10-year-old crafts investment newsletter

Oliver's latest twist: An investing class at Northwestern

By Liz Skinner

Oct 21, 2012 @ 12:01 am (Updated 10:38 am) EST

Oliver Leopold
Oliver Leopold Todd Winters

Most 10-year-olds are concerned with surviving the night in the video game Minecraft without too much damage.

Oliver Leopold, however, is thinking about how popular Nintendo Co. Ltd.'s new gaming system, Wii U, will be once it hits stores next month.

An alert for investors about the potential for Wii U and an interesting note about how the founder of Zuckerman Investment Group LLC started investing because he had extra bar mitzvah money are two of the gems in Oliver's most recent Investment Times newsletter.

Oliver publishes it online about once a month — unless he has too much homework or has to practice his karate moves. He turned 10 on Oct. 10 and is in the fourth grade.

Between issues, Oliver jots down investment ideas that he comes across from reading newspapers or through conversations with his grandfather, former Bank of America Corp. private banker Tom Leopold. Oliver even attends investment conferences.

“One thing that inspired me to start the newsletter was when my grandma's sister said she wanted me to help her invest,” he said from his home in Evanston, Ill., which he shares with his parents and 12-year-old sister. “I like investing, and I like to give advice.”

Oliver learned about stocks in second grade and last year began investing for real, using money from gifts and doing chores.

He now holds shares of Abbott Laboratories (ABT), Apple Inc. (AAPL), Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), 3M Co. (MMM) and other companies he thinks will offer him solid long-term returns. Oliver recommends some of these companies in the newsletter.

It has about 20 subscribers and can be found at theinvestmenttimes.webs.com.

SURPRISE, SURPRISE

Oliver's mom, Mary Leopold, said that her son has been interested in numbers ever since he could talk or count, an interest that surprised her and her husband, both of whom are social workers and are more creatively oriented, she said.

She said that she didn't even know Oliver was writing the first newsletter in June until it was nearly done.

“He is completely self-driven,” Ms. Leopold said of her son, who hopes to take up the clarinet or trumpet this year at his public elementary school.

Oliver is even advancing his financial education by taking a class on Saturday mornings at Northwestern University's Center for Talent Development.

Geared for gifted students his age, the class divides aspiring traders into investment groups that research companies, choose stocks and learn about the economics and psychology of the stock market.

Although Oliver, who enjoys reading historical fiction and sci-fi stories, isn't sure he wants to become an investment professional, penning a regular investment newsletter puts him in good stead with financial advisers, who typically use newsletters to communicate with clients.

lskinner@investmentnews.com Twitter: @skinnerliz

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