Invest at your best

Adin Halbfinger, News Editor

Applause filled the room as freshman Leo Steindecker walks up to the front to accept his prize of a dozen donuts. Four months of investing in the Finance Club’s MarketWatch Virtual Stock Exchange Investing Challenge led to this moment. 

Finance Club Vice President Sam Sharp has been investing in the stock market since he was ten. He is thankful to his family for supporting his financial independence by helping him learn about investing, primarily by letting him gain experience through his own investing. Because of his experience with stocks, Sharp was immediately interested when he heard about the club.

According to Sharp, one great thing about the Finance Club is the MarketWatch Investing Challenge. The first-semester competition was recently won by Steindecker and a second-semester competition is currently underway. The investing challenge is a simulation where competitors invest imaginary money into the stock market and the students who make the largest profit win.

“It’s especially great for anyone looking to be a business major in college,” Sharp said. “But even if you’re just interested in [business] at all, you should definitely come to at least one meeting.”

Sharp believes that simulations like the MarketWatch Investing Challenge add to his interest in investing because he can follow the progress of a stock he might be interested in, even if he isn’t confident enough to invest in it with real money.

“I really like finding companies that might be considered under the radar or up and coming and following their progress on simulations so I wouldn’t even have to necessarily invest in them,” Sharp said.

However, not everyone involved with Finance Club has been investing since childhood like Sharp. History teacher and club adviser Natalie Levitan said she is an outsider in the investing world.

“When I took over, I made it clear to the students that I don’t have any background in finance,” Levitan said. “So I really just am here as the adult presence; it is 100% student run.”

However, her lack of experience in finance has not hindered her enjoyment of the club. Since taking over as adviser around 2016, she has learned a lot about the many aspects of the business and finance worlds.

“Different [club] presidents have focused on very different things,” Levitan said. “I think [senior] Adam [Goldfarb] has focused much more on finance and the stock market which has piqued my interest a lot more.”

Goldfarb, who took over as president of the club last year, started investing after receiving a lot of money for his Bar Mitzvah. Although Goldfarb aims to make money when investing, his favorite parts of investing are the lessons he learns from his mistakes.

“When you don’t make money on a stock, you know why, and it’s immediate,” Goldfarb said. “You know that it wasn’t a good investment because the company didn’t report good revenue, or something like that, and you know what mistake you made and then learn from that for your future investments.”

In addition to encouraging them to seek lessons from every mistake and stock misfortune, Goldfarb has more advice for new investors: start slow and work your way up one step at a time.

“You don’t want to necessarily pour all your money into the market at once,” Goldfarb said. “Definitely get invested in things like S&P 500, and first just stick to safe ETFs [exchange-traded funds] that can really bring you a long way.”