PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: Junior Sydney Therien analyzes market trends.

Noah Raaum

Therien rocks the stock market

September 20, 2018

The daily fluctuation of arrows, points, and symbols on a stock ticker in the heart of Wall Street is of no concern to high schoolers. They should put their attention towards summer jobs: perhaps scooping ice cream at their local ice cream shop, or working as a clerk at Target. Then, perhaps, they will learn the basics of finances; how to save money, how to spend money, and how to handle it. Junior Sydney Therien has jumped ahead of the game, making her money make her money—with the stock market.

Stay confident in your market, and stay confident in yourself.”

— Junior Sydney Therien

We all know of the supposed businesswomen and businessmen that “make it big on Wall Street.” Therien wasted no time before diving into the elusive trade.

“[I started] in Middle School. My first stock ever was Target (TGT). I took it from 48 points to 54 points, about 50 bucks a share before transaction fees, so it was about $35-$40 in profit. I have never, ever had time for a summer job,” Therien said.

Luckily, Therien has never needed a summer job thanks to her profits from trading. She explained how much your savings can grow in several years if they are invested. Although Therien operates almost autonomously on the stock market today, she often credits her dad for starting her off so young.

“My dad doesn’t have a job, and my mom does all the work in our family, so that leaves my dad to sit around at home and entertain himself somehow. The way he chose to do that was to invest in stocks and sell our crap on eBay, so I’ve learned everything that I know about finances and business and economical savvy from him,” she said.

When I asked about which stocks are the best bet for high schoolers at the moment, she humored herself: “I think Tesla (TSLA) is a great option for you all right now. I’m kidding—Tesla’s a horrible stock—don’t invest in Tesla. Well, who am I to say whether or not you should invest in Tesla?”

Tesla (TSLA) Stock 

It’s true—she’s still a beginner. She described investing as a risk, but one always worth taking. Teenagers’ money, in most cases, is quite expendable, and, in even more cases, is gained for the purpose of being spent (not saved). Experimenting with the stock market in younger years can often lead to better intuition and developed financial skills for investing as an adult. It works exactly the same but carries less of a risk.

“The way I go about picking the stocks that I invest in is by talking to my dad, and he says what he’s investing in. Recently, he's been investing in gold stock,” Therien said. Gold (NUGT), which has been on the down for most of the year, is just starting its ascent. The fundamental principle of the stock market is to buy low, sell high.

Gold (NUGT) Stock 

However, the stock market carries an inherent risk and requires some degree of monitoring. For those looking to sit back and watch their money grow, Therien recommends mutual funds. Albeit a boring name, they hold great promise for nascent investors.

“If you're going for not risky, I’d definitely say mutual funds. Starting investors should definitely not risk it to get the Triscuit” — a term meaning take great risks for great payoffs — “because just going with a blind shotgun approach does not typically yield very good results. What you should do is find a nice mutual fund that looks promising and put all of your money into it,” Therien said. But what are mutual funds?

“Mutual funds are basically a conglomeration of stocks that balance each other out in gains and losses,” she adds. Essentially, professional investors take your money and make the decisions with it. They take a slice of the returns, but you keep most of it. Some mutual funds, such as Explorer (VEXPX), consistently see annual returns as large as 20%. That means, after one year, $1,000 would become $1,200. After 5 years, that sum could reach nearly $2,000.

As for Therien’s plans during the year, she explains, “I've been dialing back my focus on the stock market to focus on school, because that's something I need to do now.” Finally, she gives her last words of advice for new investors: “Stay confident in your market, and stay confident in yourself.”

This story was selected for Best of SNO.

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