Showing You the Money: North Dakota’s Treasurer Speaks Out

Treasurer Kelly Schmidt

Treasurer Kelly Schmidt

It is no secret; the Office of State Treasurer is all about finances.  We manage the state’s checkbook to ensure the availability of sufficient funds while optimizing investment returns.  We invest in North Dakota through our BidND program, keeping our dollars in North Dakota helps our communities.  We distribute over 31 tax distributions to our counties and cities.  Whether it is a township with dial up internet access or a large county with an advanced technology system, we are called to service them all.  I have been committed to an administration focused on modernization, accuracy and transparency because, whether it is government finance, personal finance or business finance, money matters.

Proper use of money directly affects our quality of life. This is why I have made financial literacy an important part of what we do in the State Treasurer’s Office.   Since adding financial literacy to the duties of the State Treasurer (without spending any additional state funds), we have been busy working with people across the state to help them understand how to navigate their personal finances and make positive change in their lives.

When we hear “financial literacy” many of us think of personal finance; credit card debt, student loans or budgets.  As North Dakotans, it may be the financial stress of rebuilding a home due to flooding, a recent military deployment of a loved one, or a budget being stretched due to cost of living increases found in our oil producing communities.

In this office, government finance took on a new meaning with the introduction of Measure No. 2, the recent ballot measure to eliminate property tax in North Dakota.  Our agency website received nearly 10,000 hits per month during this time in addition to numerous phone calls.  North Dakotans want to know how and where their tax dollars are being used.  I have always believed “The People’s Treasury is the People’s Business”.  It became very apparent; this is an area in which we can expand.

Personal financial concerns and related stress cost American employers billions of dollars in lost worker productivity every year.  Yet, the number of employers offering financial education programs to their staffs has decreased since 2009, according to survey results released in January, by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

As members of the business community and employers, financial literacy is important when providing an adequate education program to your employees on how to effectively manage their retirement plans and other employer sponsored benefits.

Workplace programs are just one area where the war on financial illiteracy is being waged. The others include schools, community outreach and at the point of purchase.

My office has joined forces with a non-profit partner, NAST Foundation, to bring tools, information and motivation to help people feel more confident about managing their personal finances.  Our website features a tool called “Tomorrow’s Money” which can serve as a great resource.  It can be found on our website at

We have also launched and distributed a program called “Financial Football,”, which is an NFL themed money management video game.  It is important to make learning fun and these tools are just a start as we continue the mission to inspire students and families to start talking about finances.

In the months ahead we will expand our efforts to give North Dakotans the tools they need to address their financial challenges; because when our citizens and business communities are strong, North Dakota is strong.

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