The Academy of Young Investors is in the midst of its first semester as the Investment Club at CSU.
AYI, founded two and a half years ago by CSU graduate Peter Villeneuve, is a non-profit organization hoping to help young people achieve financial stability early on. The program started working with students at Fort Collins high schools and has since spread to inner-city Denver, Colorado Springs and Boulder.
At CSU, students must first go through a basic financial “boot camp,” Villeneuve said, to give them a foundation to understand what takes place at AYI meetings. From there, the group meets twice a month.
“We teach people basic financial literacy,” Villeneuve said. AYI rests on three central concepts: real estate, intellectual capital and stock. It aims to teach students how to invest in all these three areas for long-term wealth, Villeneuve said.
Ryan Bendixen, a senior marketing and finance major, is the treasurer for CSU’s AYI branch. He thinks the Investment Club plays an important role because money is essentially an important part of people’s lives.
“It sounds kind of dry, but it’s still stuff people are interested in,” Bendixen said. “It’s stuff everybody needs to know.”
AYI also gives students the opportunity to invest in major companies at a reduced rate. Villeneuve said that AYI members can invest $25 a month in companies that would normally require $1,000 to invest. This is the main reason that sophomore accounting major Katie Vlcek joined.
“A lot of college students don’t have money,” Vlcek said. “AYI teaches stuff they don’t teach you in school, it lets college students save money.”
Becoming a member of AYI has a one-time fee of $40. Villeneuve feels this is a good investment for students’ futures.
“You can become completely financially independent if you just plan for it,” Villeneuve said.