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Plan Well, Retire Well

Saving and investing your money
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I Love Money Smart Week

I love Money Smart Week! As Karen Chan mentioned in her blog post on March 12th, Money Smart Week is the best time of year to learn anything you want about managing your finances. All week people are talking about finances, how to manage money, how to talk with others about money, and why we should care.  Wonderful conversations happen throughout Illinois (actually all across the nation) and it's a fantastic way to celebrate the importance of financial education!

One part of Money Smart Week is the Kid Essay Contest. Each year the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago creates a challenging topic for young people to write about. This year's topic was:

Every investment has a certain amount of risk and an expected return. Imagine you are speaking to an investor, describe how investing in you (such as paying for college or technical school costs) will produce a return. Please be sure to discuss what types of risk the investor would face.

Over the years I've heard many excellent essays! And, I thought you might like to read one too. Today I'm featuring an essay written by Jessica Kindle, a 12th grade student at Danville High School. Here's her winning response to the Money Smart Kid Contest:

With every possibility taken there is always a risk. With every choice there is always a consequence. The difference between failing and succeeding is deciphering whether or not the choice was worth it. Investing money into something by chance is a hard thing to do, unless, one is completely confident in the ratio of good over bad. The most important thing that an investor must consider is the will, persistence, and integrity of the something or someone they invest in. Investing into my future would promote the qualities of will, persistence and integrity.

One thing that I have always prided myself on is my thirst for knowledge and research. I may not be the conventional learner but I love to get my hands dirty. My passion for discovery and science has heavily influenced my decisions in life. I can promise that I will never stop yearning to learn more. I may face many obstacles and get stuck a time or two but I never give up. "No" and "can't" are not in my vocabulary. Anything I desire I will obtain. In life I believe the entire point is to learn, overcome, and accomplish: be desirous of learning, overcome hardships and negativity, accomplish any goal set for oneself.

My educational goal is to get my doctorate in Astronomy. To do this, it is going to take hard work and funds. College is expensive and getting into my college of preference, University of Illinois, it will not be cheap. The University of Illinois is a top ten university in the United States and has one of the best engineering (physics) programs in the United States as well. Having the opportunity to enroll in that school would truly be an honor. I would prize every moment there because it is a huge step towards my future.

I am passionate about my future. Even though odds are against reaching such a goal I have not lost hope in the idea. While odds are against me I will never give up on this. Being challenged by life has been a norm for me so why should I take an easy path to my future. Adversity is the first step into knowing you are doing something unquestioned or not worth fighting again then you are not truly accomplishing anything at all. How I see goals is if it were meant to be easy, it would not be worthwhile. Investing in me may seem like a huge risk; but, if you never take leaps of faith you may miss out on a great opportunity.

You can read and hear more Money Smart Week Kid's essays on the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago's Money Smart Week website. An important part of financial education and literacy is engaging young people in the conversations. Listening to what they have to say is a component of the conversation. Please join in.

As Money Smart Week planning and evaluation wraps up, I cherish the memories of thought-provoking questions, watching "light bulbs" go off as financial topics all of a sudden make sense, and listening to Money Smart Week participants teach each other through engaging conversations. It's memories like these that make all the work and planning worthwhile. If you didn't have the chance to participate this year in Money Smart Week, mark your calendar now for next year:  April 18-25, 2015.


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