In the end, my goal was to help Nebraskans become aware of our excellent NEST 529 college savings program and to help Nebraska young people become financially responsible adults and contributing members of their communities and their state. I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. Assets in our NEST college savings program have grown to $4.8 billion, more than double what assets were when I took office in 2011. The total number of accounts has increased almost 40 percent since 2011. We now have 254,000 accounts nationwide, including 79,000 accounts in Nebraska,” he said
Stenberg said the Treasurer’s online financial education program, developed by EverFi of Washington, D.C., reached almost 10,000 students in 173 schools last school year. The average knowledge gain for high school students – based on pre- and post-testing – was 63 percent. So far this school year, the program has reached more than 7,500 students in 150 schools with more schools committed to using the program before the school year ends.
Spokespeople at the news conference also encouraged Nebraska high school students to get involved in the Personal Finance Challenge. Students must first take individual online tests in their home schools where their scores will be averaged for a team score. Online testing in Nebraska high schools will take place from March 26 to April 9. Teams with the highest combined scores will be invited to the face-to-face competition April 20 at the following locations:
At the face-to-face competition, each team will be given a hypothetical family scenario and asked to come up with a financial plan to be presented to a panel of judges. The first-place team in Nebraska will be chosen based on the face-to-face competition and the online team score. Last year’s winning team in Nebraska was Arthur County High School, which went on to be win third place in the national competition. More information about the Nebraska competition is available at nebraskacouncil.unl.edu.
About the Nebraska Council on Economic Education
The Nebraska Council on Economic Education is a 501 c(3) non-profit organization. It is supported by contributions of private citizens, businesses, civic groups, public agencies, and direct and in-kind support from the Universities that host and sponsor its Centers for Economic Education. Centers are located at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, the University of Nebraska at Kearney, Chadron State College, and Wayne State College. The mission is to act as a catalyst and lead a statewide initiative to advance economic and financial literacy. For more information, visit nebraskacouncil.unl.edu.
About NEST 529
The Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST 529) is a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan and provides four plans to help make saving for college simple and affordable: NEST Direct College Savings Plan, the NEST Advisor College Savings Plan, the TD Ameritrade 529 College Savings Plan, and the State Farm College Savings Plan. The Nebraska State Treasurer serves as Program Trustee. First National Bank of Omaha serves as Program Manager, and all investments are approved by the Nebraska Investment Council. Families nationwide are saving for college using Nebraska’s 529 College Savings Plans, which have more than 254,000 accounts, including 79,000 in Nebraska. Visit NEST529.com and treasurer.nebraska.gov for more information.
West Virginia State Treasurer John Perdue, with honored guest Governor Jim Justice, announced the launch of a new savings program today at the State Capitol. The West Virginia Achieving a Better Life Experience program, known as WVABLE, will provide people with disabilities an opportunity to save and invest without jeopardizing needs-based public benefits.
“I’m excited this type of savings program is now available to those who need it most here in West Virginia,” said Treasurer Perdue. “This is an important step toward empowering more individuals in our state to plan for their financial future.”
WVABLE helps individuals with disabilities put aside money for qualified expenses, such as rent, transportation, education and training. Individuals may save up to $15,000 per year in a WVABLE account, with earnings accumulating tax-free. Individuals must have developed the disability before the age of 26 to qualify.
“This WVABLE plan will allow me to have more control of my life with the day-to-day freedom to take care of medical emergencies and unexpected home repairs,” said Kevin Smith, one of the first people to sign up for the plan. “The difference between me and others in the community is that they can save for those emergencies, but I have and I have always had to watch the balance of my bank account due to income limits because I receive SSI and Medicaid.”
Prior to passage of the ABLE Act, individuals receiving government benefits were restricted in the amount of money they could save or invest without losing public benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid. Before, financial resources in excess of $2,000 in savings could result in the loss of benefits.
