What is the iOme (I Owe Me) Challenge?

The iOme (I OWE ME) Challenge is a national student competition that encourages students to analyze the current state of retirement policy in the U.S. and propose viable policy solutions to meet the needs of their generation.

How does it do that? 

Each year, student teams from across the U.S. respond to the annual iOme Challenge question in a 5,000-word essay. A panel of judges reads the submissions and selects the winning team. The winning team shares a cash prize of $5,000 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 the iOme Challenge Winning Team of Heather Quach and Victor Li of University of Maryland, Baltimore County!

The Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement is pleased to announce the iOme Challenge competition 2021 winning team Heather Quach and Victor Li of UMBC. Their essay, Improving Retirement: The Role of Education and Innovation, was chosen by the blue-ribbon panel of judges to receive the national award.

This winning essay, grounded in behavioral research, lays out a commonsense plan to improve financial education and promote greater personal savings. The paper explores the lack of mandatory financial literacy training and suggests solutions for the potential gaps in teaching capacity. The paper also takes a novel look at the health expenses in retirement calling it the fourth pillar of retirement security.

Heather Quach of Glen Burnie, Maryland is a rising junior at UMBC, majoring in Financial Economics with a minor in Environmental Science. She volunteers at VITA, helping low-income people file their taxes and is also active in the astronomy club.

Victor Li of Rockville, Maryland is a rising junior at UMBC with a double major in Financial Economics and Computer Science. He is a member of the Investment Club and the Software and Design Club. This summer he is a Budget Analyst at NIAID in the NIH. In his free time Victor enjoys reading, playing guitar or going for a run.

The faculty advisor for the submission was Professor Douglas J. Lamdin, Department of Economics, UMBC.

Read the essay and the Press Release.

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.

Congratulations to Brennan Dwyer, University of New Hampshire, 2021 iOme Challenge Runner Up

The Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement is pleased to announce the iOme Challenge competition 2021 judging panel has awarded a runner-up prize to Brennan Dwyer of University of New Hampshire.

The essay Bipartisan Proposal for Retirement Social Security and Retirement Contributions Plan aims to bridge partisan divides and provide practical solutions to shortcomings in Social Security financing personal savings and financial literacy.

Brennan Dwyer is an undergraduate student at UNH, majoring in Analytical Economics. He has been active in the Innovation Society and the Socratic Society at UNH.

The faculty advisor for the submission was Professor Joseph Dwyer, UNH.

Read the essay and the Press Release.