Neshaminy senior competes in Financial Jeopardy

Langhorne’s Jackson Joiner finished second in the competition hosted by TruMark, taking home a $3,000 scholarship

By Samantha Bambino

The Times

Jackson Joiner. Source: Ilena Di Toro

In today’s social media-driven age of instant gratification, attempting to teach teens how to be financially savvy can be like pulling teeth. Why would they want to learn about credit scores and checking accounts when there’s a new YouTube scandal involving yet another makeup guru?

Thankfully, one organization has discovered a way to make the process of learning this vital life information not such a snooze fest. In fact, it has become a highly enjoyable tradition for local students.

On Wednesday, May 8 from 5 to 8 p.m., TruMark Financial Credit Union hosted its 12th annual Financial Jeopardy game at its headquarters, located at 335 Commerce Drive, Fort Washington.

A component of TruMark’s “Building Financial Futures” initiative, the mission of Financial Jeopardy is to educate young people about credit, loans, saving and investing, especially as financial “illiteracy” and college debt increases and school budgets shrink.

Eleven high schools sent representatives to participate, including Neshaminy, Bensalem, Cheltenham, George Washington, Norristown, Northeast, Plymouth Whitemarsh, Radnor, Roman Catholic, Upper Dublin and West Chester East.

Financial Jeopardy was conducted in a similar matter to the long-running nightly 6ABC quiz show Jeopardy!, testing students’ personal finance knowledge with categories such as banking, credits, taxes, budgeting and investments.

Invited “audience” guests included members of TruMark Financial’s board of directors, supervisory committee and senior managers, as well as business education teachers and administrators from the participating schools.

After several elimination rounds, it was down to three contestants — Neshaminy’s Jackson Joiner, Upper Dublin’s Rose Listman, and Radnor’s Patrick Cullen. Though all were relatively close in points, the “Final Jeopardy” question — “What guarantees that someone can look at their credit history?” — was the deciding factor.

Listman, who answered “Fair Credit Reporting Act” correctly, finished in first place with $18,000. After jotting down the incorrect answer of “Customer Protection Act,” Joiner came in second with $12,000.

At the end of the competition, TruMark awarded scholarships — $5,000 as the grand prize, $3,000 as second prize, and $2,000 as third prize — to Listman, Joiner and Cullen respectively. In addition, TruMark set up accounts at the credit union with $200 for each of the remaining contestants.

Though Joiner, a Langhorne resident, wasn’t the ultimate Financial Jeopardy champion, the senior was thrilled to participate for the first time. Joiner qualified for the competition after he received the highest score on a test distributed by his teacher, Chuck Deal.

In order to prepare accordingly, Joiner spent endless hours poring over textbooks and staying after school with Deal to review the information. While much of the material had already been covered in class, a large amount was brand new to Joiner.

When the big night finally came and Joiner stepped through the TruMark doors, he experienced a mixture of emotions.

“I was a little nervous going, but once I got into it, sat down and watched other people do it, I became less nervous as the night went on,” he reflected.

Joiner plans to use his $3,000 scholarship toward his education at Bucks County Community College, where he will study accounting in the fall.

He also anticipates utilizing this newfound knowledge in the future.

“I thought it was really informative,” Joiner said of participating in Financial Jeopardy. “It was a really valuable experience. I learned a lot.”

In addition to the game show, TruMark employees conduct regular financial literacy reality fairs at local high schools and give presentations on topics such as banking, establishing and maintaining good credit, budgeting and investing. To learn more, visit trumarkonline.org or facebook.com/trumarkonline, or call 1–877-TRUMARK.

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com