11-Year-Old Financial Expert Offers Winning Portfolio Advice to JB Hunt Investment Manager, Sweeps SIFMA Foundation’s InvestWrite® Essay Competition
Mariah Roberts’ compelling essay aims to help a leading company thrive and survive financially, placing her first in the nation for elementary school students
New York, New York, May 9, 2018 – At 11-years old, Mariah Roberts 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 fifth grader from Arnold Drive Elementary School in Jacksonville, Arkansas channeled her inner financial advisor to create and recommend an investment plan for her most admired company, JB Hunt, becoming national first-place winner of SIFMA Foundation’s Spring 2018 InvestWrite® competition. Roberts’ remarkable essay on how to help J.B. Hunt 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 J.B Hunt, Roberts has the investment portfolio figured out!
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 is generously underwritten by Wells Fargo for the SIFMA Foundation. “Wells Fargo’s commitment to the SIFMA Foundation’s InvestWrite program seeks to build a pipeline for financial capability that starts in elementary school, continues through middle and high school and prepares our next generation for college and careers relying on critical financial decisions,” said Jon Weiss, Head of Wells Fargo Wealth and Investment Management. “We believe Wells Fargo can achieve this goal by partnering with the nation’s leader in youth investor education, the SIFMA Foundation, given its reach of 17 million students to date.”
According to Vanessa Cooksey, Senior Vice President and Head of Community Affairs for Wells Fargo Advisors, the grant from Wells Fargo promises to enhance students’ ability across important academic and life skills. “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 is a call to action for our country,” Cooksey stated. “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, Wells Fargo’s commitment addresses the three Rs of education – reading, writing, arithmetic – and financial capability.”
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 4th-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.
"SIFMA Foundation’s Stock Market Game and InvestWrite are transformative programs that prepare students for college, career and life while teaching them about the capital markets and investing,” said Melanie Mortimer, President of the SIFMA Foundation. “Our students do measurably better on math, economics and personal finance tests. They also learn to work in teams, manage change, understand the impact of global economic activity, and become smart consumers ready for financial independence.”
Since InvestWrite was introduced in 2004, more than 222,000 students have submitted essays. Mariah Roberts 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.
Winning InvestWrite essays are chosen through rigorous judging by thousands of teachers and industry professionals who 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 receive exciting awards and prizes including laptops, classroom pizza parties, trophies, plaques and banners, and certificates. The first-place national winners in middle school and high school are awarded a three-day all-expense paid trip to New York City, the financial capital of the world, with their teacher and a parent.
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. Eleven-year-old Roberts selected J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc. and said, “J.B Hunt offers a comprehensive menu of benefits and coverage options that have the flexibility to meet individual and family needs. Plus, it has a strong focus on hiring veterans.” Roberts developed an investment strategy and recommended, “Put one quarter of the money in an easily accessible cash account like a money market account. Then put 25% in stocks such as Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and of course JBHT. Another 25% should go into mutual funds such as HSNAX with a five-year return rate of 17.22%. With the last quarter invested in bond funds, I might suggest the very cautious Vanguard Short-Term Investment Grade Investor (VFSTX).”
An independent, double-blind, nationally randomized evaluation conducted by Learning Point Associates (now AIR) found that The Stock Market Game improves students’ academic achievement and personal financial behavior. Students who participated in the SIFMA Foundation’s Stock Market Game scored significantly higher on mathematics and financial literacy tests than their peers who did not participate. They also found that teachers who taught The Stock Market Game reported that the program motivated them to better plan for their own financial futures. The Stock Market Game has been named the only program that successfully increased scores on the Jumpstart Coalition’s test of high school students’ financial literacy.
Roberts’ teacher, Rick Kron, is in his 23rd year of teaching and believes in getting his students ready for life, not just “the test”. He said, “That's where Investwrite comes in--InvestWrite gives scholars an opportunity to expand their world from the classroom to reality. For many, it is through SMG and Investwrite that they see a world that they might not have ever seen.”
The Stock Market Game and InvestWrite are offered in Arkansas through Economics Arkansas. “We honor and congratulate our InvestWrite winning student, Mariah Roberts and her teacher, Rick Kron,” said Marsha Masters, Associate Director of Economics Arkansas, “Helping Arkansas 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 Arkansas economy.”
Winning Essay by Mariah Roberts: Keep on Trucking
“Smokey & the Bandit” reruns and trucking company stories from my dad have me in an “Eastbound and Down” mood. In other words, I’d like to work for the same trucking company my dad did, J.B Hunt. It’s more than my dad’s stories and movies that have me looking at this company though. It’s how the company operates, what it does for the employees, and that it’s a good investment. For 2017, J.B Hunt Transport (JBHT) saw revenues increase by 10 percent to $7.2 billion. The company may soon be approaching the $10 billion milestone.
