Students explore interest in stock market, investing

Anushka Kalra, staff reporter

Wall Street, men in suits and a chaotic hub of people screaming at computer screens. These are the images the phrase “stock market” often evokes. However, GBS students are testing the waters and investing in stocks from the security of their own classrooms.  For senior Marc Feldman, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree when it comes to investing.

“I started [investing] because my dad was a trader, and growing up, I would see him on the computer trading stock accounts,” Feldman said. “I basically caught onto the idea.”

Feldman began his investment career by opening up an account under his father’s name but with his own money.  He works as a caddie during the summer and invests that money during the year.

“I’ve had big losses and big gains,” Feldman said. “Some of my biggest gains have been in upcoming tech companies and oil, but some of biggest losses have been in [those areas] as well. I go into some pretty risky investments.”

Feldman’s interest in the stock market stems not only from his family’s background in it, but also from an innate love for the ‘game’. Although he’s faced losses, his passion for trading has not been dampened, as the payout can be just as great.

“There’s sort of a [thrill] you get from making the money,” Feldman said.“ It’s sort of like gambling, but in a more secure way. The gains and losses you can take from the stock market are tremendous.”

Junior Claire Lussier has also invested a little money and commented on the relative easiness of investing, a sentiment Feldman echoed.

“It’s an easy way to make money, over a long period of time,” Lussier said.

In terms of classes, Feldman has taken Intro to Business, Investment Strategies and Accounting.  According to Feldman, Investment Strategies is great for students with little knowledge.

“It [gives] you the building blocks to start investing,” Feldman said. “ I think it also [teaches] people financial security and stability.”

Brian Whalen, Investment Strategies teacher, says his aim is to motivate students to see the benefits of the stock market.

“Investing is a good habit to get into, even though you might not see results for 30-40 years,” Whalen said.

In the class, students invest in a virtual simulator that mimics the stocks and real-time transactions of the market but without the pressure of losing money. According to Whalen, the goal is to bring students as close as possible to the real deal, and students seem to echo that.

“Virtual trading is a good way to start trading,” Feldman said. “Once you’re past that set-up account, then you can put as much money in as you deem necessary and begin.”

There’s no personality trait or amount of knowledge that guarantees the success of an investor, both Whalen and Feldman said. Any student can succeed or can fail, no matter how little experience or knowledge they have.