A conversation with Kari M. Arfstrom | Deputy Executive Director, National Association of State Treasurers
So tell us, what’s new?
State Treasurers are excited about bringing financial education and empowerment programs to the constituents in their states. Most people think of State Treasurers handling the state’s money – investing it, collecting it and spending it! While that may be true in most states, they do other things like run college and ABLE savings accounts, offer programming on financial wellness, and return unclaimed property.
Let’s talk about unclaimed property since all of us are looking for additional funds – maybe for that upgrade for our summer vacation! One in seven people have money that is due to them, maybe a forgotten rebate check, or utility refund, or your great aunt’s life insurance policy! These funds are legally yours and can contribute to your financial goals. Each state maintains a searchable database of property, or you can search nationally at www.missingmoney.com.
What’s the impact this has had/or you hope it will have on moving financial literacy forward?
A few weeks ago, the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST) and the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) partnered with Good Morning America to talk about unclaimed property. They produced three segments which highlighted money being returned to the rightful owners in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York. The impact was immense! On any given day www.MissingMoney.com gets about 2,300 claims. For the three day period when the shows aired that spiked to 50,000 claims a day! Maybe you were one of them!
How do we learn more?
The NAST Foundation partnered with Enrich, a financial education platform, to create a getting started guide for those who want to understand how property is abandoned and returned, as well as a short course if you want to dive deeper into the topic.
What else are you working on?
NAST has a robust financial wellness (FinWell) program that we offer to our members, but anyone can access them. We have a series of toolkits to assist you in putting together in-person or virtual events, including an open-source PowerPoint and event program, and checklists to put on FinWell events. There is even a legislative toolkit if your state doesn’t yet have a graduation requirement. And our most popular item is an interactive map that highlights what Treasurers are doing to assist with FinWell programs and services in their state. You can find all of these free resources here.
Tell us more about your organization
The National Association of State Treasurers (NAST) serves as the nation’s foremost authority for responsible state treasury programs and related financial practices, policies, and education.
We enable state treasurers and officials who perform state treasury functions to pursue and administer sound financial practices and programs benefiting the citizens of the nation.
NAST’s membership is comprised of all state treasurers or state finance officials with comparable responsibilities from the United States, its commonwealths, territories, and the District of Columbia, along with employees of these agencies. The private sector is represented through NAST’s Corporate Affiliate Program, established to build professional relationships and foster cooperation between the public and private sectors.
Deputy Executive Director, NAST