By Jacques St. Jean
Garnering a lot of attention in recent weeks, the stock market has been an interesting and hot topic amongst many young people across the country.
While there is a lot of risks involved in putting money into something, similar to heading over to the MGM Casino in Springfield, the stock market is a place where calculated risks are made, and furthermore, people can put their money directly into businesses and companies they like or want to invest in, even if they may not have direct access to it.
Despite the risk, students on campus have been investing their money and trying to see how far they can go with what they have.
Business Management major Jacob Harry has been investing his money for about a year or so, and with some help from his father and friends, he has seen his funds grow.
Harry started like many investing in penny stocks but didn’t find a lot of success with it.
“I stopped [investing] for a while because I was just losing all of my money,” Harry explains. However, during the pandemic, he invested in a couple of airline and cruise companies, and “made a good amount of money off of those.”
Harry has gained a beneficial amount of knowledge from his classes and studies, even if it’s unintentional.
“I don’t think [professors] really want to be giving out investment advice to students… I think they definitely make it a point that it’s a very important thing, and they definitely do a good job of showing us how it works and showing how it’s important,” Harry said. “It just shows that you can have a ton of experience or no experience and still have some success.”
Harry witnessed the explosion of the GameStop stock a month ago and is concerned about how free the market really is. Robinhood, the app that he and many other young people use to buy and sell stock, prohibited its users from investing in GameStop after a Reddit community on r/WallStreetBets devised a plan to invest in the near-bankrupt video game company.
“When GameStop and everything started popping off like crazy, a lot of big investment firms were losing a lot of money, so Robinhood made it so you couldn’t even buy GameStop [stock] anymore, which was crazy.”
The investing app received a ton of flack for prohibiting buying stocks in multiple companies such as GameStop, AMC, and Nokia. A lawsuit was filed against Robinhood back in January, and the backlash even caused New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Texas Senator Ted Cruz to agree on the matter that Robinhood’s decision was unjust.
Despite the recent commotion and the overall risk, Harry believes that the stock market is a great place to make some quick money.
“It’s definitely not so black and white as far as resources go, you kind of just find your information wherever you can get it, and it’s up to you to find a reliable source,” Harry said. He also credits his father for encouraging him to invest while he’s young.
“My dad told me since I don’t have much to lose right now then things should be a little more risky… one of the things that I do is I always try to agree ethically to what the company is doing. Obviously what I buy isn’t going to make a huge difference, but I feel like morally I’m obligated to make sure they’re not doing anything shady.”
Harry is looking forward to investing more and seeing what he can do with the money he’s already earned. Some students, however, have also taken their own personal adventure into the stock market, and without having some basic knowledge like Harry.
Rising senior and EMS major Alec Falconer has made quite a profit off of stocks and has high hopes that he will make more. Falconer, like Harry, was encouraged by his family to invest.
“My family kind of started pushing me towards it just as another way of income,” Falconer admits. “That way, instead of having the money you just sit on it actually has a chance to grow.”
Falconer also uses the Robinhood app, and after about a year he has roughly earned $2,000 from investing. “I probably started with putting in $2,000 into stock… I think I’ve probably pulled out about $1,000, but I still have $3,000 in.”
Falconer looks to keep building his money in stocks and then eventually, “if harder times come” will pull it out. After the GameStop incident, Falconer gained a better sense of the stock market as a whole.
“I don’t approve of what Robinhood did for that, but I have somewhat of an understanding for it… a lot of people would actually end up losing a ton of money.” Falconer also explained that the GameStop stock was heavily inflated from the actions of r/WallStreetBets.
“It’s only temporary because it doesn’t necessarily mean the business is doing well, it’s just that people are putting money into the stock and seeing it sky-rocket.”
Through his experience, Falconer believes that through an app like Robinhood, young people can make a decent amount of money. He stresses paying close attention to the companies you have your money in if you choose to invest, and keep up-to-date on the climate and direction of the companies.
While college students may not be the wealthiest group of people, they are the future, and they can use the resources at their disposal to ensure that their future, and quite possibly their children’s future, is financially stable.