At 12 years old, Emily Lilley already knows what she wants to be when she grows up, which company she wants to work for, and how the Investment Manager should manage the company’s assets! This exceptional seventh-grader from Zia Middle School channeled her inner financial advisor to create and recommend an investment plan for her most admired company, Google, becoming New Mexico’s first-place winner of SIFMA Foundation’s Spring 2018 InvestWrite competition. Emily was in sixth grade at the time she entered the contest.

Emily’s remarkable essay on how to help Google manage its assets for maximum short- and long-term sustainability, and why she would like to work there, has positioned her at the top of thousands of students competing nationwide. Should she ever wish to go to work for Google, Emily has the investment portfolio figured out!

Zia Middle School seventh-grader Emily Lilley is presented with a trophy and certificate after winning first place among all New Mexico students in the InvestWrite essay writing contest. Competing as a sixth-grader, Lilley won the Spring 2018 competition.

Zia Middle School seventh-grader Emily Lilley is presented with a trophy and certificate after winning first place among all New Mexico students in the InvestWrite essay writing contest. Competing as a sixth-grader, Lilley won the Spring 2018 competition.

InvestWrite is a national essay competition that serves as a culminating activity for students taking part in the SIFMA Foundation’s Stock Market Game. Now in its 15th year, InvestWrite builds a pipeline for financial capability that starts in elementary school, continues through middle and high school and prepares the next generation for college and careers relying on critical financial decisions. The National Assessment of Educational Progress reports that millions of adolescents are struggling with low literacy skills, and less than half of eighth grade students are performing proficiently in reading, math and personal finance. By combining The Stock Market Game’s impacts on student math and personal financial achievement with InvestWrite’s impact on essential reading and writing skills, the SIFMA Foundation addresses the three Rs of education — reading, writing, arithmetic — and adds financial literacy.

Now celebrating its 40th anniversary, the SIFMA Foundation’s acclaimed national financial capability programs engage 600,000 students and 15,000 educators annually with proven impacts in raising students’ math, economics and personal finance test scores and, through InvestWrite, their language arts and writing skills. The fourth-12th graders nationwide who compete each year are reinforcing what they have learned in The Stock Market Game, an online simulation of the global capital markets that reinforces STEM learning, 21st-Century skills, economics, investing and personal finance. Through InvestWrite, students are, in fact, building on what they have learned through their participation in The Stock Market Game, which has reached more than 17 million students since its inception in 1977.

InvestWrite enables students to develop the personal financial savvy needed to make practical financial decisions with confidence and gain a deeper understanding of economic opportunities, consequences, and benefits. Students consider real-world events and news, conduct research online, and develop investment recommendations. They work in groups during The Stock Market Game program and then write their InvestWrite essays individually to reflect their critical thinking, analysis and creative talents.

Since InvestWrite was introduced in 2004, more than 222,000 students have submitted essays. Emily is among the 20,000 participants each year in InvestWrite, which bridges classroom learning in mathematics, social studies, and language arts with the practical research and knowledge required for long-term personal financial planning.

The Spring 2018 InvestWrite competition required students to select a company they think would be a good place to work and to outline a financial plan to sustain the financial future of the organization. Twelve-year-old Emily selected Google and said, “A good company that would be a great place for me, or anyone, to work at is Google.”

She developed an investment strategy and recommended, “If I could give advice to Google’s current investment manager on investing in stocks, bonds and mutual funds, I would advise protecting from risk so that the company remains successful. They could put about 30% of their investment funds in high risk (more of a chance to losing it), about 50% in medium risk (little less chance of losing it) and about 20% in low risk (more likely to not lose it).”

Emily Lilley and her teacher, Adrian Gaytan, will be recognized by the SIFMA Foundation during the upcoming school year.