Alumnus Gains Career Direction from JA

Chase Ferdinandsen is a vice president and financial consultant with Charles Schwab in Lone Tree, Colorado. Back in the ninth grade in Evergreen, Colorado, like most students, he had little exposure to the finance world. An economics class brought him to Denver for the annual Junior Achievement Stock Market Challenge. The fast-paced event teaches students how to trade stocks by simulating trading on the New York Stock Exchange floor.

“It was an absolute blast. Not to toot our own horn, but I think we did well. We were walking around extremely quickly, trying to get the floor traders’ attention, and talking among our team to develop news articles and plan our strategy over the next hour. It was just a madhouse,” he recalls.

Amid the mayhem, Ferdinandsen discovered an interest in finance that would drive his career choices.

“I thought it was such a neat experience as far as stocks go, of learning about these different companies, market movements, and things that effect the overall markets. It would be neat to handle on a day-to-day basis,” he says.

He earned a B.S. in business administration with concentrations in corporate finance and investment analysis from Colorado State University in 2014 and later became a certified financial planner. For the last six years, he’s worked as a financial service professional for Charles Schwab. Through the company’s MoneyWise program, he’s helped youth learn financial literacy skills. And he’s used volunteer hours his company provides to assist Junior Achievement.

“I always thought that financial literacy is much more of an important subject than it’s taught in school. I would like to see it be a bigger part of the curriculum. So, the fact that JA specifically is able to step in and fill in those gaps is extremely important,” Ferdinandsen says.

He says that children in elementary school can grasp the power of saving, and teens can understand the power of compounding interest and how investments can grow over time if someone—a parent, teacher, or volunteer—takes the time to explain it to them.

“In schools, they teach trigonometry, and they teach chemistry, but they don’t teach how to file a tax return. It doesn’t matter which field you go into, as far as what you do for a living, you’re going to have to be responsible to do those things,” he says.

He believes strongly in giving back. In 2019 at the JA Stock Market Challenge held at Schwab’s headquarters, he spoke to the young people about being in their shoes years ago.

“I think you have to step up and share your interests with others. It gives me a lot of joy, so I’m happy to do it,” he says.