The Treasurer’s Office team wants to make sure teachers, children, young adults, parents, and seniors are aware of a wide variety of free financial education resources available.
This page includes financial education resources and activities for students at all grade levels, including elementary, high school, and college students. Young professionals, parents, people with disabilities and senior citizens can also benefit from these tools.
NGPF's Payback Challenge - Submissions Due October 16, 2023
The Payback Challenge is Next Gen Personal Finance’s (NGPF) annual scholarship contest that gives students a chance to win a $2,500 Grand Prize for their educational pursuits while developing an understanding of what college life will be like.
Submissions must be written or performed by a student currently attending high school in grades 9-12 (public, private, charter, or alternative) in the United States. Submissions are due October 16, 2023.
How to enter:
- Have your students play Payback in class or at home
- Students write a 250-word essay or create a 90-second video
- Collect your students’ responses and nominate ONE student entry for the Payback Challenge Scholarship. One teacher = one submission.
For more information about the 2023 prompt and contest rules, visit the NGPF Payback Challenge website.
Econ Ed Month Student Video Contest - Entries Due October 18, 2023
In celebration of Economic Education Month this October, students are invited to participate in CEE’s 2023 Student Video Contest. The contest is open to K-12 students and one winner will be chosen in each of the following grade bands: K-4; 5-8; 9-12. Entries are due October 18, 2023.
Teachers will each receive $500 in Amex gift cards for classroom use (e.g. classroom supplies and materials). Each student in the winning video will receive a $50 Amex gift card.
Give your students the chance to think about the many cool and interesting ways economics is part of their lives and the city or town they live in, while showing off their economics smarts and creativity in CEE’s student video contest!
The question: “What economic advice would you give to your mayor?”
For more information on video and contest details, visit the Econ Ed Month Student Contest website.
Money Minded Illinois First Grade Tools
Our Money Minded First Grade curriculum introduces students to the concept of money. By the end of the lessons, they should be able to explain what money is, how people earn an income in exchange for work, and be introduced to opportunity cost.
Money Minded Illinois Second Grade Tools
Our Money Minded Second Grade curriculum ties into the Social Studies theme of "Families, Neighborhoods, and Communities." By the end of the lessons, students should be able to explain how money can be spent or saved on goods and services and learn how choices can have both positive and negative impacts on their lives.
Money Minded Illinois Third Grade Tools
Our Money Minded Third Grade curriculum ties into the Social Studies theme of "Communities, Near & Far." By the end of the lessons, students should be able to explain how income is taxed and how local governments provide goods and services, describe the important role banks play in an economy, and be introduced to the concept of borrowing.
Money Minded Illinois Fourth Grade Tools
Our Money Minded Fourth Grade curriculum ties into the Social Studies learning standards theme of "Our State, Our Nation." By the end of the lessons, students should be able to analyze how spending choices are influenced by a variety of factors, describe how our money is made, and explain that income can be saved, spent, or used to pay taxes. In addition, students will explore how different careers produce goods and services using human, natural, and capital resources.
Money Minded Illinois Fifth Grade Tools
Our Fifth-Grade curriculum ties into the Social Studies learning standards theme of "Our Nation, Our World." By the end of the lessons, students should be able to see how technology is changing money, the role government plays in earning income, including how relationships with other countries can have an impact on workers. Additionally, students will learn about interest and credit cards.
Money Minded Illinois Middle School Tools
Our Middle School curriculum ties the Financial Literacy and Inquiry learning standards together so that students are challenged to think critically about the world around them. By the end of the lessons, students should be able to understand the stock market, how to craft a budget, interest, risk, insurance, how to bank online safely, and much more. Students explore these concepts in a variety of investigative strategies, including hands-on activities, writing, and nonfiction reading.
Central Bank Lesson
Students can learn from Jay the Eagle about what the Federal Reserve System does for the economy. Click here to access resource.
In this lesson, students learn that bankruptcy is a federal court proceeding designed to help individuals address debt problems and to provide fair treatment to creditors. They learn the six different types of bankruptcy; however, the lesson focuses on the two types of bankruptcies used mostly by consumers: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. They analyze bankruptcy terms and learn the similarities and differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 procedures. They also participate in an activity to match a bankruptcy step with its correct description.
