The Fantasy Finance game is just starting to heat up, and early leaders are starting to emerge with the first place investor having amassed more than $216,000. Among those standing out in these first few weeks is twenty seven-year old Gabriel Kim, the week-two winner. His portfolio returned a whopping 49.88% during the week.
Who is Gabriel Kim? A young, ambitious investor who isn't afraid to take chances and who faces challenges -- some specific to early investors and some universal.
Part of the beauty of Fantasy Finance is that you don't have to be a pro to participate or to win. Although Kim has followed the markets since he was young, he's only had the free capital to invest for the past two years. Now he makes about 5 to ten trades per month.
Ultimately, like many investors, Kim would like to live off of his investments. And for now, the early stages of working toward that goal involve taking risk. "I haven't accumulated a lot of wealth at this point of my life so in order to turn in reasonable short term gains, I tend to invest in the more volatile securities," says Kim, who considers himself a risk taker.
Of course, not all risks pay off, even for the big shots (ask hedge fund manager John Paulson). Kim's worst investment so far is Sprint. He banked on an iPhone-induced turnaround for the struggling wireless company a few months back, but it just didn't translate. By the time the stock did bounce back on other more recent news, he'd already sold his position.
His best move so far has been wireless technology company Qualcomm, which recently raised its dividend by 16%. "I've held onto Qualcomm for a couple of years in my IRA and believe it will continue to be the leader in the wireless chipset market and continually grow as the demand for high-end mobile increases," he says.
On a broader basis, Kim faces a common challenge: From the euro debt crisis to the speculation in oil markets, investors are dealing with volatility related to interdependent global markets. This is what concerns him most about investing, "because the world is so connected, global markets can rise and fall now from events happening from anywhere in the world."
Kim falls into a sometimes-neglected group of young investors who don't yet have a retirement account to protect, he says. Because of that, "I tend to make moves that many would see as risky," he says.
His words to live by: "Take risks. Enjoy life. You only live once."