Have Your Parents Read This?
You're the lucky parent of a teen (or precocious pre-teen) who's learning about money management and how to profit from stock market investing. If your teen keeps it up, she's likely to build a financially secure future. With any luck, in a few decades, she will be flying you to her home for a visit on a private jet -- or at least, you won't be worrying about how your offspring will make ends meet in life.
If you're asking yourself, "What can I do to help young Mortimer or Hortense keep learning about investing? How can I teach my young ones about money? What financial steps can I take to prepare for my children's college education?" then you're in luck. We've recently published a book just for teens: The Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens: 8 Steps to Having More Money Than Your Parents Ever Dreamed Of. If your teen hasn't read it yet, consider getting him or her a copy.
Below are a host of additional resources that will prove useful to you. A few cost a little money, but most are free, free, free. Please take some time to check them out.
Teaching Your Children About Money
Here are some articles and resources for you, which address not only teens but also younger kids. Some were written by Fool staffers, some by Fool Community members.
- Ten Things to Teach Your Kids About Money
- The Age of Toddlers
- Teenage Questions, Teenage Angsters
- Investing Activities for Kids
- Investment Accounts for Young People
- Why Your Kids Should Invest
- My Kids Sling Hash
- Growing Up Gardner, Part 1 and Part 2
- Allowable Allowance
- Ode to Mom at Christmas
- Cents and Sensibility
- Saving at Fifteen
- Winning the War on Whining
- The PseudoDrip
- The Opportunity (Cost) of a Lifetime
- Foolish Education, Part 1 and Part 2
- Stock for Grads
Here are a few non-Fool sites and articles recommended by folks in our Fool Community:
- The IRS' effort to teach about taxes
- The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institution's "Kids Page"
- MSN's Kidz
- Kids and Financial Organization
- Children and Investing
- Teens: Stretch Your Summer Paycheck
- Teens Targeted for Plastic Attack
- Introducing Children to Money
- Tools for Teaching Children About Money
- Ragamuffins To Riches: Use Their Allowance to Teach Them Money Skills
- Kidstock info on Drips and DSP plans
Finally, the Jump$tart Coalition has links to many additional good resources. Some will serve you well; others are good sites to explore with your children or just to send the kids to.
Helping Your Children Learn More About Investing and Money Management
A great way to help your motivated teens along is to make sure that they're able to earn money, save some of it, and invest some of their savings. Consider creating some incentives for them. You might, for example, offer to match, dollar-for-dollar, every dollar that they save and invest (perhaps up to a certain annual limit). (You might make it 50 cents for each dollar, too, or any other arrangement.) You might offer financial rewards for whenever your teens reach certain goals, such as reading certain numbers of books, earning certain grades, or any other achievements that make sense for you and your kids.
One of the best ways for anyone of any age to learn about a topic is to interact with others, asking questions, getting answers, and gleaning important nuggets from ongoing conversations. Consider buying your teen a one-year membership in our online Fool Community of discussion boards, where she will have access to hundreds of boards dedicated to discussions about specific companies, investing styles, and many other financial and non-financial topics. (It costs just $30 and we offer a 30-day free trial.) Rest assured that unlike discussion boards at many other websites, the Fool boards are known far and wide for being friendly and not chock full of obscenities and drivel. Our boards feature self-policing mechanisms, whereby anyone can flag an offending post and we'll remove it if it violates our rules. We even have a board dedicated to teens and their money, where your teen will be able to learn from and with other teens.
Your teen can read gobs of our online articles at Fool.com, which are available for free. They cover, among many other things, stories in the news, special features, Foolish investing strategies, and general financial/investing commentary. Also of interest might be our Fool's School and our archive of articles going back many years. They were mostly written for adults, but we aim to make everything we write accessible and understandable (and even amusing) to most people.
You might encourage your teen to set up a mock portfolio of stocks she pretends to invest in, so that she can learn by watching the stocks rise and fall. Portfolios can be created and tracked for free in our Quotes and Data area. That area is also a good jumping-off spot for researching companies.
Your teen might be interested in setting up an investment club, to learn with friends. If so, feel free to encourage him by pointing him to our Investment Club area. (You might consider forming a club, too -- perhaps even a family one, with your kid's aunts, uncles, and cousins. Or just one with friends or co-workers.) Know that teen (and adult) clubs can make things simple by stopping short of actually investing money together. Instead they can learn, share, and invest in a mock portfolio together.
