Markets In Your Community

How to get Students Excited about Finance and Wealth Building

Most elementary school students have little opportunity to learn how the world of finance and capital markets works. While they may be enthusiastic about the companies and brands that supply their favorite products—like Disney, Apple and Netflix—they don’t yet understand how a successful company is founded and nurtured through to an initial public offering (IPO).

Dean Sadek, a senior banker with Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management in New York, has dedicated himself to giving school children the tools they need to understand how the financial world works. And it all started with a visit to Cultural Arts Academy Charter School (CAA) in Brooklyn.

In June 2016, Sadek visited CAA as part of a volunteer engagement with SIFMA Foundation’s Invest It Forward initiative, which connects financial professionals with schools and educators for in-person and virtual classroom visits to bring investing to life and to discuss future academic and professional options.

He hoped to make an impact on his audience of 5th graders, who would soon be participating in the SIFMA Foundation’s Stock Market Game, a national classroom simulation in which children compete to build and manage their own $100,000 portfolio of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs and cash.

To complement the Stock Market Game experience, Sadek designed and introduced companion activities to teach the class about how a company makes the jump from initial idea to a growing start-up…and then to a publicly traded enterprise.

In a series of classroom visits, Sadek and his colleagues worked with the students to develop a prototype company idea, generate financial statements as the company grew and then take the company public through a mock IPO celebration. Sadek’s volunteer work was the focus of a 2017 Project Invested article.

The story doesn’t end there. Since then, Sadek has continued volunteering and working with kids at CAA, in addition to his full-time job working with Morgan Stanley clients. And he’s expanding his volunteer team and replicating this effort at a new school, PS 174 in Queens. Stay tuned for more on their progress.

Earlier this year, Sadek and Laurie Midgette, founding principal of CAA, sat down with the SIFMA Foundation for a discussion about their collaboration and the effect it has had in and out of the classroom.

SIFMA Foundation – Dean Sadek and Laurie Midgette from SIFMA on Vimeo

Here’s part of their talk:

Getting students excited about the larger dynamics of how businesses are formed, and how markets help them to grow, can help build the foundation for a lifetime of saving, investing and building wealth. It can create real and positive change for students, families and communities. Moreover, it can spark interest in financial careers among a more diverse group of young leaders from the next generation.

But for that to happen, it’s vital that today’s industry leaders, like Dean Sadek, take the time to tell that story.

For more on Sadek’s story at CAA, check out the full October 2017 profile. And if you’re interested in volunteering, or are an educator who’d like to have a SIFMA Foundation volunteer visit your students, learn more about the Invest It Forward program here.