What I Learned From a Family Investing Competition

This extended family’s friendly stock market competition delivers financial basics, life lessons and a bit of fun.

Piggy banks on a racetrack
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If only I had understood how important it is to start investing early. My parents came from modest backgrounds and so, when raising their kids, didn’t have much money to invest, let alone investing knowledge to share. By the time I had learned and earned enough to start investing, I wanted to make sure the next generation of my family didn’t make my mistake and miss out on those important early investment years.

But how could a bunch of nieces and nephews of different ages and cultures spread out around the world get inspired to learn about investing? You can’t count on schools. True, some schools have investing clubs or require personal finance classes. But most don’t. Only 17 states require any kind of personal finance education, according to Next Gen Personal Finance, a nonprofit dedicated to improving personal finance knowledge. And even in the best school programs, investing typically takes up only about two weeks of a standard 18-week-semester personal finance course, several personal finance teachers told me. 

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Kim Clark
Senior Associate Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Kim Clark is a veteran financial journalist who has worked at Fortune, U.S News & World Report and Money magazines. She was part of a team that won a Gerald Loeb award for coverage of elder finances, and she won the Education Writers Association's top magazine investigative prize for exposing insurance agents who used false claims about college financial aid to sell policies. As a Kiplinger Fellow at Ohio State University, she studied delivery of digital news and information. Most recently, she worked as a deputy director of the Education Writers Association, leading the training of higher education journalists around the country. She is also a prize-winning gardener, and in her spare time, picks up litter.