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Sixth Grader Places First in NJ and 9th in Nation in Investwrite Competition

anushka with her rewardNew York, NY May 9, 2024 - Echoing the immortal words of Nelson Mandela, “It always seems impossible until it’s done,” Anushka Nikhil defied the odds by creating a high-powered investment portfolio that could make Wall Street proud. Currently enrolled in 6th grade at Mount Pleasant Middle School in Livingston, NJ, Anushka developed a diversified investment portfolio aimed at securing long-term financial success.

Anushka’s investment strategy placed her 9th in the nation in the SIFMA Foundation’s Fall 2023 InvestWrite competition. Anushka triumphed among thousands of participants nationwide for her astute insights into the dynamics of capital markets in the middle school division. In recognition of her accomplishment, Anushka and her teacher, Erin Carabello, were honored by the SIFMA Foundation 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 Erin Carabello, Anushka and her teacher for a remarkable achievement in InvestWrite,” said Melanie Mortimer, President of the SIFMA Foundation. “Anushka’s essay details a very thoughtful and compelling plan for long-term financial independence. Her achievement signals the value of early financial education in setting youth on a path to positive financial life outcomes.”

The Fall 2023 InvestWrite competition posed the following challenge to 4th-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. Anushka captivated this panel of expert judges with a compelling and insightful essay.

Winning Essay

A Tale of Stocks and Sushi

Imagine being surrounded by a world of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and new things you’ve never heard of. At the start of the Stock Market Game (SMG) about three and a half months ago, I was nervous as I didn’t have any experience with the stock market. As time went on, I was able to expand my knowledge. At the beginning, I began to worry because my Net Equity Gain continually dropped causing me to sell stocks, I had invested in that dropped below $10. I would eagerly watch my portfolio fluctuate and become upset as one stock drops. Looking back, I have realized that I have made immense growth from the beginning of the SMG. I have become more aware of the stock market, the meanings of different terms and stocks to invest in. This experience has taught me a lot of things I will use and being exposed to the world of finance has piqued my interest in picking it up as a career path.

In my journey in the Stock Market Game, I invested about $90,000-$95,000 of my $100,000 cash balance I started with, making approximately $7,250. Key holdings in my portfolio are Apple (AAPL), Adobe (ADBE), Amazon (AMZN), Arista (ANET), Duolingo (DUOL), Google (GOOGL), LuluLemon (LULU), Microsoft (MSFT)and Tesla (TSLA). I decided to invest in those stocks because of their status on Yahoo Finance and other websites. When deciding which stocks to invest in, I look at the market cap, PE ratio, price per share, bullish or bearish pattern in addition to market factors. For example, according to Yahoo Finance, the Adobe stock is currently $595.70, has a Bullish pattern and the performance outlook is estimated to go up in the mid-term (6 weeks-9 months). With this data, I invested in the stock expecting that it will follow the same pattern and rise. Although I was losing money in the beginning, with research from finance websites, it was likely that stocks like Adobe and Microsoft would go up. I waited and soon after, my stocks started to rise and my portfolio gained money.

Secondly, as the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being used across the world, it influenced me to invest in companies like Microsoft that are investing in AI.

I also learned the importance of having a diverse portfolio. In the beginning, my portfolio was heavy on technology stocks and it started to drop. So, after this experience, it made me change track and diversify my portfolio. I invested in a variety of sectors including automobile stocks, retail, health care, energy, and technology.

In addition, I made the choice of investing in stocks over bonds and mutual funds because stocks get you a higher return on investment in a shorter period although riskier. With the time we must compete in the SMG, stocks were the best option.

A goal I would like to reach in 10 years is to create a sushi restaurant. I enjoy trying different cuisines and I particularly enjoy seafood and sushi. I want to become an entrepreneur and experience creating a business. My sushi restaurant would consist of a variety of seafood options and have special types of sushi which consists of healthier ingredients. Also, this sushi restaurant will provide affordable specialized training to future chefs. This will have a large impact on society and future generations.

To reach my goal, my portfolio will have investments in Microsoft, Tesla, Lululemon and Adobe. To achieve the capital, I would invest in eight shares of Microsoft ($370.95 each) for approximately $2,960. Predictions by financial analysts say this bullish stock will continue to rise and is heavily investing in AI. Next, I would invest in seven shares of Tesla ($242.64) for about $2,694 because electric cars and renewable energy sources are becoming more popular. Additionally, I would invest in five Lululemon shares which are currently $485.26 each (LULU) for $2,418.70. Research shows that Lululemon stock has made about $160 since last year per stock and its performance outlook is positive. Lastly, I would invest in four stocks of Adobe (ADBE) which are $600 each (total $2,400) for its bullish outlook.

These stocks will help my portfolio become diversified because they all fit under different sectors. Microsoft and Adobe fall under the technology sector, Tesla under the automobile sector, and Lululemon is a retail stock. By owning diverse stocks, it will decrease the risk of losing money. To reach my goal of creating a sushi restaurant, I would need to earn about $75,000 to launch it. I would need money to rent the restaurant, cost of materials, employees’ salaries, utilities, and licensing. Based on the history of the stocks, I estimated dividends and selling stocks would get me about $40,000. Any additional amount, I will take loans from the bank and have others in my community invest in my restaurant.

To sum it up, the SMG has been a game changer in my life and has inspired me to walk the path of finance and entrepreneurship. From not knowing anything about the stock market to now making informed decisions on portfolio management, I have surely come a long way. The stocks I chose to invest in will help reach the amount of money I need to reach my impactful goal.

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