Texas Tech University

Personal Financial Planning Team Wins 2018 Financial Planning Challenge

Glenys Young

October 8, 2018


The competition began at Texas Tech nearly 20 years ago.

In February 1999, a meeting between Texas Tech University's Personal Financial Planning (PFP) faculty and American Express executives resulted in the creation of a financial planning competition – the American Express Planning Invitational.

Texas Tech's then-Family Financial Planning Team took home the second-place trophy and $5,000 from the inaugural competition in 2000, said PFP department chairwoman Vickie Hampton. In the nearly two decades since, Texas Tech generally has been among the competition's top eight teams, earning second- and third-place finishes in various years. Along the way, the competition changed names and operators, becoming the Financial Planning Challenge, part of the annual conference of the Financial Planning Association® (FPA).

Now, for the first time, Texas Tech's FPA Challenge Team – Blane Heflin, Jacob Gurock and Dimitrian Jimenez – has come out on top, bringing first place back to the competition's home.

The Financial Planning Challenge is the culmination of a months-long effort. In Phase 1, in the spring, all participating teams had to compile a written financial plan for a hypothetical client. Students could not seek advice or help from professionals, including Texas Tech's own coach, Michael Guillemette, an assistant professor in PFP.

After the first phase was judged in July, only the top eight teams advanced to the national competition. Those teams were: Texas Tech, Fort Hays State University, Kansas State University, Texas A&M University, the University of Georgia, Utah Valley University, Western Kentucky University and William Paterson University.

Phases 2 and 3 took place this week at the FPA Annual Conference 2018 in Chicago. In Phase 2, on Wednesday (Oct. 3), each team orally presented its case study to a panel of judges. Phase 3, on Thursday (Oct. 4), was the “How Do You Know?” Challenge, a two-hour “Jeopardy”-style quiz bowl that tests teams' financial-planning knowledge.

As the first-place finisher, Texas Tech receives a $10,000 scholarship from the Certified Financial Planners Board, one of the competition's sponsors. Individual team members also will receive one hour of career coaching from Caleb Brown at New Planner Recruiting, the leading recruiting firm for entry-level financial planners, and a full scholarship to the FPA's highly acclaimed Residency Program.

Second- and third-place finishers were Utah Valley University and Kansas State University, respectively.