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A Kids Investment Contest Parents Can Learn From.

Helping kids become savers and then investors is probably one of the greatest gifts adults can show them. If you're stuck for how to start that process, let Stein Roe help.

From now until the end of the year, December 31, kids in grades 5 though 12 can participate in the 6th Annual Young Investor Essay Contest. Prizes are shares of Stein Roe's Young Investor Fund, (SRYIX), with first prize winners receiving $5000 worth of shares of that mutual fund; second place winners, $2,500 in shares; and third place winners, $1000 in shares.

David Brady, has been the fund's portfolio manager since its inception in 1994. He manages the fund for long-term capital appreciation and invests primarily in large-cap companies the names of which kids are likely to be familiar with---like Johnston & Johnson and Microsoft. He also manages the fund with an eye toward education as fund shareholders receive a number of kid-directed educational newsletters about investing and the markets throughout the year.

The essay questions for this year's contest are perhaps the best to date. Why? Because while the contest is for kids, adults might be wise to take the time to answer them on their own.

The essay questions kids in grades 5 through 8 will be asked to write a 250-word essay on is: What are the most important lessons you have learned about money and investing? How do you think this knowledge will help you in the future?

Those in grades 9 through 12 will be asked: Tell us about someone who you consider a successful investor. Please include three rules you believe every investor should follow.

I don't know about you, but I think those are great questions. Take the time to answer them yourself, and the answers might help you if you're ever stuck trying to figure out what to do with the investments in your portfolio.

So if money and investing are subjects you don't feel comfortable ---or knowledgeable---about, why not use those essay questions to get you thinking. And then, to begin some intergenerational discussions with. Each is thought-provoking and kids generally love hearing stories about the wow's and woe's of money. Particularly when those stories are true and come from their parents, grandparents or any other adults that they trust.

To request an entry form for the 6th Annual Stein Roe Young Investors Essay Contest, call 800-403-KIDS. Or, visit Stein Roe's web site at wwww.steinroe.com ; Liberty Funds' web site at www.libertyfunds.com ; or the Young Investor education web site at www.younginvestor.com.

Remember, this contest is for kids. So don't write the answers for them ---this is not a science project.

T. Rowe Price has a new Estate Planning Guide to help investors better understand personal finance and estate planning.

The 36-page guide will help you understand everything from how assets are held, to wills, trusts, federal estate taxes. and the best way to control your assets. For example, the guide reads: If you own real estate in a state different from your legal residence, consider putting it in your revocable living trust now in order to avoid ancillary probate ( i.e., probate in the state where the real estate is located in addition to probate in your state of residence) at your death or the death of your spouse.

The T. Rowe Price Estate Planning Guide is free and can be ordered by calling 1-800-332-6407.

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