Naperville fifth-grader places 10th in National InvestWrite Competition

Advik Dhand, a fifth-grader at Fry Elementary School in Naperville, Illinois, recently defied the odds by creating a high-powered investment portfolio that could make Wall Street proud. He developed a diversified investment portfolio aimed at securing long-term financial success.

Advik’s investment strategy placed him 10th in the nation in the SIFMA Foundation’s Fall 2023 InvestWrite competition.

Advik triumphed among thousands of participants nationwide for his astute insights into the dynamics of capital markets in the elementary school division.

In recognition of his accomplishment, Advik and his teacher, Erin Mongelli, were honored by the SIFMA Foundation and Illinois Bankers Association during a special ceremony held on May 7.

The SIFMA Foundation’s InvestWrite national essay competition serves as a vital bridge between classroom education in mathematics, social studies, language arts, and the practical application of research and knowledge essential for saving, investing, and long-term financial planning. The competition is a culminating activity for the acclaimed Stock Market Game, a curriculum-based financial education program challenging students to manage a hypothetical $100,000 online portfolio of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and cash.

InvestWrite empowers students to apply their hands-on learning in real-world scenarios that teach the fundamentals of investing.

SIFMA Foundation’s programs are proven to enhance participants’ test scores in math and economics, foster financial planning skills, promote teamwork and interpersonal social-emotional learning, and better prepare students for future academic and professional endeavors.

With a steadfast commitment to closing opportunity gaps in society, the SIFMA Foundation equips young people from all backgrounds, with a particular focus on underserved youth, with a robust understanding of financial markets.

A number of studies have emphasized the critical need for financial education to navigate today’s complex economic landscape. Investing in financial education yields long-term benefits, both for individuals and for society as a whole, by fostering economic stability and reducing financial vulnerabilities, according to Financial Literacy and Financial Education, a recent study by Tim Kaiser and Annamaria Lusardi. It emphasizes the need for comprehensive and accessible educational programs from an early age.

SIFMA Foundation’s programs are leading the way in reaching and engaging youth and their teachers and families.

“It brings me immense joy to extend my heartfelt congratulations to Advik and his teacher for a remarkable achievement in InvestWrite,” said Melanie Mortimer, president of the SIFMA Foundation. “Advik’s essay details a very thoughtful and compelling plan for long-term financial independence. His achievement signals the value of early financial education in setting youth on a path to positive financial life outcomes.”

The Stock Market Game and InvestWrite are offered in Illinois through the generous support of the Illinois Bankers Association. “We honor and congratulate our InvestWrite winning student and teacher,” said Randy Hultgren, president and CEO of the Illinois Bankers Association, “Helping Illinois students better understand our economy, our markets, the role of investors, and how to make good investments will pay dividends for the students, their education and the Illinois economy.”

The Fall 2023 InvestWrite competition posed the following challenge to fourth- to 12th-graders: “Which of your Stock Market Game investments performed well or poorly, and why? Using at least one of your Stock Market Game investments, how would you build a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds aimed at achieving a personal, family, or community goal by 2033.“

Thousands of volunteer financial professionals from hundreds of financial firms select the winners of InvestWrite each year. Advik captivated this panel of expert judges with a compelling and insightful essay.

Advik Dhand’s winning essay

My classroom experience participating in the Stock Market Game (SMG) was astounding because I was exposed to the financial world of investing. As I learned more about the economy and financial terms, I contemplated the financial world from a different perspective. My decisions for stocks were impacted greatly by the financial news. This financial information would help me make decisions on buying stocks, mutual funds, and bonds. Another event that impacted my decision to buy stocks was the holidays. For example, during Christmas, there are discounts on many products. This way, investing in a retail company where people buy products from would increase the value of the company’s stock.

My Stock Market Game portfolio consists of stocks, mutual funds, and bonds. One of my stocks was a retail stock. I invested in it because I knew that because of holiday sales, the stock would go up. Other stocks were tech stocks. New technologies like Generation Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are being released, causing technology companies to be more valued in business. With advanced technology products that buyers are attracted to, it causes the technology stocks’ prices to surge. My mutual funds allowed me to get professional management returns. I also bought corporate and treasury bonds. I bought bonds because I would get paid back the fixed income in the form of interest.

