Penny for your thoughts with Iowa State Treasurer

Where does 007 invest his money?

In a bond market.

I can hear the groans around the office and at home as I sit here and write my first column. As a dad and Iowa’s State Treasurer, naturally, opening it up with a dad joke and a money pun made “cents.” 

The question I am asked most frequently is, “What does the State Treasurer’s office do?” Broadly speaking, we are the State’s cash manager. Our office deposits state funds, invests them and ensures they are available when needed. Additionally, we coordinate the issuance of debt by state agencies and authorities, invest bond proceeds and manage lease-purchase financing for state agencies.

While those items are essential and must be done, I enjoy traveling the state and working directly with Iowans. Returning unclaimed property through the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt is another great experience. Every day, we are reuniting past and present Iowans with money and safety deposit box contents that are rightfully theirs. We have reunited 1 million owners with their treasures for a total exceeding $368 million. 

Our office administers Iowa’s 529 education savings plans: College Savings Iowa and IAdvisor 529 Plan, both of which help families save for educational expenses ranging from K-12 education, apprenticeships, vocational training and college. This helps ensure Iowans are equipped with the tools to make them successful now and in the future.   

We help individuals with disabilities save for Qualified Disability Expenses with IAble, the state’s Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) plan. IAble has been helping individuals and their support systems have the opportunity to save and invest their money on a tax-advantaged basis. All this without risking essential federal government benefits like Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and more. 

Promoting financial education is for everyone, no matter your age. My office has put together many activities and resources and has you covered with topics including saving goals, earnings, borrowing, credit and more. I hope these resources will help Iowans incorporate financial education conversations and skills in a fun and engaging manner. 

We also administer the investment of two state pension funds: the Peace Officers’ Retirement Fund and the Judicial Retirement Fund, serving as custodian for these funds, as well as the Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System (IPERS) Fund. 

I hope this first column sets the tone for what is to come in future columns and gave you insight into the meaningful work that is done by my office to help support Iowans every day.

Roby Smith is the Iowa state treasurer and lives in Davenport. For more information, visit

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