Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg, at a dinner Thursday night, will congratulate high school students from 17 states in Lincoln to demonstrate their knowledge of economics and personal finance in the National Personal Finance Challenge, hosted by the Nebraska Council on Economic Education.
“You are lucky to have knowledge and skills about personal finance and family economics that many students your age do not possess. Even many adults are lacking in this important area of their lives,” Treasurer Stenberg said in remarks prepared for delivery at a welcoming dinner Thursday night at the Graduate Hotel.
The competition begins Friday at the UNL College of Business. This is the eighth year of the competition, and the first time it has taken place in Lincoln. Nebraska will be represented by a team from the Millard Academy of Entrepreneurship at Millard South High School.
Earlier, the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST) passed a resolution endorsing the National Personal Finance Challenge and encouraging students in their states to enter. “The future of our national economy, our state economies, and the economic well-being of constituents in member states depends on a well-informed citizenry that understands basic financial and economic concepts and can navigate in an increasingly complex and diverse financial environment,” the resolution said.
Winners in the national competition will receive contributions to college savings accounts in the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST 529) - $2,000 for each member of the first-place team, $1,000 for each member of the second-place team, and $500 for each member of the third-place team. NEST is Nebraska’s state-sponsored, tax-advantages college savings program.
Stenberg, who is Trustee of NEST, said a family does not need to live in Nebraska to open a NEST account. In fact, there are NEST account owners in every state in the United States. NEST accounts can be used at colleges, community colleges, and technical schools throughout the United States and in many countries abroad.
In congratulating the students for the hard work it took them to get to the national competition, Treasurer Stenberg said Forbes magazine recently reported that nearly two-thirds of adults in the United States cannot pass a basic financial literacy test, and 44 percent of Americans don’t have enough cash to cover a $400 emergency.
When it comes to college students, Stenberg said, Forbes reported that 43 percent of student loan borrows are not making payments.
“You, on the other hand, have passed the test and have positioned yourself for the future and for future financial well-being as family providers, smart consumers, responsible investors, and community leaders,” Stenberg told the students.
The Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office began its partnership with the Nebraska Council on Economic Education six years ago. Since then, NEST has given $14,000 a year in college savings account contributions to Nebraska winners.
“As a judge at some of our past state competitions, I have been impressed and inspired by students’ knowledge, poise, creativity, and resourcefulness. As one of the judges at tomorrow’s finals, I am looking forward to seeing more of that tomorrow,” he told the students in his prepared remarks.
Other dinner speakers are Kirk Kellner, region bank president of Wells Fargo, and Jennifer Davidson, president of the Nebraska Council on Economic Education. Wells Fargo is the signature corporate sponsor for the event. Other sponsors are the UNL College of Business Dean’s Start Something Fund, Nelnet, TIAA, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, and the Federal Reserve Bank’s Omaha Branch.
“We know that delivering education that will help people make good financial choices is critical. It’s critical to everyone at every stage of life,” Kellner said in prepared remarks. “Starting with our youth, supporting people with good information to make good financial decisions is core to who we are.”
“Competition will be fierce. You are the best of the best,” Davidson told the students in prepared remarks.
Judges for presentations by the finalists are Treasurer Stenberg; Dr. Kathy Farrell, Dean of the College of Business; Dr. Nathan Kauffman, assistant vice president and branch executive at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City – Omaha Branch; Kirk Kellner, region bank president of Wells Fargo; Darlene Goins, senior vice president and head of hands on banking, Wells Fargo; and Richard Baier, president of the Nebraska Bankers Association.
Students from the following schools will compete:
Hartselle High School, Hartselle, Alabama
BASIS, Scottsdale, Arizona
Monta Vista High School, Cupertino, California
Dunwoody High School, Dunwoody, Georgia
West Chicago High School, West Chicago, Illinois
Clarinda High School, Clarinda, Iowa
LaPlata High School, LaPlata, Maryland
Chelsea High School, Chelsea, Michigan
Albany High School, Albany, Minnesota
West Lauderdale High School, Collinsville, Mississippi
Hannibal Career & Technical School, Hannibal, Missouri
Hellgate High School, Missoula, Montana
Millard Academy of Entrepreneurship, Millard, Nebraska
Madeira High School, Cincinnati, Ohio
Mustang High School, Mustang, Oklahoma
East Greenwich High School, East Greenwich, Rhode Island
Nansemond River High School, Suffolk, Virginia
About NEST 529
NEST 529 is a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan and provides four plans to help make saving for college simple and affordable: NEST Direct College Savings Plan, the NEST Advisor College Savings Plan, the TD Ameritrade 529 College Savings Plan, and the State Farm College Savings Plan. The Nebraska State Treasurer serves as Program Trustee. First National Bank of Omaha serves as Program Manager, and all investments are approved by the Nebraska Investment Council. Families nationwide are saving for college using Nebraska’s 529 College Savings Plans, which have more than 261,000 accounts, including over 84,000 in Nebraska. Visit NEST529.com and treasurer.nebraska.gov for more information.
About Nebraska Council on Economic Education
The Nebraska Council on Economic Education and its five centers are focused on directly educating Nebraska’s students and providing professional development for K-12 teachers to advance economic and financial literacy. The Nebraska Council on Economic Education is a 501(c)3 non-profit, housed at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, College of Business Administration. Visit nebraskacouncil.unl.edu for more information.