Using technical and fundamental analysis to analyze my portfolio, I would say it’s substantially healthy. An example is Microsoft. Microsoft was upswinging to record highs because of a decision by the CEO, Satya Nadella. Recently, the CEO of Open AI was fired. But soon after, Microsoft hired the Open AI CEO. I sold Microsoft for higher prices, causing a gain of $900. Another stock, Amazon, gained me hundreds of dollars due to increasing revenue during the holiday season.

A community goal I would like to reach in 10 years is to earn enough money to help people in any way worldwide. I would also like to reach a personal goal in 10 years: to buy my dream house and car.

To reach this goal, I would first diversify my $10,000 portfolio with 60% stocks, 25% mutual funds, and 15% bonds. One of the stocks that should be included in my long-term equity portfolio is Microsoft (MSFT). MSFT is a growth stock that increased 50% this year. In the last few months, MSFT has surged a remarkable 30%. Another act would be to buy several moderate-risk mutual funds to add professional investing management to my portfolio. I would also append some corporate and treasury bonds to compensate for the inflation and to conserve my capital while investing. I would invest in multiple high-yield bonds for extra interest paid back. Another stock that should be included in my long-term portfolio is Amazon. This stock has doubled in price over the years. I also bought Riot Platforms Incorporation (RIOT); a highly volatile stock (due to higher beta) based on Bitcoin prices. Over the last few months, Bitcoin has been increasing significantly– approximately 30-40%. Since RIOT had such a small denomination, I was able to buy 1000 shares in this company. As a result, this stock earned several thousand dollars in our portfolio, due to the rise of Bitcoin.

My portfolio is diversified because it consists of stocks, mutual funds, and corporate and treasury bonds. My portfolio has high-risk stocks like RIOT since it is related to cryptocurrency. My portfolio also accommodates moderate-risk blue chip stocks like MSFT and low-risk stocks like PLTR. My portfolio is also diversified with different types of bonds, like corporate bonds such as SPDR S&P 500 (SPY). My portfolio also has treasury and high-yield bonds, like Fidelity Floating Rate High Income (FFRHX).

My portfolio can help me obtain the resources to reach my goal because I can use the growth income earned from investing in stocks and fixed income from investing in bonds. I can utilize this income to pay for the mortgage on my dream house or to buy my dream car. I could also use the growth income to donate to hospitals to help people in need. If my portfolio performs extraordinarily well, then I will be able to achieve my goals within 10 years.

Overall, the performance of my portfolio was bullish. I would use my learnings from the world of finance to invest and earn enough resources to achieve my financial goals. My portfolio was impacted positively because of financial events in the stock markets. To achieve my goal of buying my dream house, I would invest in MSFT, RIOT, mutual funds, and corporate bonds. My portfolio is diversified with stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. It contains high-risk stocks as well as moderate-risk stocks. This portfolio will earn me a growth income, allowing me to be able to pay for my goals.

About the SIFMA Foundation

The SIFMA Foundation is committed to closing the opportunity gap by fostering greater knowledge of the financial markets for young people of all backgrounds. Drawing on the support and expertise of educators and the financial industry, the Foundation provides financial education to strengthen economic opportunity across communities and increase awareness of the benefits of the global marketplace. Since 1977, the Foundation’s flagship program, The Stock Market Game, has guided more than 22 million students on their path to financial independence by attaining stronger life skills, improving academic achievement, and boosting their social-emotional learning. For more information on the SIFMA Foundation, visit

About InvestWrite

InvestWrite is a culminating activity for Stock Market Game students extending their classroom learning with a written challenge to address real-world financial issues and situations. Students must analyze, think critically and problem solve about a long-term saving and investing scenario. More than 275,000 student essays have been evaluated by their teachers and over 50,000 financial professionals have served as volunteer judges. Essays are judged by financial professionals who volunteer their time each year to ensure young people are exposed to the essentials of personal finance early in life. Judges evaluate students’ understanding of long-term investing, diversification, the global capital markets, and factors that drive investments as well as their expression of investment ideas in essay form. Winners locally and nationally rise to the top to earn exciting awards including laptops, classroom pizza parties, trophies, plaques and banners, and certificates. For more information about InvestWrite, visit

About the Illinois Bankers Association

The Illinois Bankers Association is the voice of Illinois’ banking industry, dedicated to creating a positive business climate that benefits the entire banking industry and the communities they serve. Founded in 1891, the IBA brings together state and national banks and savings banks employing more than 105,000 people in nearly 4,500 offices across the state.

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