"Battling" it out for top spot in national competition

Jackie Battles, senior financial planning major in UNT’s Department of Finance, Insurance, Real Estate and Law, took home second place in this year’s International Association of Registered Financial Consultants (IARFC) Financial Planning Competition.

Ninety-eight undergraduate students representing 15 universities participated in the 2020 event, which involved competitors developing a comprehensive financial plan based on a fictional case narrative that was presented by IARFC. Final plans were required to incorporate tax analysis, a net worth statement, education funding, retirement planning, life insurance analysis, disability and long-term care insurance analysis, an estate plan analysis and portfolio recommendations.

Only three winning teams were ultimately chosen after three rounds of judging—and while the first- and second-place teams each had two members, Battles chose to compete alone for an added challenge.

“I personally wanted to know if I could do it on my own. I knew it would allow me to thoroughly review every aspect of a financial plan, which would help to prepare me for steps in the future,” said Battles.

When asked if any professors inspired Battles, he promptly mentioned Professors Carey Cates, Dave Ragan and Stephen Poe.

“Carey Cates has made significant strides in being a certified financial planner at such as young age. His story alone inspires me since I am a non-traditional student. Also, Dave Ragan has an incredible story about his journey to his career and being recognized as Investment News’ 40 under 40. To round it off the head advisor of RIFS program, Professor Stephen Poe, brings in even more experience and knowledge to the classroom. I find it amazing that all of these men have accomplished great things but remain as humble as ever,” said Battles.

“My aspirations are to be very involved with the community and help bridge the gap of knowledge for financial literacy. I know that this is not an easy task but I plan to continue to learn and provide that education to others. Hopefully one day from my efforts I too will earn a spot on Investment News’ top advisors list.”

Last year, senior Rebecca Boyle took home first place in the IARFC competition, making 2020 the second year in a row for a UNT student to score in the top three.