What is the iOme (I Owe Me) Challenge?

The iOme (I OWE ME) Challenge is a national student competition designed to raise awareness about the impact of financial security on the social and economic well-being of our society.

How does it do that? Students are encouraged to challenge status quo thinking about the current state of retirement and propose viable policy recommendations.

The iOme Challenge asks college students to imagine what America and the world will look like 40 years from now; understand and talk about the issues; and identify actions needed today to ensure a bright financial future for all. Student teams from across the U.S. respond to the annual iOme Challenge question in a 5,000-word essay. A panel judges submissions and selects the winning team, who receive a cash prize and an invitation to Washington, DC to present their submission at a symposium and discuss it with public policymakers.

The iOme Challenge engages younger generations in the process of finding solutions to the financial and retirement challenges facing all generations. Each year, the project aims to involve more students in order to promote this important intergenerational dialogue. 

Congratulations to this year’s winner of the iOme Challenge – David Nipper of Folsom Lake College!​

David’s paper, Reform for the Modern American Retirement System, was chosen by the blue-ribbon panel of judges to receive the 2020 iOme Challenge award. This winning essay outlines a plan to shore up Social Security, increase personal savings and expand financial literacy and advice to workers needing it the most. Read David Nipper’s essay and the Press Release announcing the winner.

Register for the iOme Challenge!

The 2021 iOme Challenge is now OPEN for registrations! This year, students are challenged to rethink one or all of the traditional pillars of the retirement system and propose changes that better fit the needs of future retirees and in particular Gen Z. Your team will research current problems, options for solutions and submit a policy paper not to exceed 5,000 words. Please see this year’s Challenge prompt here and review the FAQs and assemble a team. Your team can register here.

“Since participating in the iOme Challenge, I was awarded the Truman Scholarship and will also be interning with the Senate HELP Committee. Both of these accomplishments have been directly made possible by the iOme Challenge and the way it helped spark a passion in me for the subject of retirement policy. For that, I am very grateful for the work your organization (WISER/iOme) is doing!”

– Evan Avila, 2018 iOme Challenge Winner from the  University of Maryland Baltimore County

The iOme Challenge was started in 2009. In 2016, the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER®) took on the management of the iOme Challenge, and continues to expand its reach and impact.

Honorable Mention 2020

Congratulations to Emily Hower, who was awarded Honorable Mention for her essay calling for strengthening and improving Social Security, particularly for women and low-wage workers. Emily is an architecture student at Ball State University. Read Emily’s essay.