Teaching Kids the Value of Measured Risk

Thacher junior, Dylan, received the gift of stock from his aunt for his twelfth birthday but didn’t understand what it was or what to do with it. Now that he does, he is sharing that knowledge with others.
In sixth grade, when Dylan ’22 received Sony stocks from his aunt, he thought it was cool to own a piece of a company, but he didn’t understand how the stock market worked. So, he started researching online, looking for free courses that could help answer his questions. His search for a class was unsuccessful, and what information he did find was not written for younger readers. But he persevered, reading voraciously, cultivating relationships with mentors, and teaching himself. In fact, his self-education was so thorough that he built a portfolio for himself and in September 2020 became the youngest person in the nation to receive the professional designation Charter Mutual Fund Counselor (CMFC).

As he became more involved in the stock market, Dylan recognized the inequities in the world of finance. “Socio-economics affect access,” he noted. “And so does age.” He wanted to address these issues but wasn’t sure how. Fast forward to his sophomore year here at Thacher. One of his friends asked if Dylan could help a younger sibling learn about investing, and an idea was born. He would provide financial education as well as grants to middle-schoolers to help them start their own stock portfolios. In 2019 he founded the non-profit Youth Investors Corp.
“Youth with dreams to enter the investment world should not be restricted by their economic status or limited access to tools to afford such an endeavor,” says Dylan. “I envision a world where financial and investment literacy is readily attainable for passionate students of all backgrounds.”

In collaboration with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Orange County, California, Dylan now offers 5-week online courses to fifth- and sixth-graders. Keeping a fifth-grader’s interest when he talks about the Federal Reserve can be challenging. So, the course is more than theory. Dylan has incorporated several financial games into the program, with the first and second place winners of the investment simulation competition receiving a $500 prize to begin investing for real. A total of $2,000 worth of grants were provided in 2020.

In the future, he hopes to expand the courses beyond Orange County and into Los Angeles but realizes that he will need to find other youth with investment experience to join his faculty. He is also looking for additional financial support for the grants which he has primarily self-funded.

Dylan expressed his gratitude to several Thacher teachers for their assistance on this Independent Project: “Thacher has been great in supporting the process. Ms. Pinard, Mr. Carney, and Mrs. Snyder gave me the opportunity to develop the course, and Mr. Popa, the economics teacher, has been my main point of contact.”

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