Student shares advice on financial blog

Ryan Goodlett

WKU senior Kyla Scanlon has more insight than most her age when it comes to finances. Scanlon sits on several administrative councils for the college of business, including the fiscal committee and strategic planning council. She is also an economics and data analytics student researcher and the founder and president of the Women in Business Club at WKU. Scanlon has

three majors: finance, economics and data analytics.

Scanlon has been in the finance realm since she was 16 years old. Her father trades options as a full time job and she took an interest in it as well after seeing him trade one day.

Throughout her high school carrer, she traded options constantly. Scanlon explained that options are smaller trading portions that are derivatives of stocks, meaning that they get their value from the stock price. Scanlon completed an options trading course through TD Ameritrade that allowed her to begin trading at age 16.

While Scanlon got involved in finance before coming to college, WKU has allowed her to further pursue her interest, grow her knowledge and develop her skills. Students in the Gordon Ford College of Business are required to take beginner finance courses, however, that’s not a requirement for most WKU students.

Scanlon said she thinks classes on personal finance should be a requirement for every college student.

Scanlon developed her own blog, “Scanlon on Stocks,” in 2017 with the aim of making trading more accessible, particularly for college students.

“The blog was created for options trading, but I do a lot of macroeconomic research as well,” she said. “I write a lot about how the industry operates, for example —millennials and how they operate and also Americans in general and how they invest.” 

She explained that although the blog was geared towards college students, it has evolved into more of a tool for those with industry experience. One of her posts had over 25,000 views and over 300 comments. Scanlon offers a unique perspective due to her age. She is also a published author on the financial news website Seeking Alpha. 

Scanlon is particularly interested in the investment patterns of millennials, specifically why there isn’t a huge millennial presence in trading, as only 20 percent of millennials are invested in stocks and options.

Scanlon suspects the reason millennials don’t invest is largely because of the student loan debt crisis. Students may not have savings to buy stock or they may not be educated about how to go about doing so. A lot of millennials refrain from investing because of fear, as they have bad memories of watching their parents endure the 2008 recession. 

Scanlon explained that not investing in stock would mean missing out on an opportunity for the creation of wealth. 

“Stocks are risks,” she said. “It is a risk-reward ratio, and you have to be comfortable in taking the risk.”

To get your feet wet in stock trading, Scanlon recommends doing research and reading various financial news sites to get exposure to companies you’re looking at investing in. She also said that Robin Hood is a helpful app that can be used to buy and sell stock.

Scanlon said that trading stocks can teach many lessons, such as how to keep your ego in check and evaluate decisions.

“When I first traded stocks, I was really full of myself, and I thought I was like the best stock trader ever,” she said. “Then I made one really stupid trade, and it wiped out my account.”

Scanlon will graduate in May and has accepted a job with The Capital Group in Los Angeles where she will be doing fixed income analysis and continue trying to figure out the stock market puzzle.

“You think you’re gonna be right, and then you’re really wrong — I think it’s fun,” she said. “The opportunity I have out in California will allow me to experience that on a huge scale, so it’ll be super cool.”