The ABCs of Investments

Financial literacy at school

Managing money is about more than saving for a new bike or understanding philanthropy. For the students at Pace Academy, an extracurricular program, Knight Capital, also introduces the basics of investments and they are learning from a professional. Michael Merlin is a Pace Academy Parent, Knight Capital Adviser and Founder of Merlin Wealth Management where he takes complicated financial concepts and breaks them down to simple, easy-to-understand ideas. We spoke with Michael about the club. 

Tell us about the club's mission. 

Knight Capital is an investment club at Pace Academy created so students can learn and become comfortable with the basic tenets of investing. The club meets every Thursday and usually has between 25 and 40 attendees. I am the parent advisor, and Robert Kaufman is the faculty advisor.

What investment lessons or tools can students most identify with?  What do they get most excited about?  

The students identify with the characteristics of great businesses and that the ownership of great companies can help anyone create and maintain wealth. They get very excited to discuss businesses or industries they are most familiar with (like technology, sports and consumer-facing companies). They also get excited when they spend time researching a business, invest in it, and the company performs well. 

What were YOU most surprised to learn during your involvement with the club?  

The students are so engaged during our time together. These students have so much on their plates, yet they come to the club with such energy and enthusiasm. They willingly volunteer to research and present on companies or ideas that align with our monthly topic and always come prepared with thoughtful presentations. I am constantly blown away by how insightful they are, how passionately they debate different issues within our club, and how much they enjoy learning. I started bringing speakers to the last club meeting of the month, and the students consistently stay after the meeting to ask more questions of the guests; Mr. Kaufman has to remind them they have to go to class!

What club events or projects are happening this month?  This month, our topic is Investing in Sports. We are exploring sports betting, owning sports teams or leagues through publicly traded companies, or tracking stocks. Lastly, a sports executive will speak to the group and discuss why she thinks sports is a great long-term investment sector.

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