Forget Minecraft. We played Wall Street Survivor!


Featured | by: Karen Brandt, Marketing Director

This spring we welcomed seven local students to our offices for a run of Wall Street Survivor — the virtual stock market game that pulls back the curtain on the mysteries of investing.

Two of our financial advisors, Bob and Mike, met with students from Learning Outpost every two weeks for three months. At the start, each student was given $100,000 of virtual funds – and then the fun began.

Learning Outpost had recently taken the teens to see The Big Short. If you’ve seen the movie, then you know it isn’t a story about beginning investors. Bob had planned to keep complex strategies out of the WSS game – but our daughter Clara said “You can’t take out short-selling, Dad. Everyone just watched The Big Short. They’re gonna want to short!” And short they did.

First, our guests watched WSS’s videos on how the stock market works: What is a stock? What are indexes? And of course – What is short selling? Mike shared the story of Super Bowl 2015, a time when ticket sellers lost their shirts by shorting tickets to the game. They sold tickets they didn’t own, planning to buy and deliver them later at a profit. When prices rose, many lost their businesses.

After discussing the ways current events affect the stock market, the students made their stock selections, choosing well-known companies in electronics, family entertainment, weight management and retail. Some made money with what the students called “dirty stocks” such as oil and gas, which prompted a class discussion of socially responsible investing. Their assignment: buy a stock that suits your personal values. Students returned with solar power, exercise and whole foods stocks.

We talked about the history of the stock market, compounding and inflation, and the ways that emotions can drive investment decisions. In the end, every student made virtual money with returns ranging from 1.5 to 11.2%. These successes led to a discussion of what comes next: Taxes!

A highlight of our time with the students was sharing the Brandt Wealth Advisors values exercise using the teen deck of values cards. Top student values were happiness, positive attitude, respect, learning, honesty and helping others. Clearly, we’ll be in good hands one day when these teens are in charge!

Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal. Short selling is subject to increased costs from transactions and margin interest, and subject to additional risks, including the possibility of leaving an investor open to the possibility of unlimited losses.

There is no assurance that the techniques and strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. All performance referenced is hypothetical, and is no guarantee of any future results.