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Teen has what it takes to do the taxes

Chicago Fed President Michael Moskow (left) stands with Christopher Szulc who wan essay sponsored by HSBC.

Chicago Fed President Michael Moskow (left) stands with Christopher Szulc, who won an essay sponsored by HSBC.

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Updated: May 3, 2013 12:14PM

Christopher Szulc is surely one Money Smart kid! He is not only tall for his age, 14, but incredibly mature. This freshman at McClure Junior High School in Western Springs was designated the Money Smart kid in an essay contest sponsored by HSBC, as part of the Federal Reserve Bank's weeklong celebration of financial literacy.

What made me say he's smart?

Well, how many 14-year-olds have a well-diversified portfolio of stocks and mutual funds, accumulated from summer jobs and saving birthday money gifts? How many kids -- or adults, for that matter -- earned 14 percent on their investment portfolio last year? And how many 14-year-old kids did the family tax return this year?Christopher says he wants to be a financial planner when he grows up. I think he could start now.

He gives a lot of credit for his interest in money to his mother, Barbara, a CPA. She declines the accolade, saying Christopher is just a very self-motivated person, and adding, "My only ingredient was encouragement."

The fact that she took him along when she worked on accounting projects sparked his interest.

He bested more than 100 contestants in the HSBC essay contest, which asked students to explain the impact on their family of a breakdown of the family refrigerator.

This is definitely one money smart kid who will go far in life. And that's The Savage Truth.

Terry Savage's personal finance column appears every Monday in the Chicago Sun-Times. MORE ONLINETo find the Web's best kids-and-money resources, head to

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