J.B Hunt’s business can be described by its four primary operating segments: Intermodal, dedicated contracted, integrated capacity solutions, and trucking. The company has three operating segments, which generated more than $1 billion in revenue. Intermodal remains by far the dominant one at $4.1 billion but dedicated contracted may get to $2 billion in 2018. The ICS segment recently broke through the $1 billion mark. These are all good signs of a well-managed company. The company trades for about $110 a share, making it affordable. Seven years ago, it was trading for about $4.77, so that’s a solid upward growth of 2,200% – so, truck on.
That’s all good as an investor, but what about for the employees? The company allows pets to ride; they have apps to help drivers; they help after natural disasters; and they give children at hospital’s toys for Christmas. J.B Hunt offers a comprehensive menu of benefits and coverage options that have the flexibility to meet individual and family needs. Plus, it has a strong focus on hiring veterans. I’m not one yet, but it’s good to know.
Once I’m well established in the company, I’ll invite CFO David Mee, I think I’ll be able to just call him Dave, for coffee and talk about the state of the industry, and financial growth. As a first-place Stock Market Game winner he will know that I have the background and experience to talk finance and because he was named one of the nation’s best chief financial officers in 2017, I know that he knows what he’s talking about. We’ll talk about bonds, mutual funds and stocks.
A bond fund, debt fund and security bond funds can be contrasted with stock funds, and money funds. A bond fund is the safest but has the least return. A mutual fund is an investment strategy that allows you to put your money with other investors. A mutual fund is the second safest investment with the second-best return. A stock is ownership of shares of a company. A stock is the shakiest but has the potential for the most return.
I would suggest to Dave that any money the company plans to invest be split into quarters. Put one quarter of the money in an easily accessible cash account like a money market account. Then put 25% in stocks such as Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and of course JBHT. Another 25% should go into mutual funds such as HSNAX with a five-year return rate of 17.22%. With the last quarter invested in bond funds, I might suggest the very cautious Vanguard Short-Term Investment Grade Investor (VFSTX).
Fortune magazine has the company on its list of “America’s Most Admired Companies.” It has been listed on IDG Computerworld’s list of “100 Best Places to Work” six different times and is a four-time recipient of G.I. Jobs magazine’s award as “One of the Top 100 Military-Friendly Employers.” They employ 20,000 people across 400 factories across the county.
So why wouldn’t I want to be a part of J. B Hunt?
About Wells Fargo Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.9 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 8,600 locations, 13,000 ATMs, the internet (wellsfargo.com/Homeownership) and mobile banking, and has offices in 42 countries and territories to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 269,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 27 on Fortune’s 2016 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. News, insights and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories. Visit https://stories.wf.com/ Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC, Member SIPC, a separate registered broker dealer and non bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company. Wells Fargo Wealth and Investment Management (WIM) is a division within Wells Fargo & Company. WIM provides financial products and services through various bank and brokerage affiliates of Wells Fargo & Company.
About the SIFMA Foundation for Investor Education
The SIFMA Foundation is dedicated to fostering knowledge and understanding of the financial markets for individuals of all backgrounds, with a focus on youth. Drawing on the support and expertise of the financial industry, the SIFMA Foundation provides financial education programs and tools that strengthen economic opportunities across communities and increase individuals’ access to the benefits of the global marketplace. Notable Foundation programs include The Stock Market Game™, which has served 17 million students since it began in 1977, the InvestWrite® national essay competition, the Capitol Hill Challenge™, and Invest It Forward™. For more information on the work of the SIFMA Foundation, visit www.sifma.org/foundation.
About Economics Arkansas
Since 1962, Economics Arkansas has been training Arkansas teachers K-12 how to integrate principles of economics and personal finance into the classroom curriculum. Economically savvy students become smarter citizens, voters, consumers and producers. We offer resources and professional development training for teachers throughout the year, and we invite individuals and organizations to become our supporters in our ongoing efforts to build an economically literate Arkansas, visit www.economicsarkansas.org.
SIFMA is the voice of the U.S. securities industry. We represent the broker-dealers, banks and asset managers whose nearly 1 million employees provide access to the capital markets, raising over $2.5 trillion for businesses and municipalities in the U.S., serving clients with over $18.5 trillion in assets and managing more than $67 trillion in assets for individual and institutional clients including mutual funds and retirement plans. SIFMA, with offices in New York and Washington, D.C., is the U.S. regional member of the Global Financial Markets Association (GFMA). For more information, visit www.sifma.org.