May 2021 Treasurer’s Note by Treasurer Michael Frerichs

At the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office, we often talk about providing tools to help people achieve their American Dream.

One of these tools helps families save for college. Our Bright Start and Bright Directions college savings plans are rated among the best in the country by Morningstar, an independent research and financial services firm.

The federal government allows families to save for college in tax-advantaged vehicles called 529 College Savings Plans. The goal is to make each dollar saved more valuable through tax-deferred compounding and tax-free withdrawals when used for qualified expenses…


April 2021 Treasurer’s Note by Treasurer Michael Frerichs

There is no doubt that the past year has been challenging.

However, at the treasurer’s office, we have good news: Illinois has surpassed $1 Billion in state investment earnings since I took office.

How did we do it? We worked with the General Assembly to enact commonsense changes and expand the types of investments we can pursue. This collaboration was critical to reaching $1 Billion in investment earnings since 2015. Additionally, the changes potentially help units of local government and some blue chip companies in Illinois.

For example, we convinced lawmakers from…


March 2021 Treasurer’s Note by Treasurer Michael Frerichs

It was about one year ago that I spoke with a group of local leaders about economic development.

I remember the North Central Illinois event because it was the last large, in-person gathering before COVID 19 restrictions gripped our state.

While the challenges of the past year have been nothing short of monumental, I am reminded of the enduring spirit of the Illinois worker, business owner, and maybe the most difficult occupation of all, parent.

Treasurer Frerichs visits with small business owners in Hyde Park, Chicago, in March 2021.

This enduring spirit pushed many of our friends to change how they operate each day. …


February 2021 Treasurer’s Note by Treasurer Michael Frerichs

We have reached another milestone: A record-shattering $15 billion is invested in the state’s two most popular college savings programs, Bright Start and Bright Directions.

In a short five years, we have more than doubled the amount saved for college and saved families $100 million by negotiating the reduction or elimination of different fees.

College savings is very important to me. Attending college changed my life — as did the student loans I had to repay. Saving for college now will reduce future debt. …


January 2021 Treasurer’s Note by Treasurer Michael Frerichs

An early holiday gift greeted Lutheran Social Services of Illinois.

The non-profit social services organization will receive $8,763 in unclaimed cash that was surrendered to our office after it could not be delivered to the Des Plaines-based organization.

This money is considered unclaimed property. Lawmakers created Illinois’ first unclaimed property law in 1961. It was applied retroactively to Aug. 17, 1946. Lawmakers assigned unclaimed property responsibilities to the state treasurer’s office beginning July 1, 1999.

Most people I encounter cannot believe money and other property could be misplaced. Every penny counts, right…


December 2020 Treasurer’s Note by Treasurer Michael Frerichs

Merriam-Webster’s 2020 Word of the Year is “pandemic.” Collins Dictionary chose “lockdown.” Oxford English Dictionary could not agree on just one word.

These choices are not surprising. Many of us have strong opinions on COVID 19, novel coronavirus, or many other terms for this global contagion that forever will color 2020.

For me, I choose to focus on the inspiring: The selflessness of our doctors and nurses; the bravery of our first responders; the genuine effort of our hard-working parents and caregivers trying their level-best to make the right decisions for their…


November 2020 Treasurer’s Note by Treasurer Michael Frerichs

Odds are that you or someone you know will receive a gift card during the holiday season.

It’s easy to see why. The cards are easy to purchase and (typically) easy to use. They can be the perfect gift for that difficult-to-buy-for-friend or a great stocking stuffer for a college student.

However, too many times I have heard stories about a gift card that was saved for a rainy day only to find out that there was no money on the card because too much time had elapsed.

One of the lesser-known roles of the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office involves…


October 2020 Treasurer’s Note by Treasurer Michael Frerichs

Unclaimed property might be one of the state’s most misunderstood programs.

Most people I know are convinced they know the exact location of their money and valuables. Yet, the state treasurer’s office safeguards more than $3.5 Billion in misplaced investment accounts, bank safe deposit boxes, and unpaid life insurance policies through its I‑Cash program.

Those are the flashy examples. Other unclaimed property items include a misplaced expense check, a utility refund mailed to the wrong address, or that forgotten paycheck in the haste of going home from college.

I mention these examples because I recently had the honor to return…


September 2020 Treasurer’s Note by Treasurer Michael Frerichs

COVID-19 continues to challenge us, especially children and parents as they determine how school and learning works best for them.

For too many families, however, uncertainty about the school year is not the only challenge. This pandemic’s economic fallout is felt hardest by those with only a high school education or less. Workers with a college degree have fared better economically because many jobs requiring a college education can be done remotely. …


August 2020 Treasurer’s Note by Treasurer Michael Frerichs

$1 Billion.

That is the record-shattering amount of money we returned to Illinoisans and their families since taking office in 2015. It is the most that has been returned in any five-year period in the program’s 58-year history.

We accomplished this historic (and personal) goal by working smarter. The results clearly show that success can be accomplished when we dream big, plan, and execute.

Unclaimed property refers to property or accounts within financial institutions or companies in which there typically has been no activity for several years and the business cannot locate the owner. In Illinois, the state treasurer is…

Illinois State Treasurer's Office

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