Saratoga County

Teens using summer to learn about money management

Diversifying your stock portfolio is a lot like party hopping during graduation season. Well, at lea

Diversifying your stock portfolio is a lot like party hopping during graduation season. Well, at least that’s how Manny Choy puts it.

Say you have 10 graduation parties you’ve been invited to. You hear one will be lively and crowded, so you go there first. By the time you enter, most of the partygoers have already shuffled to the next one. Choy said it’s like “chasing the hot dot,” or putting all your money in an investment that is soaring at the moment.

“You can’t have all your eggs in one basket,” he said.

DLG Wealth Management LLC is conducting its third annual Summer Investment Camp. One day a week for a month, high school and college students gather in a conference room of the company’s Clifton Park office, laptops in tow. Choy and managing director Andy Guzzetti teach the weekly classes, catering to a teenage audience. Most of their students are high school seniors or freshmen in college.

When the camp started, Guzzetti intended on helping students who already had minds for finance and were interested in the subject matter. Now, he said everyone should take a similar course. He wants young people to know what they might have to deal with in the future, he said.

“Even if someone doesn’t want to get in this field, they should learn more about investments,” he said. “These folks are not going to have the same retirement benefits that the folks retiring today will have. You’re going to have to save more and be able to take more control over your retirement assets.”

Granted, several students in the class aren’t worrying about Social Security just yet. Lilia Koza, a senior at Saratoga Springs High School, said she doesn’t even have a summer job yet. “I really have no idea about the stock market or anything like that,” she said.

The class brings these sometimes-complicated topics to a level the students can grasp, Guzzetti said. During last week’s meeting, Guzzetti discussed 10 principles of investing that he touts around the country at conferences. Choy made the day more hands-on with a stock market game he designed himself. Students acted as investors in a fictional fast food company called Gyro Inc. Both the teens and Choy bought and sold stock in the company while tackling international expansion, food poisoning and competitive prices.

The extent of Saratoga Springs senior Monata Song’s experience with investing is the savings account she started when she got a summer job as a lifeguard. She said she recognizes her naiveté with finances, and so does her mother.

“All through my life, my mom was like, ‘You better learn at least some business,’ because I have no idea how to manage my money,” she said.

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