Max Levin makes more money sitting in his high school math class than most people do during a day at their office.
At 11, the Jewish boy from Voorhees, N.J., was making his first stock picks, guided by his grandfather, a day trader in New York City.
Two years later, he used his bar mitzvah money to move to the big leagues, buying and selling stocks daily in between classes on his phone.
It paid off. Big time.
When his grandfather died in 2012, Levin memorialized him by launching StockPick101.com, a website devoted to helping young people learn the ABCs of stocks, investing and trading. What started as Levin writing about topics he found interested has grown into a national network of college-age writers and readers, who weigh in and discuss financial strategy. Trending topics this week include “Hot Mutual Funds,” “Marijuana Stocks to Invest In,” and “Tips and Tricks for the Young Investor.”
“What we’re trying to do is reach out to the younger generation of new investors,” Levin said in a phone interview with the Forward. “The younger you do it, the better it is [and] the more familiar you’ll be with the stock market and the economy.”
Now 16, Levin also writes weekly articles for MainStreet and TheStreet, online publications connected with Jim Cramer (host of CNBC’s “Mad Money”), under the name “StockPick Whiz Kid.”
Most young people are too risk-averse to be successful investors, Levin explained.
“They’re afraid of making a mistake. It’s very intimidating. You have your money on the line; you don’t realize where you’re putting it. It’s hard but once you understand it, it’s like riding a bike.
When he’s not trading stocks, Levin says he’s just a regular Jewish kid. He’s on the debate and mock trial teams at Eastern High School. He plays lacrosse and attends Congregation Beth El in Voorhees. A couple months ago, he took his first trip to Israel.
And soon, like other kids his age, he’ll be looking at colleges. Though Levin still isn’t sure where he wants to go (“hopefully an Ivy League”) he knows what he wants to do after graduation: start his own hedge fund and go into bonds.
His parents, both entrepreneurs, are very supportive, he said, as are his two siblings. Drew, 14, is taking notes from his older brother.
Asked why he thinks it’s important for everyone to get a head start on their financial futures, Levin doesn’t miss a beat: “Opportunity.”
Anne Cohen is the Forward’s deputy digital media editor. When she’s not looking for the secret Jewish history of Voodoo in New Orleans, or making lists about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she writes for The Assimilator. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism with an M.S. magazine concentration in 2012.