Back in 1997, I recall one of my middle school teachers invited some of his students to play a stock market game during class. Naturally, I was disinterested in participating, but only because I didn't understand the stock market's power on my financial future.
Before anyone gives me a hard time on a missed opportunity, remember that it was 1997 where AOL was the “social media” at the time (Now we have Twitter which is infinitely better). Smartphones didn't exist to inform me on ways to make money online or to join the FIRE movement (it was just a matchstick, then). And, by the way, I was a 12-year kid.
Fortunately, today, technology has grossly changed everything, making things more accessible and more convenient. As a result, high school and middle school students have access to the world at their fingertips.
And now, teachers can use an online stock market game to educate the youth on how to start investing in one of the best income-producing assets and prepare them to build a solid financial foundation.
What Is a Stock Market Game
A stock market game is an online simulation where players can trade stocks in real-time using a virtual investment portfolio. In addition, the stock market game allows players to create custom rules for a competition and a stock market challenge. These competitions can be open to the public or private contests among friends and students.
Typically, players can find the most available stocks in the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Nasdaq, and the American Stock Exchange (AMEX). The goal is to practice trading and experience real-life scenarios (gains and losses) when investing in the stock market.
Benefits of a Stock Market Game
Trading simulation games are excellent for beginners who want to learn how to invest. Users can learn the basics of how to trade an ETF, do a short-sell, understand the importance of diversification while having fun watching profit margin grow.
The learning experience gained from an investing game can help improve students’ academic performance by practicing in different subjects, such as English language arts, economics, social studies, math, etc.
As a bonus, they can avoid spending real money by using a $100,00 practice account for trading without worrying about a stock market crash. But, future shareholders should remember that this is only a game, and they still need to consider additional factors.
Who Can Play the Stock Market Game?
Several online stock market games advertise to teachers wanting to educate their students about trading stocks. However, the stock market game is for anyone who wants to get real-life experience trading stocks. Even experienced investors can use the stock market game to simulate scenarios for stocks they are considering trading.
How Much Does It Cost To Play the Stock Market Game?
The stock market game is free to use in exchange for registering your email. In addition, stock market games give users pretend or virtual money, which is usually a virtual $100,000.
6 Stock Market Games To Improve Your Skills
The non-profit SIMA Foundation established the Stock Market Game™ program to foster knowledge of financial markets. They claim that high school students that participated in the program “did significantly better than other students on the financial literacy exam.”
This program is excellent for teachers wanting to help their students (grades 4-12) understand the fundamentals of investing. In addition, teachers can take advantage of a free, searchable library of curriculum resources and lesson plans with the Teacher Resource Center.
Do you ever notice the correlation between politics and economics? Or, how one news headline can shift global capital markets?
For this reason, MarketWatch aims to provide relevant market news that can impact people's lives and money. So, it's no surprise MarketWatch developed a stock market simulation tool, the Virtual Stock Exchange.
With the Virtual Stock Exchange (VSE), players can trade stocks with a virtual portfolio in real-time. Also, registered participants can create customized public and private games. Also, discussion groups are available to discuss different strategies to make some virtual cash.
MarketWatch also provides documents for teachers, professors, and instructors, such as an instructor guide, sample course materials, and a sample handout. In addition, there are always looking to add new features to their stock-market virtual trading game.
Some notable features are:
- Fully responsive site that works on any device and size
- Advanced trading options such as limit and stop-loss orders, as well as partial shares
- Create a custom watchlist, such as Vanguard index funds, alongside holdings
- Custom gameplay where players can set a starting budget and allow additional rules
Investopedia's overall mission has been to simplify complex financial information to help its readers make educated decisions regarding their money. Thus they developed a free stock market simulation to help further their mission.
Like other stock market games, Investopedia gives traders $100,000 in virtual cash to submit trades in a virtual environment. However, it doesn’t explicitly market the stock market game for students. Instead, it is for any potential investor wanting to test the market without risking their own money.
It does not offer a real-time trading environment with live stock prices. Instead, there is at most a 15-minute lag. However, they believe that this lag shouldn’t deter one’s ability to learn the basics of finance and learn the basic terminology of investing such as REITs.
According to the Wall Street Survivor, most online financial education websites are dry and overly complicated, making online investing boring and intimidating. However, their mission has been to “demystify investing and personal finance through interactive and comprehensive education.”
They provide jargon-free courses along with their free virtual stock market game. They also designed courses related to other personal finance topics, such as building a household budget, setting goals, and making plans to reach financial success.
Some of their notable features:
- Courses that provide are step-by-step learning guides.
- It maintains leagues that allow users to compete with one another. They also sponsor monthly leagues where participants can win cash prizes.
- WSS offers a library of articles and videos that range from basic investing principles to complicated subjects.
- The site provides Ideas is a one-stop-shop of Wall Street Survivor’s recommendation of companies to invest in.
- It offers training in the form of articles, videos, and courses.
- It has a community of seasoned pros and experts willing to help.
Created in 2004, the founders created HowTheMarketWorks to help people under how the market works. Initially, they wrote articles about the stock market and developed a glossary.
However, once they created the free stock market game, their site took off! It became popular with many professors and teachers. It has been in over 10,000 colleges, high school, middle school classrooms, and adult investment clubs.
It strives to act like a real brokerage but virtual money. Users can practice virtual trading real stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds with real-time prices.
HowTheMarketWorks also offers an Education Center where people can access investing tips on introductory, intermediate and advanced levels.
Some Notable Features:
- Monthly stock market contests where players can compete for prizes
- Create custom contests for friends to join
- They offer helpful guides for teachers, such as tutorials, reports, video lessons, activities, and more.
The Student Stock Trader is similar to other online stock market simulators. However, unlike the other stock market game websites, it has a very simple design with no advertising. It also doesn’t have any tools or resources found other stock trading simulation sties.
It focuses on animosity for safety purposes. They don’t require any personal information. Instead, students only need to create a display name.
Stock market games are an excellent way for people to practice trading. However, although these online simulators strive to provide real-life stock performance, it’s critical to understand that other factors can affect an investor’s investing strategy.
For instance, every investor has a different risk tolerance, dictating how they invest in the real world. To many people, having $10,000 is a lot of money.
But, with virtual money, players have nothing to lose, causing them to make unsound financial decisions. In other words, they are gambling and not investing.
Therefore, take stock trading with these online simulators with a grain of salt. Practice researching a company’s past and present performance along with any information in the news. Also, take advantage of the tools provided by the sites that host the stock market game.
There are several stock market games to choose from online. So, which stock market game are you going to start trading virtual money in?
Jonathan Sanchez is a real estate investor and personal finance blogger for Parent Portfolio. He owns a small real estate business that operates a couple of investment properties in his local market. He aims to help others understand their money and generate passive income. He’s also been featured in Business Insider, USA Today, and FOX Business.