The Suncorp ESSI (Earning, Spending, Saving and Investing) Money Challenge is a popular annual competition that aims to help teenagers build strong financial literacy skills through immersion into ‘life-like’ financial decisions and goals, such as earning, saving and investing. The challenge runs for two weeks and is organised by Financial Basics Foundation, a non-profit providing free financial literacy resources to educators around Australia.
Through gameplay based on a ‘virtual reality’, students learn how decisions made over a period of time can have both positive and negative impacts on their financial situation. The game allows students to practise real-life financial transactions and experience the consequences in a safe, fun and challenging way.
During the game students can improve their net worth by applying for jobs, planning a career path, managing wages or living expenses, managing banking accounts, setting investment goals and managing superannuation. The competition encourages the use of mathematics, personal development, economics and business. Students also complete a financial literacy quiz at the end of the game to help incorporate the knowledge and skills they have learnt.
Of the over 7,900 students who entered this year’s competition, our three Year 11 Economics students all made the top ten. Hamish Leslie won the national competition with a total ‘virtual’ balance at the end of the competition of $42,238.82. Fellow classmates Maclaren Tierney placed runner up, in NSW and nationally, and Amer Alkinani was sixth in the country and third in NSW. Congratulations to the students on their financial literacy prowess!