Rachel Fox: Teen Actor, Rocker. And Day Trader?

FoxRachel Fox may not fit the typical profile of successful day trader: She’s 16, rocks out with her band and is quite an established actor, known for her role as the mischievous Kayla Scavo on “Desperate Housewives.” But it hasn’t stopped her from becoming a downright stock-market wiz, buying and selling with the bullish confidence of someone twice her age—and dedicating her own website, Fox on Stocks, to teaching others how to do it, too.

“I can’t say I ever had a connection to numbers before,” Fox told Yahoo! Shine, explaining that it was her mom, a licensed stockbroker, who schooled her in the ways of the market a couple of years ago. “I was always like, ‘Dow Jones,’ what is that?” But after learning the basics, then practicing for a while with a virtual trading account, Fox was hooked. Her current year-end return for 2012 was 30.4—more than twice that of the S&P 500.

“What made it so appealing was that you could make money so quickly and easily,” she explained. “And once I had that rush of making money, it became so addictive and empowering.” Fox, who lives in L.A., has already graduated from high school, which leaves her plenty of time for trading. She’s still acting, though, and just finished shooting a TV Land pilot with costars including Ben Falcone and Missi Pyle (“I check the market in between takes,” she said); she also takes college-level songwriting courses, and sings and plays guitar with her otherwise all-boy band Lioness. “It’s rock and roll. Very riff rock,” Fox explained. “Kind of like Dead Sara.”  But right now her focus seems to be trading. While she’s hesitant to disclose the specifics of her earnings, the teen does like to talk about favorite trades, like the afternoon in July when she bought a mess of LinkedIn shares at $98.97 and sold them at $102.96 just a few hours later. She also loves to Tweet about the stock market to her 2,700-plus followers, and to teach others how to trade—especially those, like many of her friends (and, ahem, yours truly), who are totally clueless on the subject.

As Fox put it: “Some of my friends are like, ‘Oh my gosh I can’t even!’” In the latest video blog in her refreshingly illuminating series on Fox on Stocks—which crashed this week after a spate of articles on her stock savvy brought the website a crush of traffic—she answers a request from her pal (fellow teen actor Jimmy Bennett), who knows “negative nothing” about the market, and explains how he can read a stock quote on his iPhone.

“That is a great question,” she says. “I bet a lot of times people click on that stock icon on their iPhone, but when they get in there and they see all those symbols flying around they just get overwhelmed and confused and they just back out of it.” She then goes on to articulately explain terms like “FTSE 100” and “price to earnings ratio” as effortlessly as someone else her age might explain what happened on the last episode of “Glee.”

“I want to show people who don’t understand anything, to give them the tools that they need,” Fox explained to Shine. Pretty much anyone who learns the stock market fundamentals—like understanding basics like trade volumes, dividend yield and whether a stock has been overbought or oversold—can be successful, she believes. Fox advises starting out with a virtual trading account, and cautions against relying too heavily on the advice of others. “Just go on your instincts,” she said.

Recently, a Twitter follower asked Fox the following question: “At 16 do you believe you have the ability to judge human nature trends that are set by individuals 3x your age?” She blogged about it on on her website, writing, “Woah. I don’t need to read between the lines to know that this question comes with a chip upon it’s shoulder.” But then, after admitting it was an important question, offered this answer:

“The only number that is relevant to stock trading is there turn. If someone has high returns, they have an ability to accurately judge human nature trends with respect to the stock market. If they havelow returns, then they don’t. My successful returns allow me to confidently share insight to human nature trends as well as othertrends.”

And there you have it, kids.