Finance Frenzy

Money can create a life-or-death situation. Some families stress daily to make ends meet. The ability to make the correct financial decisions can pave the way for a future of prosperity or destruction.

Every year, the St. Louis Federal Reserve holds a Personal Finance Challenge in which the contestants are given a fake problem, and they have to come up with solutions. This year, four seniors in Mr. David Massery’s AP Macroeconomics finished third in the challenge: Morgan McGeorge, Will Thomas, Mason Walsh, and Michael Esbaner. 

The Federal Reserve gave the group a several-page packet that explained a fictitious family’s struggling financial situation. “The challenge consisted of a slideshow presentation that gave advice and tips to the family on what they should do with their finances to improve their situation,” said McGeorge. “We prepared for it by just knowing different finance and economic facts that would possibly be beneficial to the family.” 

The presentation was a group effort from everyone. “We would get together in our class time and talk about what we need to do to help out the family, and how we will organize it in the slideshow,” said McGeorge. “We all spent some time out of school working on it as well because it was a lot of information to get summarized into a few slides.”

Thomas was in charge of a large expense sheet. “We laid out all the money they had and dissected each expense,” he said. “We had to make lots of calculations on their current expenses and how we wanted to change them. Furthermore, we had to look into their assets such as cars and houses, and we needed to consolidate them.” 

Thomas also believes the experience was enjoyable. “I have never looked at someone’s personal finances at this level before,” he said. “Giving the presentation to the judges was pretty nerve-racking because we all wanted to do good.” 

McGeorge shared a similar experience. “Making the presentation helped me understand how easily a family can have trouble with their money,” he said. “I enjoyed making the presentation and collaborating with the group. However, giving the presentation over Zoom was weird; I didn’t like presenting a slide show over a video call. The judges were nice, encouraging, and proud of us for competing in the competition.” 

Despite finishing in third place, all the members of the group had a memorable experience. McGeorge said, “Mr. Massery kept telling us to have fun with this. It wasn’t as stressful as I thought it was going to be.”

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