Teaching investments at GTA

By GTA Instructor Krystal Fortner

In December I finished teaching my third round of classes at Game Theory Academy, and I enjoy it more and more each time. Besides watching a beautiful sunset, I thoroughly enjoy witnessing students get really involved in a financial concept. What received a lot of positive feedback this time was the stock simulation game. Students picked three investment choices that varied between large tech companies like Apple, mega companies like Johnson and Johnson, and stable investments such as Treasury bills. They invested $1,000 in each of their three choices.

Krystal with her Fall 2013 GTA graduates

Krystal with her Fall 2013 GTA graduates

Each week, we tracked the investments, and the students crunched the numbers to see what they gained or lost. I loved keeping the students in suspense about whether an investment was up or down for the week. If it was up, I heard a lot of, “YES!” If it was down? “Ah, man! Betta be up next week!”

I believe everyone should invest their money in the stock market. I think everyone should take the time to understand the basics of investing. Game Theory Academy is not about investing, or balancing a checkbook, or developing ways to stick to a budget. It is about make wise choices that are in each person’s best interests. It is about the costs you give up by choosing something else (I hope my former students know the term for those costs!) And that is how one should approach investing. Ask yourself, “How does investing fit in to my best interests?” “Which investments are in my best interests?” Think to yourself, if you put all your money in a savings account, while it will be safe, what will your return be? Can you take on a little more risk for the possibility of a higher return? What would you be giving up by purchasing stocks? There are many points to consider when you are investing, but at from the get­go, you should approach investing by considering your best interests and your opportunity costs.

The stock that gained the most during the stock simulation game was Netflix. The original investment of $1,000 turned into $1,127.30. The loser of the game? Johnson and Johnson.

After an early, steady run, J&J finished below its original investment at $987.90, being beaten by the savings account and Treasury bills. Only one student had Netflix as one of his choices, and needless to say, he won the game…congratulations, Obasi!

Krystal’s next class starts January 9th. Sign up!