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Spend, save, share and INVEST wisely. These are the money lessons 30,500 5th graders “learn by doing” each year at Young AmeriTowne. Thanks to our partners at Cambiar Investors, Young AmeriTowne graduates may know more about this complex aspect of finance than many adults. Volunteers from Cambiar Investors, a Colorado-based equity manager and 10-year partner of Young Americans Center, helped build the lessons in investing that prepare Young AmeriTowne students to make good financial decisions in the real world.
Students begin their study of investments by talking about how people money. People can work for money or can let money “work for them” by investing—buying something that will hopefully be worth more in the future. People can invest in land, in businesses or even in money itself.
Next, students explore risk because investing money always carries a risk. Completing a “risk taker quiz” helps students determine their risk tolerance, and thus, what kind of investment they might make. In AmeriTowne, there are three investment choices:
- CD (low risk)
- Mutual Fund (medium risk)
- Stock (high risk)
Before arriving in Towne, students write a check to the Investment Company to invest one dollar in one of these three options.
While in Young AmeriTowne, the student “Investment Advisors” working in the Investment Company Shop carefully monitor the AmeriTowne economy. They can see, in real time, how the businesses are performing. Then, the Investment Advisors provide recommendations to their clients (AmeriTowne citizens). If, for example, the economy is performing really well, they might advise a customer to change his investment from the CD to the Mutual Fund or Stock.
Back at school, students figure out the new value of their investments. Students have the potential to make (or lose) up to 10% of their initial investment. Even though they only invested a dollar in this scenario, teachers encourage students to think about the potential of investing. For example, if a student had invested $1,000 instead of $1, she could have made or lost $100.
By experiencing investing for themselves, AmeriTowne participants learn how to make wise financial decisions. When faced with a decision about investing in the real world, when perhaps they buy their first house, choose to participate in their first employer’s 401K plan, or open their first IRA, students will remember their first introduction to investing and will choose wisely and then let money work for them.
About Cambiar Investors
Cambiar Investors is a Colorado-based equity manager providing relative value oriented money management. An employee-owned company, Cambiar was founded in 1973 to manage equity portfolios for high net worth and institutional investors.