Financial Literacy Challenge

The Financial Literacy Challenge, sponsored by Lance Zingale ’77, is a competition in which students develop and submit 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 Financial Literacy Challenge will take place on Saturday, December 10, 2022. Email Professor Chris Allison to enter.

Get ready to compete by attending the Adulting 101 Workshops!

12:30 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.
Quigley Hall Auditorium
Lunch Provided

Date Adulting 101/CBE Financial Literacy Workshops Link to Slides
September 29 #1 Managing Your Finances Is Very Manageable Workshop #1
October 13 #2 Your Income
October 27 #3 Managing Your Living Expenses
November 10 #4 Getting Started Investing
December 8 #5 Bringing It All Together: Your Financial Plan

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. The top six entries will be selected to participate in the Finals.  Finalists will be announced during the last week of November.

Questions? Email: Professor Chris Allison,  callison@allegheny.edu

Download these templates:

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.
  • Each plan 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)

Congratulations to our Past Winners!

Financial Literacy Competition winners Nyonna Towler and Reece Smith presented their winning plans financial plans at the Western PA CFA Society 2022 Collegiate Financial Plan Competition winning an Honorable Mention. Entrepreneur in Residence, Professor Chris Allison teaches ECON 010, and is the host of the annual event. #financialliteracymattersFinancial Literacy Competition winners Nyonna Towler and Reece Smith presented their winning financial plans at the Western PA CFA Society 2022 Collegiate Financial Plan Competition each winning an Honorable Mention. Entrepreneur in Residence, Professor Chris Allison teaches ECON 010, and is the host of the annual event. #financialliteracymatters

2021

  • First place: Reece Smith ’25
  • Second Place:Madelyn Hill ’22
  • Third Place: Brandon Bolling ’22
  • Honorable mention: Nyonna Towler ’22

 2020

  • First place:  Christian Lussier
  • Second place:  Alexandra Heinle, Savannah Hunt
  • Third place:  Olivia Blakeslee

NOTE:  Due to Covid-19, the 2020 and 2021 challenges were virtual events, so limited photos are available. We hope to be back in person in December of 2022!

Click here to see the 2019 winners

View photos from the 2019 Financial Literacy Challenge