Are You Smarter than a Fourth Grader?

The Kids at Community Preparatory School learn about investing moneyThe kids at Community Preparatory School in Providence know the power of investing.

Henry Sanzo’s report is authoritative: “The Dow Jones is now up. It was down.” No, this is not an assemblage of Wall Street players. Sanzo and his associates are fourth and fifth graders in the investment club at Community Prep, contemplating what to do with $5,000. At this session, they’ve narrowed down the options to buying stock in a baby store (“There were lots of babies born this year,” reasons fifth-grader Gaby Gonzalez) or purchasing shares in an alternative energy company (“Obama’s going to be president and he’s all about alternative fuels,” says Sanzo).

The club is the brainchild of local business exec Warren Galkin, who has donated $5,000 for each of the last six years for the kids to “play with.” Membership is optional, as meetings are generally held in the morning before the independent Providence school officially opens for the day. With the help of the group’s adviser, Head of School Dan Corley, the grade-schoolers currently manage a balanced portfolio of stocks worth more than $32,000. Impressive, considering a typical nine-year-old’s biggest money decision is what to do with his allowance. In this financial climate, Galkin believes it’s more important than ever for kids to understand how to deal with money. “There’s very little taught in schools today about handling finances,” he says. “I wanted them to get some actual experience. In many occasions, the kids have done better than the brokers.”

 
By Jenna Pelletier
Photography by Angel Tucker

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 - January, 2009

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