The first thing that fed my curiosity about being a stock investor was a simple assignment from a high school history teacher.
As a newspaper reader since junior high school, I was always interested in how news affected a stock’s price. Sometimes the news didn’t affect it much, but when it did, the impact could be huge.
Partly as an excuse to keep a handful of students out of his hair for awhile, I suspect, one of my high school history teachers sent a few students at a time to the school library to look up stocks in the newspaper and track them. We only did this over a few months, and getting yesterday’s stock prices was the most updated information we had.
In tracking stock prices, I noted if the company was in the news for a good or bad reason. If a company made a major mistake, the price might drop for a few days.
My first pick as a stock investor
Following the news led me to my first purchase as a stock investor after I read about Coleco and the new products it was introducing. I already owned a Coleco Electronic Quarterback game, playing it for hours and even bringing it to school to play with my friends during lunch.
Investing in what you know is a common principal for a stock investor, and as a boy who played that electronic game often, I saw the popularity of it and was intrigued by Coleco’s plans.
I had some money from my paper route and one of my customers was a stock brokerage firm, where I talked to one of the stock brokers once in awhile about his business. After convincing my mom that this was a company I wanted to invest in, she went with me to the brokerage and I opened an account.
The stock price eventually doubled, and I sold it and took my profit. This quick success only increased my interest in reading about businesses and seeing how the news affected their stock prices.
Missed Cabbage Patch Kids
I didn’t hang on to the stock through the Cabbage Patch Kid craze, a hot toy that sent the stock price skyrocketing before eventually sales slowed and the company went bankrupt. If I did keep the stock, I wonder if I would have sold during the Cabbage Patch Kid highs or if I would have hung on too long until it went bankrupt.
Not every stock can be a home run, though investing in a stock you know can give a young stock investor more incentive to research a company before they invest in it. Some stocks, such as Disney, can be good investments for young people who want to invest in something they enjoy.
If you’re going to invest in something, it might as well be a company you’re interested in. Because if money is the only reason for a young person to get into the stock market, they’re missing an important learning opportunity.
I don’t remember much from that history class in high school, but those weekly trips to the library to look up stock prices and read the newspaper still stand out.