Young Investors turn passion for stock market into way to help others build their own portfolio

Della Johnson | Staff Writer

Wall Street hopefuls are taking a risk at striking it rich.

As graduation nears on the horizon for many students, worries often arise surrounding the prospect of increasing their bank balances to start off adulthood on the right foot. Besides working a part-time job, another option that is being explored by those seeking extra money is investment–through stocks, bonds, or other avenues. 

Student extracurricular involvement is a prime method of learning about ways to broaden one’s finances at a young age. The investment club at Mason High School is headed by senior Ryan Griffith, who has been investing since the eighth grade. Originally, he chose to begin buying and selling shares solely to pay off large future expenses. 

“What gave me the passion to invest was when I started looking at colleges, and looking at the price of those colleges,” Griffith said. “I realized that there was definitely no way I was going to pay for tuition while working a minimum wage job. So, I started looking at other ways where I could make money, outside of work. I heard about investing through one of my neighbors; he’s a wealth manager. I got to investing through him. Ever since then, I have had a huge passion for it, and have just fallen in love with it.”

Through the investment club, members participate in competitions that involve researching possible companies to invest in or making the most money from a starting amount over a simulated period of time. While taking part in these, Griffith has grown closer with his team and furthered his competitive strategy, pushing past the perceived stoic nature of finance.

“(Competitions are) fun because you’re in your group and you’re pitching ideas,” Griffith said. “Like, ‘We should buy this one, sell this one, or have a little bit of this one.’ It’s really fun. I’d definitely say I’ve made some friends in the club.” 

Also stemming from a passion to share his knowledge in commerce, Junior Sanjay Swamy began his own class recently, titled Investment 101, where he teaches high schoolers from all over the tri-state area about the benefits of investing early and how to do it. The course, being online, is accessible to many.

Through the way it is organized, Swamy has done his best to ensure the information is catered towards a younger audience. He said he hopes to make it very easy to understand so that more people will be inclined to tackle financial exchanges.

“My class is pretty much this online course that acts like an enhanced Khan Academy module,” Swamy said. “There’s different chapters and sections, and each chapter has a few videos that explain about different concepts that are important to know in the stock market. It’s mostly geared towards people my age, because nobody invests their money right now and I’m actively trying to change that by making the course really informal and super simple to understand.”

Continuing his efforts to make the class straightforward, the subject matter that Swamy covers stacks complexity onto the basics. He explained the specific topics he helps teach students so that they can build their confidence in investing from the ground up. 

“As for content, I start off with basics, such as ‘what is a stock, how do you buy one, how to place a buy-sell order,’ and more,” Swamy said. “Then, I delve into how to find stocks to buy through fundamental and technical analysis. I talk about this thing called options, which is a bit more complex and it’s for people that are really interested in the stock market. In the end, I teach everyone how to set up a brokerage account which allows you to trade from your phone.”

While most people choose to begin inspecting their financial opportunities after they are well into adulthood, Griffith disagrees with the idea. Instead, he preaches starting young with one’s investing to ensure maximum payback over the years, as well as following a few guidelines.

“I recommend starting young and saving your money in the market rather than a savings account,” Griffith said. “When you invest, you learn how to take a loss, you learn different strategies. It’s important to have a certain amount in your cash. So that way you’re not all on the market if there ever is a recession. My advice is, diversify your portfolio. Don’t put all your money in one in one company.”

Swamy feels that when taking into account the economical climate today it only makes sense to educate young people about what seems like the “secret” of investing, as it can lead to a big profit. 

“I feel like there should be a lot more urgency called to investing,” Swamy said. “Nowadays, investing is easier than ever and nobody has commissions. You can legitimately do it from your phone.”