Money Smart Kid essay contest deadline extended; additional awards announced

The Iowa Money Smart Kid essay contest deadline has been extended. Iowa students now have until Friday, March 23, 2018, to enter the essay contest sponsored by the Iowa Bankers Association.

Along with the extended deadline comes an increase in the number of awards offered. Five new awards have been added for contest runner-ups, so now the top ten finalists will be recognized.  Award levels now include the following:

  • $1,000 award to first-place winner (1 award)
  • $500 award to four finalist (4 awards)
  • $300 award for five runner ups (5 awards) – NEW!

Eligible students must be in grades 7-11 and can enter the contest by writing an essay addressing the following:

Please write a brief newspaper article describing the potential devastating effects of a natural disaster (fire, flood, hurricane, etc.) on a family’s financial situation. Please select only one type of natural disaster for the focus of your article. Be sure to include tips and resources for readers to help prepare them for a potential future unexpected crisis.

All essays must be 400 words or fewer and are due by March 23, 2018. Click here for the Money Smart Kid application.


Money Smart Kid Essays Due March 16

Each year, during Money Smart Week (MSW), the Iowa Bankers Association sponsors the Money Smart Kid Essay contest in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Essays for the 2018 Money Smart Kid Essay Contest are due Friday, March 16, 2018.

Students who participate in the contest are asked to answer a financial question and relate it back to their life. This year’s, students are asked to address the following:

Please write a brief newspaper article describing the potential devastating effects of a natural disaster (fire, flood, hurricane, etc.) on a family’s financial situation. Please select only one type of natural disaster for the focus of your article. Be sure to  include tips and resources for readers to help prepare them for a potential future unexpected crisis.

One student will be named this year’s Money Smart Kid and will receive $1,000 to put toward their college education. To participate, students must be in grades 7-11 and must reside the Money Smart Week Iowa or Quad City region.

To learn more about the MSW essay contest and to download the application, click here.

Financial Literacy Tools

Iowans win IRA Contributions through IPI’s 2017 Dash for the Stash Contest

In 2017, the Investor Protection Institute (IPI) and state securities agencies sponsored the DASH for the STASH contest in which an estimated 1,300 individuals participated in. DASH for the STASH is a “scavenger hunt”- like contest that teaches and then quizzes participants on investing topics such as financial fraud, building a nest egg, selecting financial advisers and the cost of investment fees. A total of 138 public libraries and other locations in eight jurisdictions participated in the contest. Participating jurisdictions included Alaska, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wyoming and the District of Columbia.

Of the 1,300 individuals who participated at host locations, 346 submitted completed responses and 171 of those responses had the correct answers. One individual, from each of the jurisdictions, who submitted all correct answers was randomly selected as a winner and received a $1,000 IRA contribution.

The DASH for the STASH contest also included an online version for the first time in 2017. The online version was open to anyone, regardless of location, and ran from April 1, 2017, to October 31, 2017. Of the 184 completed online responses, 53 were correct and seven winners were randomly selected to receive $150 IRA contributions.

Between the DASH host locations and online version, 15 winners were selected. Of those 15, two winners were from Iowa.

  • A 37 year-old male in Urbandale, Iowa won a $1,000 IRA fund contribution by participating at the Mason County Public Library. He said, “I found the DASH for the STASH fun and very informational. The posters were full of financial information and descriptions that helped me understand different options for our money to work for us.”
  • A 29 year-old female in Des Moines, Iowa won a $150 IRA fund contribution by participating in the DASH national online version and said, “DASH for the STASH was not only fun but it gave me the foundation I needed to get started with my own retirement fund!”

In addition to IPI, other organization that were involved with the 2017 DASH for the STASH included Alaska Division of Banking and Securities, the District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking, the Florida Office of Financial Regulation Securities Division, the Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions, the Ohio Division of Securities, the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities, and the Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office.

For more information about the 2017 DASH for the STASH, click here. Information on whether the DASH will occur in 2018, has not yet been released.

Helpful Information

Iowa earns C on 2017 national report card

Champlain College’s Center for Financial Literacy in Burlington, Vt. has recently graded all 50 states and the District of Columbia (D.C.) on financial literacy at the high school level. Iowa was one of the 11 states that earned a “C” on the National Report Card on State Efforts to Improve Financial Literacy in High Schools.

For the 2017 report card, states were measured on whether they have a personal finance education course as a graduation requirement, made personal finance a part of a required course or had finance education in its academic standards that were expected to be taught.

Although there have been some improvements since the last report card, released in 2015, the results could be better. Of all the 50 states and D.C. that were graded, only five states earned an A: Alabama, Missouri, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia. To earn an “A” these states require personal finance instruction as a graduation requirement that is equal to a one-semester, half-year course (minimum of 60 hours of personal finance instruction in an academic year).

In the report, it explains Iowa does not require a specifically identified course with personal finance concepts as a graduation requirement. Rather, Iowa’s core standards define the expectations and content of what all student should know and be able to do by Grade 12. To see these standards, click here.

Click here to review the entire 2017 Champlain report.


Save the date for Junior Achievement Stock Market Challenge and Career Exploration Event

Save the date for April 3, 2018, for Junior Achievement’s annual Stock Market Challenge, presented by CFA Society of Iowa. This exciting, fast-paced competition gives high school students the chance to experience a simulation of a 60-day cycle of the stock market and its function of buying, selling, analysis and risk. Every 60 seconds represents a day of trading. The goal of each team (3-4 players) is to accumulate the highest possible net worth for their investment portfolio at the close of trading.

New this year, the day will also include a career exploration fair – where students can meet with company representatives from a variety of industries to learn more about job opportunities available in those industries.

Click here for more information about the event. To register a team, contact Kelly Hogan at kelly@jacentraliowa.org or 515-279-9602, ext. 219.