Financial Literacy Challenge

The Financial Literacy Challenge  

The Financial Literacy Challenge is a competition in which students develop and present a personal financial budget and investing plan appropriate for life after graduation. The competition is open to all Allegheny students, however participation in the challenge is a mandatory assignment for students taking ECON 010 – Financial Literacy. There are $5,000 in prizes and trophies awarded to student winners.

The next competition will be held on December 5, 2020

View photos from Financial Literacy Challenge

First place winners from left: Nicolas Marrero, Sharlyne Cabral, Hailey Shull, Daniella Clarke, Liam Wilby and Jerfenson Cerda Mejia; missing Rachael Hensel, Zachary Zoll. Photo by Ed Mailliard.
First place winners from left: Nicolas Marrero, Sharlyne Cabral, Hailey Shull, Daniella Clarke, Liam Wilby and Jerfenson Cerda Mejia; missing Rachael Hensel, Zachary Zoll. Photo by Ed Mailliard.

Congratulations December 7, 2019 Winners!

First place 3 way tie

  • Pass/Go, Collect 200 Dollars (Sharlyne Cabral, Nicolas Marrero, Rachael Hensel, Hailey Shull)
  • Just Throw it in the Bag (Daniella Clarke)
  • JLZ-Fund  (Jerfenson Cerda Mejia, Liam Wilby, Zachary Zoll)

Second place tie

  • Risky Business (Samantha Medaglia, Jacob Simmons, Bree Garcia, Ariana Villavicencio)
  • The Smart Savers  (Kayla McCandless, Rebecca Montgomery Kamryn Randall)

Third place tie

  • Forward Thinking  (Adam Cook, Devin Ho)
  • Sustainable Development Goals  (Maura McCampbell)

How Entries are Judged

An outstanding judging panel will evaluate each plan according to the Certified Financial Analyst (CFA®) criteria for excellence in financial planning, and provide positive feedback to students on how they can refine and improve their plan to create a bright financial future. Click here to meet our 2019 judges

Questions? Email: Sarah Holt,  Quigley Hall Coordinator at, or Professor Chris Allison,  Economics Department Entrepreneur in Residence at

How to Prepare 

Download these templates:

Financial Literacy Challenge Presentation Power Point Template

Financial Literacy Challenge Write-Up WORD Template

Financial Literacy Challenge Monthly Budget EXCEL Template

Follow these Detailed Entrant Guidelines:

  • Each entrant will prepare both a 4-5 page written plan AND present the plan in the form of a 15-slide; 15-minute presentation.
  • Each student will present the plan to the judges.
  • Each plan and presentation must use the attached monthly budget template.
  • You may use single spaced text or a detailed outline format.
  • Pick a start date like graduation or the starting date of your job.
  • Plan for a 1 year, 3 year and 5 year time horizon.
  • Financial goals should be clearly outlined, as should be the plan to achieve these goals.
  • The plan should include a brief discussion of the impact of the current state of the economy including GDP growth; rate of inflation; unemployment rate; and recent performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Average; S&P 500; NASDAQ; and bond market.
  • An investment strategy that shows an understanding of the return characteristics of different asset classes, such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds
  • The plan must include an asset allocation, which is the mix of stocks & bonds that fits the student’s age as well as investment objectives.
  • A rationale of why the students chose their specific stocks, mutual funds, bonds or bond funds.
  • A monthly personal monthly budget must be including using template.
  • Please use a cover page and a table of contents.
  • Put all exhibits at the back of the plan as an appendix.
  • Number your pages of outline or text.
  • Your final page should be any sources cited or a bibliography.

Here are examples of successful plans:

Judges Scoring Methodology

  • Overall Creativity (20 Possible Points)
  • Consideration of Investment Plan (15 Points)
  • Discussion of Economic and Investment Risks (15 Points)
  • Clear Statement of Goals (10 Points)
  • Realistic Projection of Income (10 Possible Points)
  • Realistic Projection of Your Debt/Expenses (10 Possible Points)
  • Realistic Projection of Your Taxes (10 Possible Points)
  • Realistic Projection of Investment Returns (5 Possible Points)
  • Citation of Sources (5 Possible Points)
  • Total (100 Possible Points)