Summer Internship

Lopez Pantoja learns, educates during internship with TS Institute.

Ricardo Lopez Pantoja joined TS Institute as an intern in the summer of 2019 and got to work right away.

The graduate from Abraham Lincoln High School in Council Bluffs helped teach financial literacy classes to a variety of groups, facilitated teacher trainings at conferences and created content, among many duties.

Ricardo was tasked with engaging TS Institute’s partner organizations through programs for nonprofits, schools and government entities, while also working with Centro Latino of Council Bluffs on new content to help Tyson Foods employees financial literacy.

Ricardo taught financial literacy classes at the Southwest Iowa Juvenile Detention Center and MICAH House homeless shelter, both in Council Bluffs. Working with the TS Institute team Ricardo also helped facilitate teacher trainings at the Jump$tart conference in Des Moines and the 2019 Best Practices Social Studies conference for elementary and middle school teachers in CITY.

“This summer I have learned how hard cooperation between two groups can be to accomplish a common goal,” Ricardo said. “But it can be achieved.”

Lastly, he worked as the institute facilitated three bank site visits for Council Bluffs incoming freshmen students, with the youngsters learning about career pathways in human resources, information technology, data science and banking.

“Ricardo was a perfect fit for our team and came ready each day to give his best to the teachers, students and non-profits we serve. He learned a lot and helped us further our mission to reach more people with the important content and life skills around personal finance,” said TS Institute Director Kyle Osborne. “Ricardo gave us valuable insight into reaching different people groups in the Council Bluffs area with financial education and we are grateful for his passion and investment.”

Ricardo said he also learned how to make presentations fun and entertaining, while he also learned a good amount about finances.

“This internship with TSI changed the way I look at personal finances and because of this I will begin investing ASAP,” Ricardo said. “I have learned way more than I thought I would and have come to love teaching people about banking and finance. I have even been talking with my family and neighbors about the things I have been learning.”

Ricardo said he’s happy for the opportunity to work with TS Institute through the Campus Compact program and Tyson Foods.

1/2 Credit of Financial Literacy Required in Iowa!

In 2009 TS Institute was created. Our mission was to train, equip and help infuse financial literacy into K-12 schools while working with legislators on the importance of financial literacy in our schools. Over the past decade we have served thousands of students and hundreds of teachers in the financial literacy and economics space. We have trained, encouraged, came alongside and listened to what we need in Iowa from our teachers. Our passion continues as we see a more financially savvy generation than we did in 2009.

It is with joy that we announce that financial literacy will now be required for all high school students in the state of Iowa. A bill passed on April 17th by Governor Reynolds reads as follows:

DIVISION VII 2 FINANCIAL LITERACY 3 Sec. 20. Section 256.11, subsection 5, Code 2018, is amended 4 by adding the following new paragraph: 5 NEW PARAGRAPH. k. One-half unit of personal finance 6 literacy. All students shall complete at least one-half unit 7 of personal finance literacy as a condition of graduation. The 8 curriculum shall, at a minimum, address the following: 9 (1) Savings, including emergency fund, purchases, and 10 wealth building. 11 (2) Understanding investments, including compound and 12 simple interest, liquidity, diversification, risk return 13 ratio, certificates of deposit, money market accounts, single Senate File 475, p. 13 14 stocks, bonds, mutual funds, rental real estate, annuities, 15 commodities, and futures. 16 (3) Wealth building and college planning, including 17 long-term and short-term investing using tax-favored plans, 18 individual retirement accounts and payments from such accounts, 19 employer-sponsored retirement plans and investments, public and 20 private educational savings accounts, and uniform gifts and 21 transfers to minors. 22 (4) Credit and debt, including credit cards, payday 23 lending, rent-to-own transactions, debt consolidation, 24 automobile leasing, cosigning a loan, debt avoidance, and the 25 marketing of debt, especially to young people. 26 (5) Consumer awareness of the power of marketing on buying 27 decisions including zero percent interest offers; marketing 28 methods, including product positioning, advertising, brand 29 recognition, and personal selling; how to read a credit report 30 and correct inaccuracies; how to build a credit score; how to 31 develop a plan to deal with creditors and avoid bankruptcy; and 32 the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. 33 (6) Financial responsibility and money management, 34 including creating and living on a written budget and balancing 35 a checkbook; basic rules of successful negotiating and 1 techniques; and personality or other traits regarding money. 2 (7) Insurance, risk management, income, and career 3 decisions, including career choices that fit personality styles 4 and occupational goals, job search strategies, cover letters, 5 resumes, interview techniques, payroll taxes and other income 6 withholdings, and revenue sources for federal, state, and local 7 governments. 8 (8) Different types of insurance coverage including 9 renters, homeowners, automobile, health, disability, long-term 10 care, identity theft, and life insurance; term life, cash 11 value and whole life insurance; and insurance terms such 12 as deductible, stop loss, elimination period, replacement 13 coverage, liability, and out-of-pocket. 14 (9) Buying, selling, and renting advantages and 15 disadvantages relating to real estate, including adjustable 16 rate, balloon, conventional, government-backed, reverse, and 17 seller-financed mortgages.

