Financial Literacy Challenge

The Financial Literacy Challenge  

The Financial Literacy Challenge 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.

Students must submit their plans by December 3 to Professor Chris Allison,  Our judges will receive the plans the following week.  Then, we will hold a Zoom Judging call on Saturday, December 19.  Our judges will grade the written plan and choose three winners. The top finishers will be announced via email and social media before Christmas.

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 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)