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Financially savvy

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Posted: Monday, May 15, 2006 10:46 am | Updated: 4:23 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Kabir Gupta, 13, has yet to take an economics class, but that hasn’t stopped him from investing a million dollars.

True, it wasn’t real money, and it was a “mock” stock market — but he gets the idea.

“I learned that the most important thing investors look at is a profits-to-earnings ratio,” said Kabir, a seventh-grader at Cocopah Middle School.

By learning economic lessons at a young age, children can avoid problems that plague many Americans today, such as heavy debt and neglected savings accounts, according to the National Council on Economic Education.

Kabir’s mother, Kavita, read about several competitions hosted by the Arizona Council on Economic Education in Wealth Magazine, and she encouraged him to enter.

“It’s useful for them to learn about money, how to save, the economy, what to do with money,” she said.

The Million Dollar Investment Portfolio Competition let Kabir invest up to one million dollars in a stock market simulation.

He invested heavily in technology stocks, he said, such as Google and Yahoo — and came in first place.

He also won the Investment Research Project Competition, beating nearly 140 other students by writing a top-notch research report about Google stock.

Parents who are interested in getting their children involved in economics can learn more about the competitions by visiting the Arizona Council of Economic Education Web site at www.azecon.org.

Tips for parents

• Set a savings goal. A child’s attention span is short, so choose an inexpensive item that can be attained quickly, such as a box of crayons.

• Separate wants and needs. Cut out magazine pictures and paste them on a board under “want” and “need” labels.

• Allow your children to participate in the decisions that accompany bill-paying.

• If you invest in the stock market, show your children how to read stock quotations in the newspaper.

• Play a money-related board game like The Game of Life, Monopoly and Payday.

SOURCE: Arizona Council on Economic Education

Parents of girls

“No More Frogs to Kiss: 99 Ways to Give Economic Power to Girls,” by Joline Godfrey. This book helps girls avoid traditional paths that lead to economic dependence on men by giving action plans for becoming financially empowered. Forward by Gloria Steinem.

For teens

“Rich Dad Poor Dad for Teens,” by Robert Kiyosaki This teen version of the best-seller for adults encourages teens to think that “money matters,” and to be creative in developing ways to earn cash and limit spending.

For kids 9-12

“Growing Money: A Complete Investing Guide for Kids,” by Gail Karlitz. This book teaches children the theory behind investing and compound interest, using anecdotes of real companies children are familiar with, like Coca-Cola and Kellogg’s, to illustrate the principles.

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