When I was 6 years old, I had many things to worry about. How would I avoid being picked last in kickball? How would I avoid being caught in a game of “tag”? What did I bring to lunch that would be an attractive item to swap for something better? Ah, the trials and tribulations of being a 1st grader.
But what about worrying about what’s happening with your $20,000 portfolio? A lucky group of first graders at a Chicago high school now get to add “I” – investing – to the 3 R’s.
Ariel Community Academy was established in 1996 by Ariel Capital Management, a Chicago money-management firm. Each 1st grade class at the school is given $20,000; the money at that point is mostly managed by employees of Ariel Capital Management, but the kids are briefed about what’s happening with the portfolio along the way. When the kids reach 6th grade the decisions are eventually turned over to them. Upon graduation from 8th grade, the initial $20,000 go back to the incoming 1st grade class; the profits can either be donated, invested, or pocketed, depending on the kids’ decision.
These kids are extremely lucky to get this kind of experience. I shudder to think what I would have invested in when I was in 1st grade! $20,000 sure does buy a LOT of ring pops….