More than 125 high school students from the Madison area showed off their financial savvy Tuesday at the Finance and Investment Challenge Bowl.
The contest pitted teams from 32 local schools against each other, two teams at a time, with experts in the financial industry serving as moderators and judges.
The teens fielded questions such as:
• True or false: The most complex form of a business organization is a limited liability partnership. (False)
• Name one of the six characteristics of money. (Durable; portable; divisible; uniform; limited supply; acceptable by everyone in an economy to exchange for goods and services.)
• The U.S. consumes what percentage of the world's oil supply: 10, 25 or 50 percent? (25 percent)
"There was a broad scope of questions," said Sauk Prairie High School senior Drew Marx, "from monetary policy to marketing Barbie (dolls)."
"It's a good competition. Everybody is really good," said West High School junior Will Martinelli.
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Ringing buzzers at their desks for a chance to answer questions, students correctly identified logos for Volkswagen, Nike Air Jordan and Rolling Stone; knew that Wal-Mart is the nation's biggest employer; and figured out that in 1973, Motorola inventor Martin Cooper made the very first cellular phone call — on a phone about the size of a man's shoe — to his competitor, not his mother or his barber.
But they stumbled over this one: Name four items you might find on a completed personal check. One team ticked off amounts such as gross pay, net pay and income tax deducted — all referring to an employee pay stub. The other team did not venture a guess. (Answers include: check number; date; who is to be paid; signature of the person paying.)
"That's probably ... because nobody uses personal checks anymore. Everybody uses debit cards," said Michael Stickney, of Lincoln Financial Advisors, the moderator for that round.
The competition is presented by Asset Builders of America, a Wisconsin nonprofit that promotes financial education.
The goal is to "increase their knowledge, help them learn, and give them an activity that's fun — and they pick up the education along the way," said Richard Entenmann of Asset Builders. "We hope they'll share it with their parents. We hope they'll share it with their classmates."
La Follette High School's team took top prize, $50 each for Matlynn Eller, Hannah Grahn, Leah Pulley and Garrett Phillips, and a traveling trophy.
Sauk Prairie's team of Dallas Breunig, Drew Marx, Dan Brennan and Mitchell Fiene came in second.
The top two teams from each of seven regional competitions around the state will compete in the finals May 8 in Menomonee Falls.