“As a parent of a child with a developmental disability, I can tell you that rolling out the WVABLE program has eased my mind,” said Christina Smith, executive director of The Arc of West Virginia.
“We are thrilled that it is finally available in West Virginia, and I am personally excited that my daughter will now have access to a resource that will enable her to achieve more independence, financial security, and an overall better quality of life,” she added.
A WVABLE account will come with a loadable debit card and have features similar to a checking account, but it is also an investment account similar to a 529 college savings account or 401(k) retirement fund.
“The reason it will be good for the younger generation to have access to this plan is because families could put money in their account for their future and when they get older and are facing the same challenges I am, they will already have money put aside to take care of them,” said Kevin Smith. WVABLE is administered by the West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office through a partnership with the Ohio Treasurer’s Office STABLE program.
If you have any questions, please email email@example.com or call 304.340.5050
WASHINGTON, D.C. (TK) –The College Savings Plans Network (CSPN) announced its support of H.R. 4508, the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act. The bill, recently introduced by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY), aims to make post-secondary education more affordable for families across America.
The Act will exclude 529 college savings plans from counting as assets when calculating student need in order to encourage families to save for higher education.
Treasurer Young Boozer, Chair of the College Savings Plans Network—the nation’s leading objective source of information on Section 529 College Savings Plans and Prepaid Tuition Plans—issued the following statement on the introduction of this critical piece of legislation:
As a result of rising costs of college tuition, Americans have accumulated an excess of over $1.3 trillion in student debt over the past 40 years. The way to offset or avoid student debt is by saving early and often in a 529 plan. We must encourage savings for college expenses. We should not discourage savings by penalizing those who do save when it comes to determining other support available. For this reason, we are proud to support the PROSPER Act, legislation that will enhance the treatment of 529 plans in the determination of federal financial aid. We thank Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY), in moving it forward and for continuing Congress’ tradition of improving savings opportunities for post-secondary education through 529 college savings plans.”
Young Boozer, Alabama State Treasurer and Chair of the College Savings Plans Network has this to say.
“CSPN has been following the conversation in the Senate about the tax bill passed Saturday morning. We are interested in the expansion of eligible education expenses in 529 plans to include up to $10,000 in annual K-12 expenses and look forward to working with Congress on implementing these changes with respect to 529 plans. This will provide added flexibility to families looking to save money to pay for the education needs of their loved ones and we appreciate Congress’ interest in enhancing 529 plans. Additionally, on Friday December 1, the House introduced the PROSPER ACT, which would exclude 529 plans from the calculation of federal financial aid. We believe this is a critical step in making 529 plans the best way to save for post-secondary education and appreciate Congress beginning the process of removing this hurdle to families saving for their children’s future.”
OKLAHOMA CITY – State Treasurer Ken Miller, board chairman of the Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan (OCSP), is encouraging gift-giving Oklahomans with young children or grandchildren to consider the gift of education this year by opening an OCSP account for their loved ones, a news release states.
To make such a gift even more attractive, OCSP is offering a special bonus promotion this year in conjunction with Cyber Monday. New accounts opened from Nov. 25-29 at the special promotional page www.ok4saving.org/give will be eligible for a bonus contribution of $25 from the OCSP. In addition, those who open a new account and also opt to begin an automatic contribution plan will be eligible for another $25 bonus contribution from OCSP, for a total of $50.
Miller noted that only 24.6 percent of Oklahomans had a four-year degree in 2015, compared to the national average of 30.6 percent, according to statistics from the nonprofit Prosperity Now.
College graduates have greater job opportunities and earn substantially more over their lifetimes,” Miller said. “Yet many consistently underestimate how much they’ll need to save to pay for college. Making a plan and committing to even small contributions over time can save college graduates from piles of student loan debt. This is a great chance to get a head-start on saving.”
Parents, grandparents, relatives or friends who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents and at least 18 years old may open an OCSP account on behalf of a beneficiary, and the minimum initial contribution is $100. Once an account is open, anyone can contribute, making the OCSP a great gift idea for all family and friends.
