Community News

Experiences as a 4-H Youth Investor

From time-to-time parents comment about the cost of feed for animals or making things for 4-H projects. Sometimes that is followed by a comment “well it is still cheaper than sports” type of comment. Hopefully most are doing 4-H to experience a fun way to learn life, career, and interpersonal skills. But what if you could learn to invest and actually make money via the 4-H program?

Well, that has actually been happening. For the third consecutive year through school programs, youth have had the opportunity to learn experience investing using mutual funds, stocks, bonds, crypto and relative to a traditional savings account. There were 169 Putnam youth who were virtually given initial funds with additional earnings each week to invest. Some students started back in December while others started in early March where they started making trades. These students have seen a lot of market conditions in this very short time.

Students learned about ticker symbols, risk management, diversification, dividends, capital gains, sectors, rule of 72 for doubling funds, realized vs unrealized gains/losses and the grid of capitalization with value to growth focuses. It is so important to understand that placing funds in an account that pays an interest rate of 0.05% when inflation runs 7 percent per year results in a loss of buying power of 6.95% each year. The goal of the program is to help students learn to save and to grow savings wisely through being successful investors. Time is such an important aspect of investing.

Too many are scared of investments due to lack of knowledge. This program gives students knowledge through hands on skill development to become more powerful investors. Future goals include developing a youth investment club that would actually manage real fund dollars.

As of this writing, the top investor gained 34.99% with their account and owned (numbers in ( ) reflects return +/- for specified stock/fund)  Nividia (97%), Tesla (53%), Diageo (4%), Walmart (3%) and Disney (-6%). This student only made seven trades and owned five different stocks and did very well despite owning Disney that had an unrealized loss of 6%. So often, students experience the importance of being engaged with investing compared to not investing at all. There were 72 students who chose to invest in stocks, mutual funds, etc. who did better than simply having funds in a savings account. Conversely, there were 37 youth who invested and did not perform as well as someone who simply held their funds in a savings account. There were eight students with double digit gains, twelve with gains between 5-10 percent during this short period that spanned three to six months. There were only 28 students who experienced a loss. Most were very small under two percent while there were two students who had double digit losses that were roughly 10 percent.

If your class would like to participate in a future event, please contact the Extension office to schedule. Additionally, the goal is to develop a 4-H investment club so please contact Mark Evans at the Extension office if you would like to become involved.

Visit our homepage at or you can contact the local office by calling 765.653.8411 for more information regarding this week’s column topic or to RSVP for upcoming events. Office hours are Monday thru Friday from 8:00 am-12:00 pm and 1:00 pm-4:00 pm. Evening and lunch appointments are available, upon request. It is always best to call first to assure items are ready when you arrive and to RSVP for programs. While many publications are free, some do have a fee. All times listed are Eastern Time. Purdue University is an equal access/equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.

Upcoming Events

June 1 – Last Day to sign up for 4-H Roundup

June 5 – ServSafe Food Mangers Course and Exam, 9am-4pm, register at

July 1 – Last day to sign up for state fair livestock exhibition at least entry cost





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