End of Year Culminating Project: Use a Personal Finance Challenge Case Study

May 29, 2019
NGPF Fellows, Case Study, Featured Teachers

The following blog post comes courtesy of Derek D’Angelo, president of the Michigan Council on Economic Education and 2018 NGPF Fellow


Each spring, teams from all over the country gather in more than 20 states to compete in a Personal Finance Challenge competition. Competition styles vary from state to state, but in Michigan we mirror the format of the national championship held in Nebraska. Each student team is given a hypothetical family scenario and then creates a meaningful financial plan with just two hours of preparation time. Teams study the family’s finances and make recommendations as if they are their financial advisors. In developing a plan for the family the student team assesses the current financial position, defines the goals and objectives, answers questions/concerns, and develops recommendations. It is amazing to see what these students come up with in a two-hour period. See our state champion, Chelsea High School, and other teams presenting their proposals and answering questions from judges on our Youtube playlist from our 2019 state championship.

A released Personal Finance Challenge case study is a great culminating project to use in your classroom at the end of the school year. Group students into teams of four, give them Monday-Wednesday to prepare and then have the presentations on Thursday & Friday in your classroom. You can be the judge or invite other teachers, administration, or community members in the classroom to help ask the students questions or give feedback.

You can find an example case study you are free to use and adjust for your classroom at http://michiganecon.org/pfc. Additional resources such as a guide for judges and a rubric are also available. Feel free to use these in your class next year to help prepare students and find a team to compete in your state competition. Our 2020 competition case study will be posted by the end of April for you to use at the end of next year. If there is no Personal Finance Challenge competition in your state reach out to Jennifer Davidson in Nebraska to help you get one started!

About the Author

Laura Matchett

After graduating with an education degree and spending 7 years in an elementary classroom, Laura made the switch to the non-profit world and loves interacting with students, educators and business professionals across the country. She is passionate about all students having access to high quality education and views personal finance education as one way to ‘level the playing field’. When Laura is not locating or creating high quality educational resources, you can find her mountain biking or searching for the best ramen in town!