At the OCSP website, www.ok4saving.org, the state’s 529 college savings plan provides gift-givers with an e-gifting option where contributions can be made to an OCSP account online, and “Gift of Education” certificates can be created to show the contribution to a loved one’s account.
Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR) will recognize Vermont State Treasurer Beth Pearce at a legislative breakfast next week for her work to establish a public retirement system, clean up Vermont’s waterways, and to address the impacts of climate change through state investments.
Pearce will receive the ‘Public Servant of the Year’ award at VBSR’s Legislative Breakfast on the morning of Wednesday, December 6 at Main Street Landing in Burlington. VBSR will also announce its 2018 legislative agenda at the event. Tickets are free for organization members and legislators, and nonmembers and the general public is welcome to attend as well.
“Treasurer Pearce sets a high standard for public service in Vermont,” said Jane Campbell, VBSR’s executive director. “She approaches her work thoughtfully and collaboratively, and honoring the Treasurer for her work on issues such as creating a clean water economy and helping Vermonters save for retirement made this an easy decision for VBSR.”
Pearce, a Democrat, is now serving her fourth term as Treasurer after being appointed to the position in 2011. She has more than 40 years of experience in government finance at both the state and local levels.
“The successes of the Treasurer’s Office are due to the collaborative partnerships we’ve forged by bringing stakeholders to the table,” said Treasurer Pearce. “Whether on issues concerning the environment and the health of our waterways, investing dollars and buying locally, or expanding retirement security, Vermont succeeds when we work together to achieve common goals.”
A Barre resident, Treasurer Pearce is the incoming President of the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST). She serves as the Secretary of the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers (NASACT). She is the Past President of the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA)….
PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona State Treasurer Jeff DeWit has been nominated by President Donald Trump to be the chief financial officer at NASA.
If confirmed by the Senate, DeWit said he would resign his statewide elected office, although that could be months from now.
“By the time I get through the Senate confirmation it could be near the very end of my term anyway,’ he said Thursday. “So it’s really good timing.
“I’ve been offered many positions before this but I wanted to wait until at least I’m in the last year of my term, which this basically is now,” DeWit said.
DeWit served as chief operating officer and chief financial officer for Trump’s presidential campaign last year and has a close relationship with the president.
DeWit is a first-term Republican and state law requires that the replacement appointed by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey be of the same party. Ducey said he hasn’t yet given much thought to whom he might pick to succeed DeWit.
DeWit previously said he would not run for a second term as treasurer. Announced candidates for the Republican nomination include state Sen. Kimberly Yee and Tom Forese, an Arizona Corporation Commission member who won the seat in 2014 after serving in the Legislature. DeWit has endorsed Yee but has a fractious relationship with Ducey.
DeWit said he would prefer that a career treasurer employee be named to head the department that oversees state finances until after next year’s election.
“We have some people running for that office right now, and I don’t think it would be fair to appoint somebody that’s running for the office,” he said. “I think that’s kind of putting a thumb on a scale.”
DeWit had been considering running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Jeff Flake, who decided last month not to seek re-election after polling showed his criticism of Trump and a changing Republican Party base made his race unwinnable.
As NASA CFO, DeWit would oversee the space agency’s nearly $20 billion budget. Before running for state treasurer as a political newcomer in 2014, he was CEO of an investment company he founded and worked in financial futures trading. He is married and has three school-age daughters.
He said it is likely the family would need to relocate to Washington, where NASA headquarters is located.
“There’s a lot of exciting things coming for NASA and for our country through that agency,” he said, “and if I can be a part of helping that process I think that’s a good way to serve the country.”
Louisiana voters Saturday chose Covington businessman John Schroder to be the state’s treasurer for the next two years. He defeated Derrick Edwards 56% to 44% with just over 300,000 total votes cast.
The election was prompted by John N. Kennedy’s election to the U.S. Senate — Treasurer-elect Schroder was elected to complete the last two years in Kennedy’s term.