April 18 is Tax Day, the federal deadline for individual tax filing and payments. Teach your kids about taxes using NGPF's Taxes Activities.
How Financial Aid Works
For most students planning to attend college or career school, financial aid is essential. Receive a walk-through of how financial aid works, resources to pay for college, and loan repayment options. Click here to access resource.
Want to better understand the FAFSA process?
Check out the Federal Student Aid official YouTube channel, featuring a series of short, informative videos that explain the FAFSA process.
If you’re a student overwhelmed by the costs of college or confused by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), there is help. The Chicago-based organization Ladder Up offers free FAFSA workshops and resources. To get started, watch a short video about financial aid and FAFSA completion and learn the required documents needed, student loans, and scheduled available workshops.
Various Sources of Financial Aid
Financial aid is money to help pay for college or career school. Grants, work-study, loans, and scholarships help make college or career school affordable. You can also find a listing of financial aid sources available to help you pay for college. Click here to access resources.
Start researching early, and meet deadlines, and you may be on your way to scholarship success. Scholarships are gifts. They don't need to be repaid. There are thousands of them, offered by schools, employers, individuals, private companies, nonprofits, communities, religious groups, and professional and social organizations.
Intro to Student Loans
If you apply for financial aid, you may be offered loans as part of your school’s financial aid offer. A loan is money you borrow and must pay back with interest so be sure you understand your options and responsibilities.
Financial Habits for College Students
If you want good financial habits, you must start developing them while you're in college. Get tips on building credit, avoiding credit card debt, creating a budget, building a small emergency fund, investing and balancing all while having fun. Click here for 6 Crucial Money Tips for College Students.
Become smarter about the way you spend your money.
Keep in mind that the key to financial success is being aware of how you’re spending your money. There’s a difference between being cheap and spending savvy. Learn how to stretch your dollar further with several money-saving tips. Click here for 31 Money-Saving Tricks for Students.
Understand the basics of personal finance by reading the University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack’s The Index Card: Why Personal Finance Doesn’t Have to be Complicated.
University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack, who writes for the New York Times and other national publications, has written an approachable, simple, guide to the world of personal finance. In his book, Pollack explores the basic financial questions that shape our daily lives, like: How much should I save? Should I pay off my credit card? How should I approach my 401k? What about a rainy-day fund? What about working with a financial advisor?
Not ready to read Harold Pollack’s full book? Click here and take 8 minutes to view the PBS Newshour’s overview of the book.
Learn about credit card dos-and don’ts to help you avoid racking up debt.
Click here for Credit Card Tips for Your College Student.
Have you taken student loans?
Learn more about repayment, student loan forgiveness, and responsible borrowing with the Federal Student Aid official YouTube channel, featuring 4 short, informative videos on student loans.
FDIC Money Smart Program
The FDIC's Money Smart financial education program can help people of all ages enhance their financial skills and create positive banking relationships. Learn here about Money Smart tools and strategies that you can use to teach others, as well as tools you can use to learn on your own. First released in 2001 and regularly updated since then, Money Smart has a long track record of success.
Federal Reserve: Personal Financial Education Portal
The Federal Reserve provides economic literacy materials to help students and the public better understand the U.S. economy and the role of the Federal Reserve.
Morningstar Investing Classroom
Build your knowledge of investing with our self-study course covering stocks, funds, ETFs, bonds, and portfolio construction. Click here to learn more.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Consumer Tools
- Planning for retirement
Balancing debt, retirement income, and assets becomes even more important to your financial security as you age. We can help you prepare for the future.
- Debt collection
Debt collection issues can be challenging. You don't have to face them alone. Our resources can help you understand how debt collection works and what your rights are.
- Credit cards
Whether you’re shopping for a new card or getting a handle on an existing one, here are the resources you need to manage your credit cards.
- Credit reports and scores
Your credit reports and scores have an impact on your finances. Our resources can help you better understand them, learn how to correct errors, and improve your credit record over time.
Mortgages and Housing
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Borrower Education Materials: Easy to understand materials to assist homebuyers and homeowners navigate purchasing a home and avoiding foreclosure.
