Students have first-hand success in stock market

Friday, April 10, 2009

How would you like to turn a thousand dollars into $1,600 in 10 weeks? No, it's not a get-rich-quick or Ponzi scheme.

Better yet, how about turning $100,000 into $165,361.29 over the same time period?

That's exactly what Lynn Channer's Arthur County students did with virtual money in a recent educational exercise.

Channer's class was the winner of the high school division in the Nebraska Stock Market Game, a 10-week online investment competition for primary, secondary and college students, sponsored by the Nebraska Council on Economic Education.

Younger kids did almost as well; Mickle Middle School in Lincoln turned $100,000 in virtual money into $145,949.39 and Hillrise Elementary in Elkhorn wound up with $113,862.98 in the contest, which ended April 3.

The Stock Market Game is an in-depth introduction to equity markets where students and teachers trade real stocks and make real choices. Along the way, students get classroom instruction while learning to conduct research, allocate resources and polish their writing, analytical and communication skills.

It's hard to have a positive view of the stock market when so many of us have seen our 401(k)s and other investments lose a major fraction of their value, thanks to the sub-prime mortgage fiasco and other unethical or even illegal manipulations.

Yet, as the students learned, and as President Obama himself even noted, there's no better time to invest than when you can buy at bargain prices.

No, there is no guarantee the stock market won't fall even farther, but we have to have faith the American economy eventually will come back. Careful investment in the stock market -- after doing your homework -- is one way to share in the recovery.

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