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Mar 19, 2013


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Hey Michael!

I'm trying to teach one of these Plurals about the stock market, and being the tech-savvy guy I am I naturally thought, "simulator!" But no. Every simulator out there is based on current market prices. I have a kid with the attention span of a squirrel, which is to say perfectly normal. If I give him a simulator based on current price, the only thing he's going to learn is day trading.

So my wife said, "Ask that Kruse Kronicle guy." :-)

What a great idea!

My imaginary educational simulator would have 200 companies from the real market starting in 1973. Maybe take the top 100 off the Dow and 100 others at random. Their actual prospectuses from 1973 would be available, but all the names would be changed. Instead of IBM and Exxon you'd see TechWizBangCorp and Oil Monster Inc. Right alongside them would be a bunch of random companies that basically failed to thrive. The kid would pick his portfolio and tell the program to move on to 1974. It would take about a month to roll through 40 years of real history with fake names. Each year some new companies would go public and some old ones might fold, but there'd be the opportunity to see what happens when you purchase a diversified portfolio and hold it for 40 years.

For bonus points there would be dividend yielding stocks, bonds, and other instruments I don't even understand. And I'd pay three figures for a program that would allow short-term trading on condition it was as consistently a losing strategy as it is in real life.

Do you know of any such program?

Michael W. Kruse

I don't know of any such program but I'm totally in love with the idea! How soon will you have it written? ;-)


I'm so ridiculously tempted. I've got the skills, but lack the data and knowledge. I figure the data's publicly available and I'd know how to scrape it, but I'd have to learn a mountain about markets to even make something meaningful.

We'll see.

Michael W. Kruse

I know I've heard of programs in the past where people did simulations with students. When I was in high school personal finance, we were given an imaginary $10,000 to invest in various ways. Each day we checked our investments in the Wall Street Journal. We did it for a semester and then had to do a final report on what we had done and how well we did. The object of the exercise was really to get us to learn how to read the financial data. I seem to recall someone here in Kansas City creating a simulated investment game (not necessarily all computerized) that they were using to middle school students. I'll keep an eye open for others doing this.


Thanks. I will too.

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