Clarinda, Iowa, students finish 3rd in national finance contest at UNL

LINCOLN — What do kids talk about en route to a national contest on personal finance? Things like Roth IRAs and whole life insurance and term life insurance.

At least that’s how a four-student team from Clarinda, Iowa, prepped for the 8th annual National Personal Finance Challenge, held at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Business on Friday.

The Clarinda team placed third in a competition that drew teams from 17 states. A team from Albany, Michigan, finished first, with a Scottsdale, Arizona, team placing second. The winning teams got contributions ranging from $500 to $2,000 per member to college savings plans administered by the Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office.

It was the first time a team from Clarinda had entered the contest, according to the students’ business teacher, Joelene Carper. She said the team of Raymond Nellis, Hunter Crawford, Austin Gutknecht and Jesse Espinosa warmed up by debating the merits of Roth IRAs and whole life insurance plans on the drive to Lincoln.

The contest required the teams to act as personal financial advisers and devise and present a debt-reduction plan for a fictitious family that had overspent its resources by, among other things, owning a $100,000 electric Tesla automobile, as well as a Cadillac SUV.

The goal of the competition, held for the first time in Nebraska, is to increase understanding of personal finance and the economy. It is sponsored by the Nebraska Council on Economic Education. 

Nebraska was represented by a team from the Academy of Entrepreneurship at Millard South High School, headed by teacher Seth Woodke. Team members were Meghan Schuette, Ryan Mack, Ryan Nyffeler and Ben Blumenthal.

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