Local 6th graders get money advice from Congressman Bill Flores

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Stocks, bonds and mutual funds - some middle schoolers in College Station were all ears Monday morning as Congressman Bill Flores stopped by to give them some money advice.

They're currently in a competition, and that advice will come in handy.

There are 3,000 classrooms across the country taking part in this year's Capitol Hill Challenge, including one at Oakwood Intermediate in College Station. It's a stock market game, which is aimed at teaching kids what they need to know about managing money and investing wisely. Representative Flores is actually sponsoring the group from Oakwood.

They carry backpacks instead of briefcases, and wear sweatshirts instead of suits, but make no mistake - the 6th graders at Oakwood are savvy investors, perhaps even stockbrokers in the making.

Congressman Flores says, "The thing that blew me away was they started talking about short sales, because who would think that in 6th grade you'd be talking about short sales? They were talking about portfolio management, mitigating risk. I was really, really impressed."

Oakwood Enrichment Specialist Kathy Martin says, "Yahoo Finance is their best friend."

Their money matters mindset began six weeks ago, when the Capitol Hill Stock Market Challenge kicked off.

Martin says, "Students work in teams of three. They invest a $100,000 portfolio into stocks."

Flores stopped by Monday to share some words of wisdom.

"Pay close attention to what's happening in the macro fundamentals of the economy because, ultimately, that will translate into the stock market."

So far, so good. Most of the teams are making money, and one of the teams is even in the top 40 in the nation!

The secret to their success is timing. They've quickly learned it's everything.

6th grader Cole Eckhardt says, "Anything to go with the seasons, so if it was Thanksgiving we'd go with airline companies and maybe some ham and turkey companies."

The money may be pretend, but the lessons they're learning, says Congressman Flores, are very real.

"They learn how to do critical thinking, they learn how to research, how to do portfolio management and to make decisions."

Six weeks down, eight weeks to go. These investors best advice for the rest of us?

Eckhardt says, "Buy when it's low and sell high."

When the competition is over, the top ten teams in the nation who have made the most money, will win a trip to Washington DC.

There was a writing portion to this challenge too. The students were asked to come up with an app that would help them be better investors, and then write about it. Oakwood 6th grader Shray Jain came in first place state-wide. On Monday, he was presented with a certificate and $50.