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TradeKing & Charlotte Junior Achievement

Here’s a fun summer activity we’re doing at TradeKing Charlotte: we’re volunteering with our local Junior Achievement’s JA Summer Biz Camp at JA BizTown. This is an extremely cool concept I wish I’d encountered as a kid. The program’s mission statement is to provide campers (ages 10-14) with “powerful programming surrounding workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy, as well as a number of other unique educational opportunities.” Our team signed up to send panelists to speak at Biz Camp every Wednesday. Each week, two TradeKing teammates visit with the little campers to shed some light on investing, financial literacy and what’s it like to work in finance. (I’ll allow myself a small brag-moment: we’re apparently the only participating company who committed to speak every week this summer.) The program addresses kids at multiple levels: building necessary finance and business skills while planting seeds as these kids choose high-school level courses, college majors, and ultimately, jobs. We sent TradeKing folks with a wide range of work experiences and job functions, including Phil Blaising, Jeisson Garzon, Jeff Helwig, myself, Mike Rasmussen, Jodi Svancarek, and Nicole Wachs. Pictured above are Jessica Hoelscher, Online Marketing Specialist (left) and Jami Leibl, Client Services Rep (right). Just strolling through “BizTown” was fascinating. The kids built various offices for companies either real or imagined. Working together with Junior Achievement staff and local company volunteers, kids got an inside track on how various business models work, set corporate goals, and collaborated in teams to meet those objectives. Sometimes the staff would mix things up by throwing a curveball: a new and feisty competitor might suddenly enter the market and undercut prices, for instance. 

In my speaking slot, I started out by asking which companies the kids especially liked and identified with, then moved on to the concept of investing in those companies (if public), what that entailed, and what role TradeKing plays in that process. I also tried to explain all the reasons people need to save and invest for their futures. I had a bit of fun with an age-old compound interest lesson – asking for a show of hands as to who would rather have $10,000 in cash, versus which kids would prefer to have a penny today, then two pennies tomorrow, then four pennies the next day, continuing for a month. That’s always a great eye-opener to the basic concept of compounding. The kids’ questions surprised me with how advanced they were. They wanted to know what happens during an acquisition when the company that you own stock in is purchased, if Google goes up does the whole market go up, what happens when a company goes bankrupt, and how to tell what percentage of a company they own if they buy one share. They also asked a lot of questions about trading electronically and what that means now that paper stock certs are mostly dinosaurs. We’ve really enjoyed our work with JA this summer. Can’t wait to re-engage with the kids this fall!

Be Good,Don Montanaro
TradeKing CEO

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