Financial Literacy and Pre-Purchase Counseling by Illinois Housing Development Authority
Click here to learn more.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Mortgages Resources:
Whether you’re thinking of buying a home, already have a home loan, or are having trouble paying your mortgage, we have resources to help you every step of the way. Click here to learn more.
Retirement Savings and Financial Planning
Retirement Planning & Security by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS)
Click here to learn more.
How to plan for retirement by BlackRock
Click here to learn more.
Retirement Withdrawal Strategies by BlackRock
Click here to learn more.
Global Retirement Reality Report The Future of Retirement Happiness at Work by State Street
Click here to learn more.
Illinois Secure Choice
Our retirement program that makes it easy to save for retirement. Not only is Illinois Secure Choice open to employees who work for an eligible employer, the program is available to anyone who wants to enroll on their own and start saving. Click here to visit the IL Secure Choice website.
Instilling Financial Savviness in your kids
Find opportunities that can be easily woven into your everyday life to teach your children about financial savviness and money habits. Here are a few sample articles to get you started:
Saving for College
Saving for your kid's college education isn't easy, but you can probably save a lot more than you think. Here are six important things to know to start squirreling away and investing money in a smart way, including how to save in a 529 investment plan.
When should I start saving for college?
The average college saver doesn’t open a 529 account until their beneficiary is over 7 years old. Learn about starting early to save for college and options available if your child is just a few years away from college.
Tips on how to pay for college
Figuring out how to pay for college is like putting together a puzzle. It can be overwhelming to know where to start. But gradually, different pieces fit together in different combinations until the puzzle is complete. Check out seven smart ways families are paying for college.
IL 529 College Planning Center
Use the Bright Directions College Planning Center to chart potential college-related costs, learn about different colleges, research available grants, and so much more.
Money Management with Access Living
Access Living’s money management classes, also known as their Financial Literacy Workshops, are geared toward people with disabilities who want to improve their credit, learn to budget, save for the future, and increase employment and home-ownership opportunities.
Autism Speaks Financial Planning Toolkit
All parents worry about their children’s futures. But for parents of children with special needs, the worry can be even bigger. Mapping out your child’s financial future can seem daunting but having a plan can help ease your fears. This tool kit will provide you with essential information and guidance to develop a plan. The information included comes from top experts in the field. We have also included some personal stories from other parents or caregivers like you.
Illinois ABLE News & Updates
IL ABLE “Achieving a Better Life Experience” accounts give people with disabilities and their families greater financial independence while preserving benefits. IL ABLE is a savings and investment plan that makes it possible for people with disabilities and their families to save and invest their money for expenses related to living with a disability. ABLE accounts can help solve a long-time predicament that many people with disabilities face: how to build financial wellness without risking much-needed federal government benefits.
Sign up for important ABLE information and resources by visiting our ABLE newsletter website, accessABLE.
ABLE National Resource Center
Learn all about the National Resource Center information and their resources regarding the Achieving a Better Life Experience programs.
Social Security Matters Monthly Blog
Learn about important information from the Social Security Administration's blog.
Living in Retirement
The Illinois Financial Wellness Hub (FinWell Hub) provides personal finance resources on a broad range of topics, including living in retirement. From tips about traveling on a budget to insurance to RMDs and more. Read an article or watch a video to learn more.
The Social Security Administration has a variety of resources to help you prepare for and manage your retirement benefits. Signing up for my Social Security account can be one of the most helpful tools, with the ability to review your work history, estimate benefits based on different factors, and more.
Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs talked to Jack Myers from the Social Security Administration about the ins and outs of Social Security during a webinar. Watch the recording for more information.
Money Smart for Older Adults
The Money Smart for Older Adults Program raises awareness among older adults and their caregivers on how to prevent elder financial exploitation and encourages planning and informed financial decision-making. Money Smart for Older Adults was developed jointly by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.
Looking Out for Fraud
The Illinois Department on Aging (IDOA) is to serve and advocate for older Illinoisans and their caregivers by administering quality and culturally appropriate programs that promote partnerships and encourage independence, dignity, and quality of life. Elders are the principle target of con artists, sweepstake fraud schemes, and home repair fraud operators. By some estimates, older persons account for 90% of all fraud victims. Seniors are thought to lose tens of billions of dollars to fraud every year. IDOA has provided contacts and resources available to senior citizens in Illinois to protect their money.