Christiansburg Elementary student recognized nationally for future financial plan

Published: Mar. 26, 2020 at 7:43 PM EDT
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One hometown fifth grader received a special surprise for her financial plan to become a wildlife biologist.

On Thursday, Catlin Miller’s teacher and principal surprised her with an award at her doorstep because the school assembly to announce it was canceled.

Miller pitched a $259,482 investment plan to fund her dream to get degrees in wildlife biology.

It was through the SIFMA Foundation’s National InvestWrite Competition, a national essay competition, judged by thousands of financial professionals. She was chosen for her understanding of long-term investing to achieve her goals.

Miller is a student at Christiansburg Elementary School.

Winning Essay by Catlin Miller Many people have thought about what they want to be when they grow up. Not many people, however, have thought about how they want to get there. I want to be a wildlife biologist when I grow up, and there are several things that I need to do to become one. But, right now, I want to tell you why my dream is important to me. I want to be a wildlife biologist because I want to help animals. I want to study how humans impact the lives and habitats of animals. Some ever-growing forms of destruction caused by humans are deforestation, agricultural expansion, urbanization, fragmentation, and habitat destruction. This can and will cause challenges for animals and people. As time goes on and as we get more advanced, this will continue to be a bigger problem. I am 10 years old. I will be 18 when I go to college. This gives my investor eight years to invest before I need money to pay for college. A wildlife biologist needs a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. A bachelor’s degree will take four years to finish. A master’s degree will take two years to complete. I looked up how much it will cost each year including living expenses by the time I am in college. According to the website Vanguard College Cost Projector, six years of tuition at a state college near me will cost $259,482. A plan my investor could use to get enough money to invest in my dream is selecting companies that are performing above the S&P 500. The average earnings of S&P 500 companies over ten years is 10% according to my research. Some investments that I will recommend to my investor to invest in are Microsoft Corporation, Zoetis Inc, the school municipal bond, and IDEXX Laboratories. I selected these stocks and bonds because they are all doing well in the S&P 500. I selected Zoetis Inc because it is an animal company, and because its stock price to earnings ratio is 43.78. I selected Microsoft because its P/E ratio is 26.50. Another reason I selected Microsoft is because they are the leading company in the S&P 500! I selected the school municipal bond because our county doesn’t have a lot of debt, so they have a high rating. In fact, the bond is going to be used to renovate our school, which was built in 1963. Although our county has a high rating making this investment safe, the interest rate of the bond is only 2.3% so I would not recommend buying much of this. I selected IDEXX Laboratories because their P/E ratio is 57.63. Another reason I selected IDEXX Laboratories is because they are an animal company! They use their profits to help animals. My investment plan is that from year one to year five, my investor should have more stocks than bonds. At year five, they should buy more bonds than stock so that they are guaranteed more safety, but still a lot of money. For example, from one year to five years, they should have about 80% stock and 20% bonds. Then, they should raise the amount of bonds at five years. Also, it is important to keep in mind that you must have risk. You cannot earn money without risk. My investor should take some chances and grow the amount of money by following this plan. Also, I recommend that any dividend paid be reinvested half in bonds, half in stock. If I need $259,482 in eight years, my investor will have to put $50,000 in the stock market now and put $1059.13 in the stock market each month for ten years. I used the Investor.Gov Compounding Calculator to figure this out. Not many people think about how we harm animals every day, and how it affects humans. We have a huge effect on the animal planet. Now, we must stop and think about it. I think this is important because animals are crucial to this planet. I think it is important to understand the value of biodiversity. We must speak up for animals since they can’t speak up for themselves. Thank you for taking the time to read my essay. By investing in me, we can help humankind take a step toward protecting our planet, and the rare species that live here. I think that animals are important, and by reading this, now I hope that you do, too!
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