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Stock Picking Game Update

Updated: Jul 12, 2023

Video transcript summarized below:

Hello everyone and Happy New Year! I had planned to do an update to the stock picking game but unfortunately I caught the COVID bug late last year and was down and out for some time. Thankfully I'm all good now and ready to get back into the swing of things. Let's see how Hayley and Ethan's stock picks faired in 2021. Stick around, let's get into it.

Hello and welcome to another video from One-Up Financial. I am your host Eric Presogna here to help you increase income, reduce taxes and invest smarter in retirement.

Before I get started, let's do a quick recap of the Stock Picking Game: Each contestant was allowed to choose up to three individual stocks which they'd be required to hold until December 20, 2021. The contestant with the best total return will be rewarded the ability to take their profits and spend on whatever they want.

First up is my daughter Hayley. She decided to choose two stocks: Lululemon and Apple, though given Lululemon's price exceeded $300 at the time of the game and wasn't available for fractional share trading, Hayley chose Amazon.

Let's see how her investments have performed thus far.

So we have a current market value of $284.96 which represents a total return of nearly 14% and net profits of $34.96. Not a bad return considering some of the largest names in tech lagged behind the broader market in 2021.

Last up is the final contestant, my son Ethan. He too limited his stock selections to two and chose Apple and Tesla. Here is how his portfolio performed.

Thanks almost entirely to a late year spike in Tesla, Ethan's portfolio narrowly edged Hayley's with an ending balance of $286.00, representing a 14.4% return and net profit of $36. More importantly, he's our winner of the Stock Picking Game!

Now, I have to be honest about this entire process. There was very little engagement from our two contestants throughout the year which was disappointing initially but, after giving it some further thought, I came away with 3 big takeaways from this game that really, can be applied to any investor at any age.

1. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

If you want to know the truth, I had to constantly remind my children they had investments and committed to playing this game. Had I not brought up an Apple earnings report or a pop in Tesla, it's likely they'd forget we'd ever established a game to begin with.

But that's my fault, not theirs.

The mistake I made was putting MY money at work, not theirs. When it's not your hard earned money on the line, the stakes aren't nearly as high.

A good reminder whenever someone says, for example that they love your new business idea and would definitely buy the product. Until the actual sale is made and their money is on the line, all bets are off.

So next year, assuming I continue the stock picking game, I'm going to encourage my kids to invest their OWN money into the stock market which I think will make a huge difference.

2. Dollar Returns Are More Meaningful Than Percentages

Most would consider a 14% return over a 9-month period a success...that is, until you realize your measly profit of $36 isn't enough to buy you the video game you wanted.

Consumer spending drives roughly 70% our economy and like all consumers, my kids shop using cash, not percentages. Yes, I know they're kids and may not think in terms of percentages, but is that so different than most investors? If I said to you your investment portfolio's max drawdown in any given year is 35%, how would that make you feel? How about if I told you your life savings could be expected to drop upwards of $600,000. What resonates with you more?

Most people, including Hayley and Ethan, think and operate in terms of dollars, not percentages. And speaking in dollar-terms is more effective in determining someone's tolerance for risk than quoting percentages.

Additionally, it's important to note that compounding not only takes time, but a lot of money to have a substantial impact. Had I positioned this to my kids early on, they may have been inclined to put more of their own money in and increase their potential gain in dollars.

3. The Goal of Winning is a Fun, but Misguided Idea

Ethan has already started bragging about what he's going to buy with his winnings! Not quite what I had intended, but this is a brother and sister competition for money so I should have seen this coming.

What if, instead of awarding the winner bragging rights and the monetary equivalent of a shopping spree at Dollar General, I made the prize something they care about or assign importance to: a sleepover with friends two-nights in a row with no limits on candy; breakfast, lunch and dinner of their choosing for one day; a "sick day" from school where we go to the movies or a baseball game.

Think about this as it pertains to retirement. If your goal is winning or having more money than the next person, it's likely you'll be rewarded with emptiness and disappointment, even if you come out ahead. Instead, think about the things that bring you joy or fulfillment: vacationing with your family, waking up and doing exactly what you want, when you want; funding your granddaughter's new business venture.

Aligning your money with meaningful goals such as these will force you to focus less on short-term performance in the market and more on the things that truly matter.


Thanks as always for watching our videos. If you're interested in staying up-to-date with all of our market and financial commentary, please subscribe to our blog at, or follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Thanks again, Happy New Year and we'll see ya in the next one!

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