On Friday, April 21, eleven Baldwin students visited the offices of Popular Insurance (a division of Banco Popular de Puerto Rico) to learn about banking and finance and celebrate ten weeks of successful personal financial management. From February 9 to April 20 the students participated in an international competition, Budget Challenge, during which students managed their salary and household budget. The simulation required students to pay bills, choose insurance plans, manage credit cards, and handle the financial aspects of unexpected crises like car accidents. Students were scored based on how well they avoided late payments and overusing their credit card, how much they put into their 401K retirement plan, and how well they did on weekly quizzes. Successful students logged in daily and used an Excel spreadsheet to plan their expenses far in advance.
As part of an effort to encourage consumer finance education Popular Insurance offered cash prizes to the top 5 Baldwin students to finish the experience. These will be awarded in front of the school at an upcoming town hall.
Eight of the twelve contestants scored in the top 10% of the 50,000 students that participated worldwide. The students who participated are listed here with their overall ranking in the contest:
- Alexandro Kontokalos (9th) – ranked 108
- Maria Gabriela Blanco (12th) – ranked 234
- Pedro Colon (10th) – ranked 772
- Alejandro Quinones (10th) – ranked 834
- Raj Patel (7th) – ranked 975
- Antonio Ferre (10th)(not pictured) – ranked 1158
- Roberto Rodriguez (10th) – ranked 1851
- Aubrey Sang (10th)
- Emilia Waddington (10th)
- Alana Quintero (12th)
- Mariola Busquets (10th)
- Nara Finkelstein (11th)
Mr. Jeff Penn, contest organizer; Mr. Ramon Lloveras, President of Popular Insurance; and Carlos G. López Pierluisi, BPPR Financial Analyst. Not pictured: Mr. Kenneth Pabón-Astor, project director of Finanzas en Tus Manos.