Many times, a parent will ask me when I think is a good time to get their children involved in the subject of investing. I really believe that the age at which a parent gets the ball rolling with their child depends on the financial maturity of the child. For some, it can be as early as 10 years old, although some may not be ready to broach the subject of investing until they reach college. Now, you may already be turned off to this article, because you either feel like you are not a college student, or you don’t have one yet. No worries, this is still applicable to people who are not college students.
So let’s assume you are about to send your child away to college this fall and you want to equip him/her with, at least, a start in investing. One of the first things that I tell a teenager who wants to get educated about the stock market is to start researching a company that they are already interested in. For example, they know the latest sneakers that are popular right now. They also know which videogames are extremely hot. I tell them to find out the company’s stock symbol and go to a familiar website such as Yahoo Finance and start looking at how that stock performed in the past month or six months or for the past year. Once they do that I'll ask them questions like why do you think the company did really well in a particular month? And sometimes they’ll answer, “Well, it could be because on a particular date, Dwayne Wade came out with a brand-new version of a sneaker. Before you know it, he or she will be on Google for at least an hour trying to find out trends in what has been going on with that company or when certain models were released. They engage in their own research and go on a wild goose chase and they don't even realize that they are doing what a lot of financial analysts are doing (and getting paid for) everyday.