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January 31, 2000
Copyright 2000, The Detroit
Investor starts young,
Teen-ager turns gift for
good grades into $500,000
Lawrence K. Ho /
Los Angeles Times
Leung advises teen-agers to develop the habit of saving and
investing early in life.
Carpenter / Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES -- David
Leung was 10 when, as a reward for good grades, his parents began a
yearly tradition of giving him 100 shares of stock. Seven years later,
his portfolio is worth about $500,000.
A math whiz and
aspiring computer scientist, Leung bought into a company he thought
showed promise -- Microsoft. Since then, he's put almost every dollar
he's earned from part-time work into his portfolio, which includes a few
other select stocks.
Now he is helping teach other
teens and twentysomethings about investment through two Web sites,
Investing for Kids (http://library.thinkquest.org/3096), which he
founded at age 13, and Invest Smart
(http://library.thinkquest.org/10326), a site that teaches money
management skills and includes a real-time stock investment game used in
more than 9,000 schools nationwide.
"The goal was just
to teach other youngsters the concepts of saving and investing and not
wasting all their money," says Leung, a senior at nearby Palos Verdes
The primary concept he teaches is
simple, if elusive, to more consumer-oriented kids his age: Spend less
to have money to invest. "It doesn't matter how much you save," he says,
"as long as you get in the habit."
Leung puts his
money where his mouth is. He works part time as a programming consultant
to an e-commerce site and invests everything he makes.
All of it.
"I don't really see that many movies. I
don't really buy any clothes. I just do stuff like tennis that doesn't
cost money," he says.
And he encourages other
teen-agers to do the same. Instead of spending money at the movies or in
the mall, Leung suggests they "give up the night out" and "buy clothes
Leung believes you're never too young to
start planning for the future. It's a refrain he often hears from people
who say they wish they had known about his Web site and invested