Apr 05, 2018
Interactive, Behavioral Finance, Paying for College, Budgeting


Update (9:30PM PT): PAYBACK Leading SPENT 129-63




The savagery! The demagoguery! The calamity! The Championship Game is upon us.

Respectively, #1 PAYBACK and #5 SPENT just threw down two MASSIVE statement wins over energetic championship hopeful #2 Can You Make It As An Uber Driver and gritty underdog #11 Tale Of Two Credit Scores.

As we know, respectively does not mean the same thing as respectfully. Talk about a couple of swift and ugly beatdowns in what pundits otherwise thought would be the most competitive Fina(ncia)l Four matchups in tournament history. PAYBACK notched another 80+ point victory with SPENT blowing out its opponent by over 50.

As NBA (National Budgeting Association) superstar LeBudget James would say, “yeesh.”

Looking ahead, Spreadsheets O’Neill, former NBA big man, had this to say about the upcoming bout between PAYBACK and SPENT: “how is anyone going to leave the court alive after this one? This is going to be a dogfight! Bring an ambulance.”

He’s not wrong.

The matchup, pitting two immensely popular online simulation games, both of which were designed by lifelong legend Jenny Nicholson (podcasts on Spent and PAYBACK here) and the McKinney agency (out of Durham...hmmm, is coach K somehow involved in this venture?), is proving to be a conundrum for the Vegas odds-makers. The two interactives are deadlocked with just a 1 point spread in favor of PAYBACK.

Asked for comment before the game, coach Jenny was up in arms over the championship match: “In terms of a forecast, I could never begin to choose. It’d be like asking a parent to pick their favorite baby. Empathy-building versus future-proofing — gonna be a tough call. I’ll be sitting on the edge of my virtual seat to see how this lands.”

Indeed you will, Coach Jenny. Indeed we all will.

With our eyes glued to ESPN:FIN, the behemoth sports network’s questionably profitable new venture into financial education, we’ll be dazzled by PAYBACK’s future-savvy weaving of financial awareness, ambition, and practical soft skills. We’ll be brought to tears by SPENT’s heartfelt appeal to the emotional side of financial capability. Will we find out what it’s really like to live paycheck to paycheck? Or will this game stress the unforeseen costs and boons of education?

We caught NGPF’s Professional Prognosticator Melissa while she rushed through the local airport lobby, just minutes from NGPF’s Financial Four Practice Facility. Tickets to Fiji prominently displayed on her tasteful yet colorful luggage set, Melissa donned a straw sunhat and oversized shades. Perhaps a much-deserved post-playoff PrognostiVacation™ is in Professional Prognosticator Melissa’s near future?

She had this to say as she hustled towards airport security: 

“Ooooo baby! There’s no Cinderella story here, folks! Although there were some upsets in this tournament, it is great to see two well-prepared, extremely talented, polished and focused resources square off for all the marbles. This is a matchup made in heaven. On paper, they are made for each other. Spent and Payback have the same pace, control and height, which are big factors in making a pick.

So let’s think about why Spent is a #5 seed and Payback the #1 seed. It all has to do with bench players, that’s right the small details that make or break a close game. Spent packs a punch with its darker look at what it means to try to live paycheck to paycheck while Payback has a more playful, optimistic feel towards a debt balancing act when making decisions in college. The big question: will relevance or gravity win out? My answer: Payback is #1 for a reason.”

All this and more, Friday April 6 until 11:59PM on ESPN:FIN.



About the Authors

Melissa Belardi

Melissa is extremely passionate about making abstract ideas more tangible for students. After teaching High School Physical Science for 5 years on the east coast, she has made the switch to a nonprofit in the hopes of reaching all types of learners. In her experience, students were interested in learning more about personal finance and she believes that all students should have access to this material. She first gained insight into inquiry-based and project style learning during her Masters in Education at the University of Pennsylvania GSE and believes these methods are ideal for students to connect financial concepts with their lives. Other than creating learning materials, Melissa loves live music, great food, and playing soccer.

Christian Sherrill

Christian comes to NGPF from the world of classroom instruction, where he was a teacher for three years at a public middle school in El Sobrante, California. After leaving the classroom, he joined math tutoring company, Zeal Learning, to help grow their educator-facing sales and marketing efforts. He's no stranger to making a dollar stretch - while living in the Bay Area on his teacher salary he paid down over $40k in student loans in the span of 3 years. He's thrilled to share those lessons with teachers and students around the U.S.