One of my favorite work projects is leading financial literacy seminars for the children of my clients as well as other young people in the Seattle area. My team and I designed the curriculum to be easily adaptable for different age groups and settings. After presenting for 3 years we learned that it is very difficult to predict what our students will want to discuss. At the height (bottom?) of the recession we anticipated that our students would want to discuss current events but instead we were greeted we questions about taxes.
Perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised then when the class wanted to discuss equity valuations despite the frequent buzz in DC about budget deficits and taxes. Though the biggest surprise of the day came from a 12 year old in my class. I was explaining how people generally by stocks to grow principal through capital appreciation or anticipated dividend payouts. From the back of the room a hand slowly raised and my student asked, "Yeah, but can't you also make money from shorting stocks?" Oy. I was not planning on my lecture moving into the risk and strategies of going short on the market.