One of the main reasons we built the Invest app was to make investing as beautiful and engaging as possible. But is the process easy enough for a child to use it?
The original idea of Rubicoin was to codify long-term success in the stock market. Success in any pursuit is underpinned by behavior, and I’m proud of the fact that in our customer base there are endless proof-points where we have codified great investor behavior.
Those principles of investing in quality companies you love, building a diverse portfolio, and holding for the long-term are key to Rubicoin’s investment philosophy. I know it to be fact that those who stick to them will benefit.
I also know that the world of investing has been made needlessly complicated. I’ve never agreed with those who say you can’t beat Wall Street analysts who work with endless streams of data. With that in mind (and apologies for the cliche), Rubicoin is designed to be so simple that a child could use it.
So now I’ll let you in on a small experiment I’ve been conducting over the last 9 months.
Those who have been a regular reader of this blog will know that I was introduced to stocks at a young age by my father. The fact that he was willing to teach and I was willing to learn has dramatically changed my life and the life of my family for the better.
It seemed only proper then that I should try to pass these learnings onto my own children if they had any interest. Luckily they did, and now I’m proud to have two young investors in my own household who I can now discuss my life’s passion with.
But there’s more to it than that.
I think teaching children the value of money from an early age is important. Some people go about this by providing a weekly allowance or paying their children to complete chores around the house.
Those are two good methods for teaching kids that money is scarce and there is a need to work. But both approaches also seem to ignore the idea that money can be put to work itself. Teaching children about investing highlights both the need to save and that idea that you can actually earn more if you put your money to work in the right way.
I also believe that investing makes you a more informed and balanced person. Diving deeper than front page headlines into the world of business and finance gives you a more concrete idea of how the world works, how jobs are created, and how everyday entrepreneurs create lucrative careers for themselves. Now my 8 and 11-year-old sons have an interest in how e-commerce is taking over the retail landscape, what the future of Tesla holds, and how an index fund works.
This, I’m sure, will have a positive influence on their lives going forward.
So much like my father did for me, he is now gifting my sons $200 at the start of each month to get their portfolio up and running. Without my help, my two boys have been using the Invest App to purchase stocks for the last nine months. They simply read the comments on each stock and decide between themselves what company to invest in. The youngest seems keen to put everything in Amazon, while his older brother has been pushing a more diversified approach.
They started with three shares in Starbucks back in May 2016, and now have stock in 10 different companies and one index fund ETF.
Now there was a risk to this of course. If the stocks they picked had all fallen, that could have soured them on the entire idea of investing. However, there was plenty to be gained too.
This could teach them that putting money away now can benefit you greatly in the future, that you should never put all your eggs in one basket, and that stocks aren’t lottery tickets – they represent ownership in real companies.
So how have we done so far:
They’ve had a small blip with Hain Celestial (currently down 33%), but other than that there have been some great successes. Bank of Internet is up 73%, Tesla is up 38%, and Shopify is up 42% at the time of writing.
Here’s their full portfolio at this point. Keep in mind the S&P 500 is up 14% in the same time.
Now of course this is only over 9 months, so we can’t claim to have cracked the secret to Wall Street yet.
But it’s been a fun experiment thus far and one we’ll keep running until they’re men – hopefully fathers themselves. It’s been rewarding as a dad to explain to them that every time we go to an IMAX film or make an order on Amazon we are contributing money to a company of which they are part owners.
Moreover, I’m heartened by the fact that even when their stocks have fallen (as in the case of Hain), neither has ever suggested we sell. They’ve taken a more philosophical long-term approach to investing, which is impressive at such a young age.
I hope this is only the first of many posts I can write on this topic. I’ll try to keep track of our progress both in terms of their portfolio’s performance, and any learnings that emerge along the way.
And if you’re a parent with children of a suitable age, I’d strongly recommend trying out something similar. It’s been a wonderful experience so far.