‘I am obsessed with the markets’

Youth Radio Sep 25, 2009
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‘I am obsessed with the markets’

Youth Radio Sep 25, 2009
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TEXT OF COMMENTARY

KAI RYSSDAL: The stock market gyrations over the past year have a lot of people thinking about their investing strategy. Get in. Get out. Stay put. There are a lot of ways to go.

Commentator Lauren Silverman is all in.


Lauren Silverman: Months ago, I hardly knew what the Nasdaq was. Today, I’m obsessed with the stock market.

The financial crises made me want to learn how markets work. So, I started practicing on stock market game Web sites. And I did pretty well. When analysts started raving about bargain stock deals, I couldn’t deny my craving to trade in real life any longer. That’s why I opened an online Charles Schwab account. Time to put my money where my mouse is. That is, the money not earmarked for tuition or resume writing workshops.

You see, I’m a senior at the University of Michigan.

My friends vow never to put money in the stock market and I’m reading Warren Buffet. I even left a party last Saturday before the keg ran dry, because I wanted to check my portfolio.

But traditional investing advice for 20-year-olds can’t fill my appetite. I don’t want to just glance through my closet and buy shares in those clothing companies. I want to understand the fine print of 401(k)s and play around with asset-allocation strategies. I want to secure my future — not drown in debt.

So, I’m constantly online reading the latest investment tips on message boards. And learning from experienced experts, like my neighbor, Steve. He’s a professor at Haas Business School in Berkeley. I’ve started to glance over my dad’s shoulder as he manages his money online. And I’ve quizzed my Uncle Richard on his latest investment schemes.

But the truth is, my field research has only left me more confused. Steve tells me, “With your age and risk tolerance, put at least 95 percent in the market.” When I relay that advice to my dad he shouts, “No! You’re young, but whatever you do don’t’ risk all your money in equities.” Uncle Richard chimes in, “Maybe you should just buy T-bills.”

So I’ve stopped asking for advice all together and decided to trust myself. That way whatever I gain will really feel like mine. And whatever I lose, well, I’ll just do what everyone else is doing and blame that on the recession.

Ryssdal: Lauren Silverman is a senior at the University of Michigan as she said. She’s studying political science there. Her commentary was produced for us by Youth Radio.

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