Your teen might also be interested in some of our research products. These include subscriptions to newsletters that highlight interesting companies and stocks in an educational way, explaining why the companies and their stock prices are attractive.
We've also got a bunch of Fool books available, some of which may be of interest to your teen. Here's a list of Fool books, in FoolMart (they're also available at Amazon.com and in many bookstores). Perhaps the ones of most interest to teens are:
- The Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens: 8 Steps to Having More Money Than Your Parents Ever Dreamed Of by David and Tom Gardner with Selena Maranjian
- The Motley Fool Money Guide: Answers to Your Questions About Saving, Spending and Investing by Selena Maranjian, which features 500 common questions -- and answers -- about money and investing.
- Also, this year and next, look for revised updates of our very popular The Motley Fool Investment Workbook and The Motley Fool's Investing Without a Silver Spoon.
Saving and Paying for College / Investing for Your Children
Here are some articles and resources for you:
- The Fool's Saving for College Center: This features information on key savings tools, such as 529 Plans and Coverdell Savings Accounts.
- Investing for Baby
- Paying for College at the Last Minute
- Parental Insanity and Paying for College
- From Oxygen.com: Custodial Accounts 101
- The motherlode of info on 529 plans: SavingForCollege.com
- Kiplinger's College Planning Center
- SmartMoney's College Planning area
- College Parents of America
Here are more resources to help you learn about various schools and about paying for college, too:
- The U.S. Department of Education
- Student Guide
- The College Board
- College Scholarships
- College-Scholarships (with a hyphen!)
- Wired Scholar
- Campus Tours
- Mapping Your Future
General Resources for You
Finally, know that we have many resources that will help you make smarter financial decisions in just about all aspects of your life -- not just kid-related aspects. Here are just a few leads, and much of this stuff is available on our site for free:
Our Personal Finance area offers you information and guidance on a host of important topics, such as:
- Choosing a Broker
- Hiring a Financial Advisor
- Buying and Owning a Home
- Getting Insurance
- Earning More on Your Savings
- Buying a Car
- Paying for College
- Getting Out of Debt
- All About Taxes
- Your Retirement
- Investing for Your Kids
- Family Finances
- All About Banking
Our Retirement area offers information on planning for and living in retirement.
Our Tax area offers tax tips and reference material.
For info on how to get the most out of your short-term money, including some special low rates just for Fools, visit our Short-term Savings Center.
For information on how to choose a brokerage and links to some brokerages that support the Fool, visit our Discount Broker Center.
To look over some special freebies, discounts, and free trials available to Fools, drop by our What Every Fool Needs nook. (We've got deals on subscriptions, schooling, software, and more.)
If the thought of financial planning makes you break out in hives, or if you'd just like to have someone knowledgeable to ask questions of, check out our TMF Money Advisor service. It offers you objective, professional advice from a variety of sources. With a subscription (pro-rated money-back refunds are available, so this is well worth at least trying for a bit), you'll gain access to an online financial planning tool, a suite of Fool seminars, and toll-free access by phone to financial advisors, among other things.
We've also got a bunch of Fool books to offer you. Here's a list of Fool books in FoolMart -- although you can also read about them at Amazon.com and buy them at bookstores such as Barnes & Noble. You can probably even check them out of your local library!
Hidden Gems at the Fool: This article lists a bunch of areas of Fooldom unfamiliar to many people. You may discover some really useful resources. (I bet you will!)
You might want to check out some of our How-to Guides (online seminars). (There's a money-back guarantee on all, so you have little to lose.) Some sample topics: Couples and Cash, Get Out of Debt, Roadmap to Retirement, Beginning Investing, and many more.
You may also be interested in checking out our online discussion board community, where thousands of people are asking and answering questions on thousands of topics, both financial and miscellaneous (what's a P/E ratio? Should I rent "Shrek"? Is Microsoft a good buy now? Has anyone tried the new TaylorMade golf clubs? Is a traditional or Roth IRA better? How can I dig out from $30,000 in credit card debt? Fellow single parents, what great buy inexpensive vacations have you gone on?). Full access to the community costs just $30 per year, the cost of a magazine subscription, but you can try it for a while for free.
Best wishes, parents!