When I stroll over to the table at Panera I am greeted by a grin from Esha Modi, sophomore. Modi is sitting comfortably in a booth, the screen of a silver laptop lit up as she types and scrolls through pages in search of her next big move. Modi has a hobby that could be considered strange by many standards. More specifically, she’s makes investments in the stock market.
We greet each other, and she tells me that Panera is one of her favorite places to plan investments. Modi loves the casual atmosphere, not to mention the food (soup especially being her personal favorite). I am struck by her laid-back attire, in leggings and a half zip, she presents herself as being cool and easygoing. Though at first glance one could identify her as being mellow, she quickly destroys my image as being a carefree spirit. Modi seems to change as the conversation centers around business. Soon she’s educating me about her passion for the stock market and her hopes and dreams for the future.
We look at her business apps, and while all I see is some squiggles on a screen, Modi sees vital information, information that will make or break her budding finance portfolio. She’s a member of a newer, tech orientated generation, and she’s not afraid to use these new tools to advance herself. As for how often she’s looking at her phone to check the stocks, she tells me that “you have to check them a lot” which she explains means that you “really have to love them”.
If it’s passion that’s needed to succeed in the stock market, Modi has it. Her devotion is evident as she talks, in the accelerated speed with which she takes me through her hobby. It strikes me how unusual it is for a teenage girl to be so interested in something many of her peers would deem as boring. While the majority of adolescents focus on cliche high school things like school dances and parties, Esha is advancing herself in the business world.
But Modi didn’t completely find her hobby by herself, she tells me she’s been influenced by her family. Although her father’s own career is in IT, he is active in the stock market. About two summers ago, Modi’s dad started talking to her about stocks, offered her $1000, and the rest is history. He says that by giving her the money he hoped to teach her about responsibility, and that investing is a valuable skill. As for the best insight her father has given her into the market, Modi says that he told her, “If you can’t explain why you’re doing something you shouldn’t be doing it.”
Modi is definitely keeping her future in mind as she invests. She’s so conscious of the future in fact that she tells me, “I already have a retirement fund going. Planning on retiring at 40 if I can.” Modi laughs, possibly at my own reaction, and possibly because she understands how crazy that sounds. Whether you think that’s insane, or just well prepared, the interpretation is subjective. However no one can deny that a teenage girl who’s already saving for a point far off in the future has more determination and trepidation than most would expect in an adolescent.
As for future plans that are a little closer to the present, Modi is looking at summer opportunities. She already has an internship at a small company, which she plans on devoting more of her time and effort to this summer. While she may have a head start on some of her peers, Modi still sees her internship as a chance to learn. After all, she is only a sophomore.