We are so excited for the future of Iowa students and for that matter for all generations to come. As stated by Andy Stanley, “Everybody ends up somewhere in life. A few people end up somewhere on purpose. Those are the ones with vision.” We hope that we are helping to create vision in the hearts of students, teachers, lawmakers, and every hard working American. It’s a great day to be teaching financial literacy!

Economics for Heroes

We are so excited to offer our very first, “Economics for Heroes,” a financial literacy event for Veterans and their families. This event will be part of our 2018 Money Smart Week offerings in the Council Bluffs area.

The event will be held Saturday, April 14, 2018 from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the Pottawattamie County Commission of Veteran’s Affairs office located at 623 6th Avenue, Council Bluffs, IA.

The event will be led by Ken King, former Consumer Credit Counseling Service and Family Service Association of Sheboygan, WI and Scott Niederjohn, Ph.D. University, Dean of the School of Business and Entrepreneurship.

For more information and a look at the agenda please click Economics for Hereos.

Lights, Camera, Save Video Contest is here!

What is Lights, Camera, Save?


Lights, Camera, Save! is a teen video contest that encourages teens to educate themselves and their peers about the value of saving and using money wisely. Students enter the contest by submitting videos to local participating banks. These banks then choose a local winning video and submit it for judging at the national level.

Looking to Increase Your Savings Account?

The top three national winners will receive a cash prize of $1,000$2,500, and $5,000 to fund their savings goal! Additionally,
each winner’s school will receive a scholarship for a teacher to attend the Jump$tart National Educator Conference.

Think You Can Create the Winning Video?​

Check out the contest rules and contact a participating bank in your area for a contestant entry form. Don’t see a participating bank in your state, contact contest manager Jeni Pastier. Remember the contest closes Dec. 1.

Banks looking host a contest must first register participation before gaining access to contest materials.

Save Your Refund in 2018 and Win $10,000!

Partner with SaveYourRefund to Promote Tax Time Savings!

Nearly half of all Americans don’t have enough savings to cope with even small emergencies. Yet more than 100 million taxpayers get refunds from the IRS each year. For many individuals and families, that tax refund is the largest check that they will receive all year, and the perfect windfall to start or grow an emergency fund.

In the 2018 tax season, SaveYourRefund will once again offer tax filers the chance to win cash prizes for saving a portion of their tax refunds. Now in its sixth year, SaveYourRefund is a partnership between Commonwealth and America Saves that provides fun and exciting incentives for Americans to save at tax time, when households making less than $53,000 claim $100 billion in federal tax refunds. A chance to win one of two $10,000 grand prizes or one of the 100 prizes of $100 is enough to turn a saving skeptic into a savings believer.

We encourage all of you to sign up as a SaveYourRefund partner for the 2018 tax season. Some Partners work directly with clients to offer free tax preparation services. Other Partners help us by spreading the word and promoting SaveYourRefund in their communities. By signing up as a Partner, you will receive communications about the promotion leading up to and during tax season, including information on trainings, promotional materials, progress updates, and inspiring saver stories.

Sign up to be a 2018 SaveYourRefund Partner today!



The Great Piggy Bank Pageant during America Saves Week!


On February 17th at Franklin Elementary there was an electric buzz. Benjamin Franklin and Mayor Matt Walsh were visiting for a very important purpose. They promoted savings and signed an America Saves Week proclamation. After that all the third grade classes at Franklin received a piggy bank to decorate for the pageant and a short lesson on saving money. Please see the attached news release and KETV interview for more info.

Nonpareil Online Article

KETV Interview

Wilson Jr. Jacket Branch Opens for Business

The Wilson Jr. Jacket Branched opened for business on September 17, 2015. Middle school students were lined up to make their deposits and save their money. It was a great day!

The Wilson Jr. Jacket Branch will link Rue’s Jr. Jacket Branch and Thomas Jefferson’s Yellow Jacket Branch making the in school banking program K-12. This linkage is the first in Iowa and second in the nation.

Please read all about it in the link below.

Wilson’s Jr. Jacket Branch