Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Free Article Join Over 1 Million Premium Members And Get More In-Depth Stock Guidance and Research

Introduce Investing to Teenagers With This Perfect Stock Sampler

By Selena Maranjian - Dec 25, 2020 at 6:01AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

It's never too early to start investing -- even if you're 13. The longer your kids' money can grow, the richer they can become.

There are few better gifts you can give to your kids, or other children you care about, than an introduction to investing. Most of us get our wake-up calls about the importance and value of investing much later than we wish we had -- let's not let that happen to the next generation.

After all, young people have the most to gain from investing -- because they have so much time for their money to grow.

A young man is holding a piggy bank in one hand and cash in the other and smiling.

Image source: Getty Images.

The case for starting to invest while young

Yes, you can amass a lot of money over just 20 years or so -- but you will probably have to sock away hefty sums each year. In contrast, someone who is just 15 has a full 50 years until age 65, and money can grow very powerfully over such a long period. Indeed, those who start young and stick with it can probably achieve early retirements.

Check out how much a single investment of just $1,000 can grow to, at an average annual rate of 8%:

Over this period...

$1,000 will grow to:

5 years


10 years


15 years


20 years


25 years


30 years


35 years


40 years


45 years


50 years


55 years


60 years


Source: Calculations by author.

Of course, $1,000 might be a stretch when you're just 15, but most of us can increase our annual investments each year or so, as we (ideally) see our incomes increase over time. Check out how larger sums can grow:

Growing at 8% for

$1,000 invested annually

$3,000 invested annually

$5,000 invested annually

5 years




10 years




15 years




20 years




25 years




30 years




35 years




40 years



$1.4 million

45 years


$1.3 million

$2.1 million

50 years


$1.9 million

$3.1 million

Source: Calculations by author.

Getting kids interested

One of the best ways to get kids interested in investing in stocks is to show them how wealthy they can become through it. Show them the tables above, for example. Much of it may be hard to process -- even we adults can have trouble wrapping our heads around huge numbers -- but explain that those big sums can mean that they will be able to do most things they'd like to do later in life -- like taking flying lessons, traveling around the world, buying every book or piece of music they'd like, buying any clothes they'd like, buying nice cars, having a nice home, and so on.

Here are some other ways to get your kids investing:

  • Discuss financial matters frequently in your home. Let your kids hear you talking about how much things cost, and how you're doing working toward your own financial goals. Discuss your investments that have gone well and poorly. Discuss mistakes you've made and what you've learned. Discuss companies in the news that interest them.
  • Set up a mock portfolio. Give them, say, $100,000 in imaginary money and have them pretend to buy some shares of stock in companies that interest them. Set up the portfolios online, so they can check in every day and see the progress. Discuss why various holdings have risen or fallen.
  • Set up an actual investment account for them at a good brokerage. There are "custodial" accounts that can be opened with and for kids, and kids with earned income can even have Roth IRA accounts.
  • Once kids have real or imaginary investments in a portfolio of their own, follow those companies like sports teams: Keep up with their developments together and root for their success.

What to invest in

So what should your kids actually invest in? Well, a simple low-fee, broad-market index fund, such as one that tracks the S&P 500, is a fine option for kids and adults alike. But it can make good sense to start out with some stocks in individual companies, as that can be far more interesting for young people to follow and keep track of -- and it can build a stronger interest in investing.

Focus on companies they're familiar with and really like -- as they will be more inclined to keep up with those. You can come up with companies that they know and admire by thinking about their habits: What do they eat or drink a lot of? What restaurants do they like? What stores do they frequent at the mall? What are their favorite brands? What products do they use every day? What are their hobbies?

Here are some of the many companies you and your kids might consider:

Food and drinks

  • McDonald's
  • Chipotle
  • Yum! Brands
  • PepsiCo
  • Coca-Cola

Sports and fitness

  • Nike
  • UnderArmour
  • Lululemon

Games and entertainment

  • Microsoft
  • Activision Blizzard
  • Electronic Arts
  • Walt Disney
  • Netflix

Interests and pastimes

  • Apple
  • Home Depot
  • Tesla
  • Snap
  • Facebook
  • Spotify Technology
  • Target
  • Walmart

Once your young ones have started investing, encourage them to keep learning about money, businesses, and investing. They might enjoy articles at, and there are many good books on money and investing, as well.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis – even one of our own – helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning service.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 12/06/2021.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Our Most Popular Articles

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with the Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from the Motley Fool's premium services.