Genius Hour Post # 6

I can’t believe the time has finally come but this will be my 6th and last Genius Hour post. This project has been a focus of mine for the past few months. Over the course of the semester I’ve learned a ton researching and designing this project. Now it’s time to really tie it all together and present it. It’s also time to outline how this project will continue going forward.

In terms of presenting this project, it really needs to be used in a classroom setting. I believe it would be a great yearlong part of a high school business class. I would love to present this type of project to a high school and show them the benefits learning about finances can have for young students. It would be particularly beneficial for students who are interested in the business world. Having students in a business class that are eager to learn about business topics such as personal finance will make the project even more effective as the students will be interested and eager to learn.

In my research of the project I’ve found there are a few important topics that really encompass what you need to know about personal finance. The classroom project and teaching would revolve around these concepts. First is to start saving early. The students would be taught the importance of saving early and the positive impacts it can have. To truly illustrate this, the teacher will have the students conduct time value of money projects which show the power of accumulating interest. Secondly, diversifying your portfolio is extremely important. For this the students will learn different diversifying strategies and learn the importance and impact diversification has. Lastly, the concept of making a sound investment strategy and sticking to it will be stressed to the students. To reinforce this, the students will participate in an online competition where they will receive fake money to invest in stocks. This semester long project will illustrate how volatile the stock market is and show them that the average individual will lose money if they are constantly buying and trading stocks. Sticking to your strategy and leaving your portfolio alone is the best strategy for accumulating wealth with your investment.

This project should be fun for the students. In our business class in high school we did a similar stock market project where we invested money. However, we were not very well supervised and were not instructed on investing strategy. We really didn’t gain anything from the project or the class as a whole. Hopefully when incorporating the strategy I have presented and hammering home the 3 core concepts of personal finance I presented, students will walk away with a strong grasp of how they can effectively invest and save for their future. Thank you for reading my blog and hope you enjoyed.

Genius Hour Post # 6

Genius Hour Post #5

As I continue to research my genius hour project I am learning more and more about investing and some strategies I can pass on to my students. Lots of the topics I’ve researched seem basic on the surface but are actually quote complicated once you delve deeper. One such subject is diversifying your investments. This seems like an easy concept where you simply invest in different stocks. Investing in different stocks helps you lower your risk because if one stock fails, you have money invested in other stocks that hopefully maintain their price or increase in value.

However, diversification is a much more important and complex part of investing than simply purchasing different types of stocks. First, you have to invest in the right selection of different stocks to properly diversify your portfolio. If you simply invest in only different fast food restaurants, something that affects the restaurant industry as a whole can negatively affect your entire portfolio. To properly diversify, you must purchase a large spread of stocks in different industries. Purchasing stocks in manufacturing, technology, energy etc. helps to protect your investment.

An important question to consider though, is what would happen if the stock market crashed? The answer is your entire investment would be gone and you would be in big financial trouble. All your hard work of saving, investing and diversifying would be for not. This is why it is important to diversify beyond just stocks. Investing strategy recommends you diversify in different asset classes beyond just equity. This means investing in debt, real estate, commodities, foreign equity and cash equivalents. Diversifying among different asset classes and within each class is the best way to completely diversify your portfolio and help manage your risk.

Genius Hour Post #5

Genius Hour Post 4: The interview

For my Genius Hour project I wanted to get an outside perspective from someone I know. For this part of the project I decided to talk to my Dad about some financial advise he wishes he would have had when he was a kid. I talked with my Dad on the phone for about 15 minutes and we discussed several aspects of my project. The main highlights covered financial mistakes he made, things he thinks young adults should know about investing, and the importance of investing early.

One of the aspects of the interview I thought was very interesting was my Dad talking about some things he wishes he had known when he was younger. One thing we discussed was the first car he purchased. Right after college my Dad decided he wanted to upgrade from the car he had driven since he was in high school. He finally had some disposable income and decided he could afford to do it. What he regrets is that he sold shares of stock he had purchased to afford his down payment. This was a poor financial decision he wishes he had been given better advice about as stocks are an investment that normally appreciate in value while a car immediately looses value upon purchase.

We also discussed some other investment advice young adults should have. One major thing my Dad recommended was to just stay informed. A big part of accumulating wealth and saving money is to know how to invest. Keeping up with financial news is an important part of that. We discussed how much information is readily available these days for investors. It’s very easy to spend 20 minutes every day reading the Wall Street Journal or following twitter accounts that provide information about public companies to invest in. Creating these habits as a young adult can go a long way and greatly improve your ability to be a smart investor down the road.

Finally, I asked my dad about his opinion on investing early. He said it’s obviously a smart thing to do, but also not something to stress about in your early 20’s. As a college student there’s just no real way for you to earn and save enough money to dramatically affect your future. He did stress the importance however of when you start working to take advantage of your 401k and any employer matching. Investing in that early especially if your employer matches at a 50% rate can go a long way to helping you save money for retirement.

Genius Hour Post 4: The interview

Genius Hour Post #3

For my genius hour project I have continued to research about my project. Recently I have found 5 sources of information. These sources consisted of several peer reviewed articles, websites and a book. The information I uncovered will greatly aid me going forward with my genius hour project. It’s given me some new ideas and definitely has expanded my knowledge on financial strategy and smart ways to invest. All of it is great info that I will be able to pass along to my students through my genius hour project.

