A brokerage statement isn't as cute as a pair of baby booties, but the bragging rights are better.
Invested wisely, those $50 birthday checks can turn into a pile of money over the years. If you begin investing $100 on each of the child's first 18 birthdays, by the time Junior is 18, the money will have doubled. He'll have more than $4,500, assuming he earns the market's historical rate of return of roughly 10%.
We asked savvy parents how they picked baby's first investments, and here's what they said:
Look at the products you use for baby. Take a look at the company behind the formula you feed your bundle of joy, and the care products you use. Many of those companies -- like Nestle, Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY ) , or Pampers maker Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG ) -- are publicly traded.
Pick familiar companies with products kids use, like Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO ) or Disney (NYSE: DIS ) -- even if you can afford only a share or two of each.
Ask your kids for ideas. When they're old enough, they'll certainly have some investing ideas. Got any Barbies or American Girl dolls lying around the living room? Their maker, Mattel, certainly has a logo the little ones can recognize.
Get Junior started on the right financial foot, and when he buys his first ride -- with cash, because you taught him well -- suggest the vanity license plate "THXMOM."