It takes years to build up the financial savvy to navigate the markets. But fifth grader Kyra Johnson of Holy Trinity School, San Pedro, is decades ahead of the game, having just won first place in the SIFMA Foundation’s InvestWrite California state essay competition with McGraw Hill Financial.

The SIFMA Foundation's InvestWrite competition, in its 10th anniversary year, challenges students in grades 4-12 to analyze an investment scenario and recommend portfolio allocations targeting short-and long-term financial goals.

Johnson is one of 20,000 students across the nation who take the InvestWrite challenge each year. Winning InvestWrite essays are chosen through rigorous judging by teachers and industry professionals who evaluate students’ understanding of asset allocation, the stock market, and factors that drive investments as well as their expression of investment ideas in essay form.

"Teaching students at a very young age the basics of finance and the stock market is essential to their broad education and to being well-informed investors later in life,” said Douglas L. Peterson, president and CEO of McGraw Hill Financial. “As financial markets become more complex and more global, investors of all ages can benefit from learning how to save, spend and earn money wisely — what we call ‘financial essentials.’ We are delighted to support the SIFMA Foundation and congratulate Kyra on this achievement.”

Kyra, who has a passion for astronomy and the solar system, plans to be an astronaut and an author. In her spare time, she plays volleyball for Holy Trinity and the Triumph Volleyball Club.