Three of my sources are different chapters in “A Beginner’s Guide to Investing” by Alex H. Frey. This book is a great read for anyone looking to learn more about investing their own money. I discovered this book through one of my accounting professors who recommended it to me. Reading it, I found it was very easy to understand and put everything into simple, easy to understand terms. The whole time I read it I thought it would be great to use for my project because High School aged students would be able to read and understand the content it presents. The 3 chapters I chose as sources were chapter 1: How to double your money every 7 years. Chapter 2: Laying a solid investment and chapter 9: Putting it into practice. I chose these 3 chapters because they give a great outline on how to invest money and some of the benefits to it. Chapters 1 and 2 give a great introduction to saving and investing money. They illustrate the power of compounding interests and go into some of the principles and strategies of investing money. I chose chapter 9 because it gets into the practical aspects of investing. Chapter 9 describes the actual practice of investing and what accounts to allocate which assets into for maximum effect.

My 4th source is a website, http://www.zacks.com.proxy-remote.galib.uga.edu/. This website is full of incredible investing information. First off I found this site through the use of Galileo, a research data base. I filtered under business & finance and then went to the link for this site under “More Databases.” Zack’s is a website designed to put lots of investment research in one central location. Zack’s is run by investment brokers and experts. It has links that give information about any company that sells stock in the market, information about stocks Zack’s brokers and experts recommend and much, much more. Upon finding this site, I felt it was perfect for my project. It is easy to use and gives tons of information my students could use to research stocks, learn about different account types you can invest in, personal finance information, as well as designing and maintaining a portfolio.

My last source is an article from the street, “How to Invest- Basic Investing Strategy.” This article does a great job of laying out investing strategies that are easy to put into practice. I found this source by going through the website. Thestreet is a website one of my past finance professors recommended as a source for investing information. I looked through the site and searched “basic investing strategy” which brought me to this article. The article goes over the goals of investing, different ways to invest and how to diversify your assets to protect your investment. This article would be great for my students as an introduction to investing and outlines for them strategies they can use to invest their money.

My research has been great and will really help me with my genius hour project moving forward. I found some great ways to explain the power of compounding interest, learned several new investing strategies, and found out how to allocate and diversify different assets. All of this will be great to pass along to my students through this genius hour project.

Sources:

DeFeo, J. (2012, October 31). How to Invest – Basic Investing Strategies. Retrieved October 15, 2015.

Frey, A. (2013). A beginner’s guide to investing: How to grow your money the smart and easy way. Ivy Publications LLC.

Zack’s. Retrieved October 13, 2015, from http://www.zacks.com.

Genius Hour Post #3

Genius Hour Post #2

Since my first post I’ve been doing some additional research into my topic as well as looking at other students Genius Hour projects. The other students projects range all over the place in terms of subject matter. Some students want to help kids find their way through sports, while others want to help students eat healthier. These topics and many others are vastly different from my topic in terms of subject matter, however, they all tie together in that they are all focused on teaching young students valuable life-skills/lessons.They also are similar to my topic in that they use technology and hands on creative learning techniques to teach the students.

In addition to the other projects, several students had topics very similar to mine. Eshan’s project is very similar to mine in that he wants to teach younger students to be financially savvy. Also, Al-Ameen wants to teach kids about professionalism and the technology they can use to do that. This topic as well as Eshan’s are similar to my project of helping kids become smarter financially. All three of us have the goal of helping students gain financial/professional skills now that will help them down the road.

I have also conducted some research on the internet and on twitter to aid in my project. Several twitter pages that would be good for students to follow for my genius hour project are @WSJ, @MikeBloomberg and @Forbes. All of these post very important information on world events and financial topics. Paying attention to the things they post is a very important part of investing. In addition I found a great book that I’ve been reading on investing that I will expand upon in my next blog post. Lastly, I have also found several interactive websites that will enable students to manage a stock portfolio as well as play around with interest rates and saving for the future which I will also detail further in blog posts to come. Stay tuned to my blog for the next update on my genius hour project.

Genius Hour Post #2

Genius Hour Project: Helping Students learn smart financial skills

For my Genius Hour project I plan to teach high school students about the importance of saving their money and the benefits it can have. I know my younger siblings get money during the holidays or for a birthday or for small jobs. Once they get this money they immediately spend it on shoes, sports equipment, etc. My goal would be to work with students to illustrate the advantages of saving some of this money especially in the long term.

One interactive activity that we could conduct would be a mock portfolio assignment. Students would be allowed to allocate a set amount of money into a portfolio of their design. It could include stocks, bonds, mutual funds, cd’s etc. Then the students could participate throughout the semester and see how their portfolio performs. There are many online sights that allow you to create a mock portfolio and track your progress over a period of time. The mock portfolio assignment will give students hands on experience with finances and illustrate to them the amount of money they can make by investing.

Students could also work on a project that shows the power of compounding interest on their savings. While the mock portfolio project will be fun, students will only be able to participate for a semester or two max. Such a short time frame inhibits students from being able to grasp the large amount of money investing can make over time. In order to illustrate this, I can show the kids several time value of money examples. We could do one where a student saves $5 every month from now until they graduate and invests it in the market. Using a conservative 5-6% rate of return and keeping that money invested until they retire it can turn into several thousand dollars.

Hopefully through fun, engaging projects like these students can see the power and benefits of saving their money. Buying into these principles at an early age will help ensure more of these students are fiscally responsible in the future. This is extremely important and recent statistics have shown that only 5% of millennials are on track to have a sufficient amount of money saved by the time they retire. Teaching students smart financial principles will go a long way to helping them in the future and helping them gain long term financial security.

Genius Hour Project: Helping Students learn smart financial skills