Looking for a new financial advisor? You might want to get in touch with Fernbrook fifth grader Jack Putland.
Last October, Jack invested a virtual $100,000 in the stock market. After seven months of strategic buying, selling and trading, he was up to $180,221.67—placing him third among 208 middle school teams in the region competing in the BestPrep Stock Market GameTM®.
His strategy? “I thought about what would happen after the pandemic… stuff would open again.” He invested in experiences, like IMAX; banks, like Wells Fargo; and shopping hubs, like Target and Kohl’s (which turned out to be his biggest moneymaker). Along the way, Jack dropped some of his investments: BioNTech became less promising once Pfizer began its vaccine development, and he knew “there had to be some breaking point” in the popularity of McDonald’s. He lived by a mantra: “As they always say: ‘buy low, sell high.’”
“Kids get hooked on it”
Kim LeClaire, Jack’s TAG (Talent Development, Academic Challenge and Gifted Support) teacher, has played the Stock Market Game with the students in her fifth grade qualitative section for the past six years. “It’s a real-time game; what happens in the stock market happens in your portfolio,” she says. “Kids get hooked on it.”
The lesson plans start simply: LeClaire prompts students to think about the brands in their own closets, bathrooms and kitchen cupboards. She explains that many of those brands are owned by parent companies, whose shares are sold on the stock market. Eventually, she leads the class through discussions of municipal funds, bonds, and diversifying portfolios.
Though LeClaire’s students generally play the game in teams, this year they competed as individuals in order to reduce the disruption of learning model shifts. Many students had strategic helpers at home: “Some parents say, ‘before I do this with my real money, let’s try it with your virtual dollars,’” says LeClaire. She has seen many families create investment portfolios for their children after playing the game. “I think it’s a great way for them to see how money can grow.”
Celebrating Jack’s achievement
Jack was honored at a virtual awards ceremony on Thursday, May 20, with his dad and family from Canada tuning in. Friends at Fernbrook also gathered together for a celebratory lunch on Thursday afternoon.
Jack’s favorite part of the game? “It was in real time,” he says. “It made you feel like you were a real investor.”