Financial Literacy Resources

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While Illinois is under shelter-in-place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Treasurer Frerichs wants to ensure that families have valuable financial education resources that can benefit the entire family. During this time of e-learning, 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

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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.
 

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Bankruptcy

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.
 

Taxes

April 15 is traditionally Tax Day; however, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the filing deadline for tax returns has been extended from April 15 to July 15, 2020.  Teach your kids about taxes using NGPS's Taxes Activities.
 

Chair The Fed Game

Students can learn how monetary policy works by taking charge of a simulated economy. Click here to access resource.
 

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.
 

FAFSA Workshops

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.
 

Scholarship Information

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.

College Student Banner

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 Harrold Pollock’s The Index Card: Why Personal Finance Doesn’t Have to be Complicated.

University of Chicago professor Harrold Pollock, 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, Pollock 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 Harrold Pollock’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.

 

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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. 

Parent Banner

Check for your 2020 Coronavirus Stimulus Payment at GetMyPaymentIL.org 

  • Learn if you need to register for a payment if they don’t normally file income tax returns.
  • Get a bank account to receive your payment faster, instead of waiting months for a paper check.
  • Find tax information and assistance to get yourpayment.
  • Learn more about stimulus checks (also known as Economic Impact Payments) such as whether it impacts your public benefits or what Social Security recipients need to do next.
  • Download an informational flyer and share it with your friends and family

 

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. Click here to learn about the many pressing questions and answers as a starting point.
 

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.
 

Understand the basic benefits and tradeoffs between saving for college with a 529 account, applying for financial aid with FAFSA, and paying for college with student loans by reading the College Savings Plans Network’s (CSPN) Financial Aid Process Favors Saving for College.

 

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. Click here to learn about the many pressing questions and answers as a starting point.
 

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.
 

Understand the basic benefits and tradeoffs between saving for college with a 529 account, applying for financial aid with FAFSA, and paying for college with student loans by reading the College Savings Plans Network’s (CSPN) Financial Aid Process Favors Saving for College.

 

Disability Community Banner

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

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

Senior Citizen Banner

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. 
 

AARP Foundation Finances 50+

AARP Foundation Finances 50+ is a financial capability program designed to motivate and empower participants to take charge of their financial future. The program assists individuals to make objective assessments, set appropriate goals and establish habits and behavior that will help them thrive.
 

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.
 

Advocating for Older Citizens (Reporting Scams)

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul works to protect all Illinois seniors by taking legal action against those who prey on seniors and supporting legislation to toughen penalties against those who commit crimes against the elderly.
 

The Attorney General provides a Senior Citizens Consumer Fraud Hotline. To contact the hotline please call 1-800-243-5377 or 1-800-964-3013 (TTY).
 

The Illinois Attorney General’s office is also proud to participate in the following programs to help protect Illinois’ older citizens: