Elon, North Carolina|Thursday, January 26, 2017
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Students learn how to invest their money 

Retirement is a long way off for Elon students, but some have already started planning by investing in the stock market.

“I like to call it sophisticated gambling,” said senior business fellow, Matt Feldman,” so you never know what’s going to happen.”

Feldman learned about the stock market during his sophomore year of high school, when he and a friend participated in a DECA stock competition.

“We saw that everyone was buying these things called iPods and that a company called Apple produced them,” Feldman said. “We bought a bunch of shares of apple and next thing we knew we had like a 40% return over a three-month span.”

After winning third place, Feldman and his partner won a trip to Atlanta, Ga. to present their research.

“All I did was press a button on the computer and made thousands of dollars. So I thought it was a pretty cool experience, and wanted to learn more about it,” Feldman said.

Soon after Feldman began to research and invest in the stock market, with money he had earned from his summer job. Unfortunately for Feldman, the real market was not as easy as he thought.

“I kind of got started right before the great recession,” Feldman said. “so I kind of got in at the peak and within a couple months I had lost about 40 percent of what I had invested. So it was pretty scary cause I had no idea what I got myself into.”

Today, there are many options on the internet to help you start investing. Sites such as etrade.com or TD Ameritrade have tips to help beginners start out. Another practice option is to make a practice stock portfolio, using sites such as thestockmarketgame.com or UpDown.com before you start investing with real money.

After learning some of the challenges in the stock market, Feldman turned to a different source of investing, index funds, which according to Feldman are a collection of stocks from many different companies, that tend to be more stable and less risky than picking the next apple.

Feldman isn’t the only Elon student investing already. Senior Laura Van Drie was given her first index fund by her father, as a high school graduation present. Van Drie’s father hoped that the fund, while collecting interest, would also help her learn about investing. But Van Drie says it has taught her much more.

“If anything, I think I’ve learned about self control,” Van Drie said. “If I just can’t spend money and I can save it, and it can grow over time, then you know it is much easier to make money that way than it is to work.”

Van Drie is a communications major, and although she does plan on keeping her index fund, she does not think she is ready to play the stock market on her own, because she feels uninformed. However, both Van Drie and Feldman agree it is better for students to start investing now while they are young.

About the author: Courtney Davis

Courtney Davis is a senior broadcast journalism major from Severna Park, Maryland. She has interned at WTTG-TV in Washington, D.C.

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