Being involved in an investment club does not mean you have to be an expert in money management or major in finance. Carrie Porter is a prime example of how a journalism major at Northwestern University’s Medill School can take advantage of having a financial background.
As a founder of the Green Envy Investment Club in 2002, Carrie has been active in the organization since her sophomore year in high school and has benefited from her interactions with the club’s advisor, Roger Stafford. He believes that, even if Carrie never goes into corporate management, she will benefit from her early exposure to business fundamentals.
The club, which is open to all students in the Mariemont school district, has been a great way for Carrie and her peers to learn more about investing, from being able to visit companies that are prospective investments to being able to combine financial resources to manage a much larger portfolio.
With a focus on finding growth companies with businesses that are understandable to teens, the Green Envy Investment Club tries to locate local companies with executives willing to visit the club. Members then like to pick the brains of these business leaders about their products and services as well as their financial performance and outlook.
Being part of an investment club has allowed members to do things they would not have normally been able to do. The club has taken trips to Chicago to visit the Chicago Board of Trade and the Mercantile Exchange, visited with executives from Proctor & Gamble, Meridian Diagnostics, and a local Coca-Cola bottler, attended an annual meeting of Proctor & Gamble, and even been featured on the local radio show "On the Money."
All participants in the club are also members of BetterInvesting (formerly known as NAIC) and reference the BetterInvesting magazine as well as Value Line reports in finding and analyzing prospective investments.
The two websites of choice of the members are Yahoo! Finance and Reuters for finding valuable financial data. Between these periodicals, websites, and meetings with those in the know, Green Envy is provided with a lot of insight as to which companies would make good investments.
The club scours magazines and brainstorms abut current trends to come up with companies they want to research as potential stock investments. One of the stocks Carrie points out as an investment of the club is Duke Energy (DUK), a natural gas and electric company. Her personal favorite stock is Deere & Co. (DE).
The stock club advisors, including Roger Stafford, helped teach Carrie that the best way to invest is based on current events and current consumer needs. In this way, Carrie could capitalize on growing, stable companies that provided a good or service that filled some basic purpose in the overall market.
Since only two of the members on record had ever invested before joining the club, starting off with companies that everyone knew of and could understand helped them learn that starting investing was not all that complicated or intimidating.
Carrie suggests investing early, claiming you won’t necessarily be the next Wall Street guru right away, but you will learn valuable skills that you will continue to learn from and can use when you begin a career and have more money to invest. And when you do make a mistake, don’t be indecisive or greedy!
She says that the investment club might have sold a good stock too quickly or held a loser too long by waiting to see if the stock might go higher or rebound. Despite this, the investment club maintains the philosophy of buying for the long-term, and only selling when a stock becomes "problematic" or they see a better opportunity for growth.
Looking to her role model, Charles Osgood, a popular CBS news journalist, Carrie’s lifetime goals include graduating and working in journalism, and then living on a farm in Virginia later on in life. Utilizing her personal finance skills will undoubtedly help Carrie achieve her goals.
© 2008, Young Money Media, LLC. All rights reserved.