"How to Create Financial Independence by Understanding Five Principles of Investing" is the title of the investor education and protection initiative which invites South Dakota high school seniors to submit a five-page essay that could earn them cash prizes of up to $5,000. Under the contest rules, students must write one page on each of the following five principles: How Financial Markets Work, Time Value of Money, How Credit Card Debt Affects Your Ability to Invest, Understanding the Pyramid of Investment Risk, and Avoiding Investment Fraud. Students can begin their research on the Web at www.FL2010.org and are encouraged to consult any person or area of information for assistance, as long as the final essay is written in their own words without outside help. In addition to submitting and essay, students must also be sponsored by a teacher from their high school.
Essays will be judged based on their content as it relates to the five principles of investing. Upon being judged, each entry will be placed in one of four levels: A, B, C or D. When all papers are categorized, Securities Division officials will randomly draw two winners from Level A, with both winners receiving $5,000. Teachers sponsoring the Level A winners receive $500.
One essay will be randomly drawn from each of the remaining levels (B, C and D) with those students receiving cash prizes of $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000, respectively. The high school teacher sponsoring the most senior student essays wins $500. Chances of winning are subject to the number of entries received and the number in each level.
Deadline to submit entries to the essay contest is Jan. 14, 2006 with winners to be announced by April 30, 2006. Only hard copy entries are eligible; electronic entries will not be accepted. Contest rules and more information are available at all South Dakota high schools or on the Web at www.state.sd.us/securities/essay.htm.
The essay contest is funded by a grant from the Investor Protection Trust (IPT), a nonprofit organization devoted to investor education. Since 1993, the IPT has worked with states to provide independent, objective investor education all Americans can use to make informed investment decisions.
For more information, visit www.investorprotection.org.