Preparing for their financial futuresBy KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent
May 27. 2015 9:03PM
MERRIMACK — With $100,000 in cash, young investors throughout the state learned a valuable lesson in economics while testing their luck in the stock market.
On Wednesday, those students garnering the most earnings were rewarded for their financial skills and calculated risk taking as part of the 2015 Stock Market Game, offered by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association Foundation.
The online game, which enables students to purchase imaginary stocks and monitor their investments before cashing in on their returns, was played by 2,922 teams and about 15,000 students throughout New Hampshire.
“The earlier you start understanding and talking about money, the better,” Chelsea Gauci of Fidelity Investments told the young investors. “You are the future. You are the ones who will be driving the economy.”
Presented by the New Hampshire Union Leader as part of its Newspapers in Education Initiative, and sponsored by Fidelity Investments, organizers say the simulation of the global capital markets is a great way to engage students in financial planning, savings and investments.
“We learned a lot about investing and preparing for the future,” said Nicholas Katsoulis, a third-grader at Sandown North Elementary School who participated in the game designed to prepare children for financially independent futures.
Katsoulis’ team placed first for the fall session in the elementary division by finishing with a total equity of $117,551.
Several students from throughout New Hampshire were chosen as the 2015 Stock Market Game award winners, and had the opportunity on Wednesday to tour the 500-acre campus at Fidelity Investments in Merrimack as a reward.
Honored with a pizza party and awards ceremony, the winning teams were recognized for their wise investment choices. They also had the chance to speak with Fidelity employees about their careers as financial planners.
Campbell Mullaney of Hampstead Academy said the courtesy newspaper subscription was key in understanding world events and local news to help pick timely, wise and safe stocks.
The stock market is incredibly volatile, agreed Ian Lindberg, also of Hampstead Academy.
“I have learned that it is vital to stay on top of your portfolio,” he said, explaining four of his stocks crashed virtually overnight. Still, Lindberg was able to create a new strategy and take first place for the year-long diversification game in his age range.
Some of the favorite stocks selected include Nike, Under Armour, JetBlue, Apple and Microsoft.
Overall, the game’s earnings were nearly 6 percent more than the 2014 Stock Market Game gains, according to Elizabeth Reidel, national director of the SIFMA Foundation. The program’s goal is to have every student in America participating in at least one game before graduating from high school, she said. To date, the national program has reached 15 million students since it began 38 years ago.
Although it may have been virtual currency, it was a real world learning experience, said the participants.
Teams that won hailed from: Sandown North Elementary School, Hanover Street School in Lebanon, Hampstead Academy, Nottingham West Elementary School in Hudson, McKelvie Intermediate School in Bedford, West Running Brook Middle School in Derry, Greenland Central School, Shaker Road School in Concord, Alvirne High School in Hudson, Pinkerton Academy in Derry, Nashua High School North, Exeter High School and Concord High School.
Dhilan Soundar of Hampstead Academy won fifth place in the national competition’s InvestWrite Award. His younger brother, Jaisen Soundar, also secured first place for his age category in the statewide InvestWrite Award.