Schroder is an entrepreneur from Covington. As a state legislator he helped found the “House Fiscal Budget Hawks.” The ‘Budget Hawks’ are a group of legislators committed to ending wasteful government spending, balancing the budget and ending the practice of using one-time money on recurring expenses.
John is a vocal opponent to increasing taxes on Louisiana taxpayers and has been one of several leaders pushing for a streamlined budgeting process and the overhaul of the entire tax system for Louisiana.
John is a graduate of East Jefferson High School, Southeastern Louisiana University, and a Veteran of the United States Army. He is a small businessman, real estate agent, and developer. John has been married to Ellie Daigle Schroder for 31 years. They are the proud parents of two successful children, Brittany and John Michael.
WASHINGTON – House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady said Monday night that “there’s very strong bipartisan support for preserving” the tax exemption for municipal bonds and that he expects to have a tax reform bill on President Trump’s desk before the end of the year.
“I don’t want to get ahead of our committee’s work and product that we’ll all see very soon,” Brady, R-Texas, said at the annual meeting of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association here when asked about the specifics of the expected tax reform bill.
Senior administration officials speaking on background told reporters last month that the tax exemption for municipal bonds will be preserved. But none of the so-called Big Six Republican leaders in the House and Senate and top administration officials who are negotiating the framework of the bill have confirmed it on the record.
Brady’s comment, made during a question and answer session at the SIFMA conference in a downtown Washington hotel, is the closest any of them has come to providing a public reassurance.
WASHINGTON — Demand for municipal bonds is expected to increase and credit spreads get lower in the future because most regional members of the Federal Home Loan Bank system have begun accepting municipal bond issues as collateral.
That was the message Thursday during a webinar sponsored by the National Association of State Treasurers for issuers, investors, municipal advisors, bond attorneys and underwriters.
Mark Pascarella, the webinar moderator and director of debt management for the Indiana Finance Authority, said the takeaway is that higher demand is possible for municipal issuers.
“As an issuer, I have to recognize that there might be some changes I make to an official statement to make the issuance Federal Home Loan Bank eligible,’’ Pascarella said. “There’s some work we’re going to have to do on our end.’’
The payoff, he said, will include an erosion of the liquidity premium.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency has given regulatory approval over the last couple of years for the 10 of the nation’s 11 regionals to include municipal issues as allowable collateral….
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Association of State Treasurers (NAST) today announced it has appointed Shaun Snyder as executive director. Snyder will join the 41-year-old association on October 16, 2017.
NAST President and Oklahoma State Treasurer Ken Miller said, “After a nationwide search, I am pleased to welcome Shaun to our bipartisan association. His strong leadership abilities and proven track record will serve NAST well as we continue to expand our impact to better serve our citizens.”
The NAST Executive Committee chose Snyder following an intensive nationwide search. His job responsibilities will include managing and overseeing all association activities, including membership services, government affairs, corporate partnerships, media outreach and conference planning. He will also direct the staff, operations, and initiatives at the association.
“State treasurers are on the frontline of solving some of our country’s toughest fiscal challenges—from financing much needed infrastructure projects to helping individuals save for the rising cost of college or retirement,” said Snyder. “NAST plays a crucial role in helping state treasurers address these issues by developing best practices and promoting sound fiscal policies, so I look forward to joining this bipartisan association to build on this goal.”
Currently, Snyder serves as the Chief Operating Officer for the American Psychiatric Association, where he is responsible for working with each of the organization’s departments to ensure the association meets strategic objectives in an efficient and effective manner. Prior to joining the American Psychiatric Association, Snyder served in the same role for the Department of Health of the District of Columbia, and has served as Special Assistant to the General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Snyder was born in California and spent his childhood in a number of states, including California, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Maryland. He received his undergraduate degree in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland, his law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center, and his MBA from The George Washington University. He is licensed to practice law in Maryland and the District of Columbia.