The following blog was written by SEONG RYOO, our 2020 Summer Instructor and rising senior at Emory University pursuing a BBA in accounting, Finance and Accounting.
Investing is always one of the most popular camp topics at Wealthy Habits.
Here are some basics we want parents to know before starting their investing journey:
Being young is a huge advantage when it comes to investing. Being young means that you have more time to make more profit, and you have more time to learn from mistakes at less cost.
The recipe to build wealth is no longer a secret. The ingredient needed for you to become wealthy is time. Time is something that even the richest person in the world cannot buy. It is something even the smartest person on the Earth cannot invent. Time is extremely valuable in investing because it is the basic law of growing the profit from an investment. Investment is like a snowball rolling down the side of the mountain. It gets bigger at a faster speed as the snowball has been running down the slope for longer. And this is why it is more advantageous to start investing early. The younger you are, the more time you have.
No one can guarantee that you’ll always make a profit from your investment. Sometimes people make mistakes, and kids have the advantage to fix them. They can learn from past mistakes and make better investment choices in the future. It is easier to fix a mistake you made when you are younger and have relatively fewer responsibilities than when you are older and have a family and other obligations. You can learn from your mistakes at a cheaper price when you are younger.
Investing is a double-edged sword. There are certainly benefits to investing, but it is important to understand the risks. A clear benefit from investing is that you can build wealth without having to work for it. The negative aspect of investing is that you may lose money. Some investors get addicted to investing and spend most of their day looking at the graphs and following the stock market. Some investors leverage more than they can handle and fall into huge debt. Investing can be very dangerous if it is done irresponsibly.
Investing is more than just buying an asset. Investing is a mental game that involves a lot of emotion. It requires confidence in your research and your decision-making as well as devising and sticking to an exit plan. Check out our blog that explains why buying low and selling high is harder here.
Endurance is important in investing. Remember that it takes time for your investments to grow, so don’t let your feeling get the best of you. Don’t make irrational decisions because you are happy or scared. As if you are growing a tree, there will be sunny days and rainy days before you will be able to taste its sweet fruit.
Making decisions is an extremely crucial part of investing. You should never just follow other people and jump on a bandwagon. Those people will not be responsible for the consequences of your action. You should always do your own research, build your own opinions, and make your own decisions. Because you are the one who is taking on the responsibility, you should be in charge of all of your investment decisions.
Investing is not speculating. Many people confuse investing with gambling. I agree that both investing and gambling have uncertainty in common. However, investing and betting are different because you can manage and adjust the level of risk when you invest, and investments have a higher chance of success than gambling.
I want to share a line that I always keep in mind when I think about investing: It is not the smart one making a profit. It is the humble and disciplined one making a profit.
If you’d like your child to learn more about investing, check out our programs for one that fits your family’s needs.
Like so many other educational programs, Wealthy Habits had a choice to cancel programs or go virtual. Our mission is to educate students so it wasn’t a tough decision, but our staff was not under any illusion that it was going to be an easy feat.
From the very start, we’ve worked hard to ensure our programming makes teaching financial literacy as fun as possible through hands-on learning, relevant conversations, fun review games and eye-opening activities.
Until this summer, this has always been done in person. Translating what has worked in person, to remote, computer-based instruction seemed almost impossible.
Three of us spent two full weeks (including nights and weekends) focused on altering the current camp curriculum, deciding on and understanding the technology, and switching from local to nationwide marketing of our classes and camps.
We learned some good lessons while switching from in-person to online instruction that may be helpful to teachers, parents and students for the coming school year. Here are a few of them:
Simplify. Make technology and access to class materials easy. No matter how well everything is set up, there will be issues like bad internet connections, unresponsive websites, dead batteries and invalid passwords.
Tricks we learned:
- Zoom has worked for us. We tried Zoom because of its reviews at the time. It hasn’t been without its issues but in all honesty some of those were likely due to user error.
- Technology isn’t meant to last for many years. Our router was five years old and because it was furnished by our internet provider, it took some convincing to get it replaced. Once it was replaced, our slow and spotty connection was much less of an issue.
- Make sure you have a good and preferably hardwired connection to the internet and other devices. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are great for some things but aren’t always reliable. We had wireless speakers that would work some of the time and not work others.
- A few weeks in, we had five classes going simultaneously. It was extremely helpful to have “mobile workstations” that were all set up the same. Each station had its own computer and extra monitor, Zoom account, speakers, other computer peripherals and whiteboards.
- We needed lots of screen space. The smaller the screen space the less you can see and the harder it is to manage your lessons and your class. We used two full-size screens. One was so we could see all the students and the other was for the lessons.
- When the camera is on, show your face and smile. It really does make a difference
Make it fun. This sounds so much easier than it actually is, but it isn’t impossible.
- Remember to be age appropriate. My college-age child was watching her professors do some really “not-so-funny” funny stuff.
- If you want kids to stay engaged, add a little competition. Talking to a screen of blank faces isn’t fun for anyone. We have one prize at the end of each program that the kids compete for.
- Teach the class as if students are in the room with you. Get them talking. They like sharing their opinions or showing what they know. Not all kids are comfortable sharing and we call on the shy kids periodically to make sure they are still paying attention.
- Try to find a dedicated room to go to, set a schedule and stick to it just as you would with an in-person session.
- Use breakout rooms for kids to work on projects together. The Zoom breakout rooms were a lifesaver. For example, we have a Warren Buffet play that we developed that requires us to divide students into two groups. We encourage each group to be creative – dress the part, set the stage, etc. The instructors can end the sessions when they want, which brings all students back to the main session. The kids then present to the other group and instructors. The best play wins extra points.We use breakout rooms because they allow the kids to talk among themselves without feeling as uncomfortable. The instructors can pop in and out of the breakout rooms to check on the kids’ status.
- We encourage the use of chat function. Not all kids like to talk to a screen, so we mix up some activities with the chat box. It registers the first person to hit send so it can be a great way to integrate competitive learning.
- Going virtual meant we had to find an alternative to the workbooks we give the kids to keep everything together. A lot of teachers use Google Slides but we settled on liveworksheets.com. We like liveworksheets.com because we could upload our existing PDFs and add interactive pieces to them, instead of remaking each page.
- Review games are a fun way to make sure kids understand the information and to show them that learning can be fun. Kahoot!, Google jeopardy and many other tools are easy to set up. During in-person camps, we try to stay away from technology, so these online games have been easier for us to use for our virtual camps. We even have a public Wealthy Habits Kahoot! game. Feel free to check it out.
- Embrace the pros of teaching virtually. We have fewer behavioral issues in our virtual classes than we do in person, we can teach students from all over the country and even from other countries, and students can take classes in their homes, which is more convenient for some families.
For many of us, virtual learning will be part of our immediate future. We were fortunate to have a few weeks to make the switch to online learning. Many teachers were forced into it overnight. I hope some of the lessons we learned can help teachers, parents and students make the best of the situation. If we can make financial literacy fun, even online, then there’s hope for everyone else.
To see for yourself, check out our online camps and programs at WealthyHabits.org.