The Winner of the September 'What I Wish They Taught in School' Money Challenge!

The Winner of the September 'What I Wish They Taught in School' Money Challenge!

heatherLast month, in the spirit of back-to-school season, we called on our readers to share the important money lessons they wish they had learned in school.

Turns out, we aren’t the only ones who would have appreciated a little Personal Finance 101 mixed in with our history and English lessons: We received more than 250 amazing responses (you can check them all out here), and enjoyed reading each one. Thanks to everyone for sharing your stories.

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We’d also like to congratulate Heather McGraw, a small business owner from Springfield, Va., as the winner of our September Money Challenge. She’ll receive $250 to put toward her financial dreams.

Below, check out the essential lesson Heather wishes she had been taught in school—and what she’s doing now to catch up:

“One word: Investing. In general, I would have loved a required core course in college on personal finance—with topics like how to maintain good credit, among other necessities.

But my biggest goal is retirement, and so I'm well aware that the key tool in my arsenal is going to be smart investing through growth and compounding.  It would have been awesome if I had started receiving exposure to investing in grade school—with progressively more in-depth lessons as I got older. I'm now a few days shy of my 36th birthday, and I'm still clueless (and terrified) about investing! When I attempt little forays into the world of stocks and bonds and mutual funds, I feel like Dorothy in 'The Wizard of Oz': ‘Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!’

RELATED: What Should You Expect When Investing in Stocks?

To try to catch up, I read everything I can possibly get my hands on. I first discovered LearnVest in February of this year, and since then, I've been making a point of reading the daily email every single day. I've also already completed two of the bootcamps.

One of the most helpful lessons I have learned recently is the importance of diversification. When I first started investing, I put my entire deposit into one fund. It did great when the stock market crashed, but when stocks started recovering, it plummeted. Oops. Now I'm working on spreading things out so that a loss in any particular area will be balanced by the other types of investments I have.

RELATED: How Do You Rebalance an Investment Portfolio?

Overall, I still consider myself a beginner when it comes to investing, but I'm pursuing learning with zeal and I see myself growing every day. It's a very exciting feeling! I just wish I had learned about it earlier.

Money knowledge (or lack thereof) is destined to have such a HUGE impact on everything we will do in life; why not make those lessons mandatory?”

Thank you, Heather!

Do you have a go-to tip for making sure your budget stays on track? If so, take our new Fall Progress Money Challenge—you'll be entered to win $250! 

LearnVest Planning Services is a registered investment adviser and subsidiary of LearnVest, Inc. that provides financial plans for its clients. Information shown is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Please consult a financial adviser for advice specific to your financial situation.

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