Like it or not—we live in a world where money matters. Start your child off right by learning how to invest in their future with our compressive guide.
Investing young can serve as a bridge to future success. Take the story of an 11-year-old boy who bought three shares of Cities Services at $38 per share. He later sold them for $40 per share, earning a $6 profit.
That boy was Warren Buffet. Today, Buffett’s net worth is roughly $95 billion. While I can’t promise that your child will be the next Warren Buffett, I can provide some tools that will contribute to their future financial well-being.

This guide covers various ways to invest for kids

Investment Accounts For Kids

1. Custodial IRA

There are two types of custodial IRA: traditional and Roth IRA. The investment options available are very similar to each other, allowing you and your child to invest money in an account containing stocks, bonds, and other securities. The only difference in the way you pay taxes on the contributions is when you do it.

A Roth IRA allows for tax-free withdrawals on all earnings once the account holder reaches retirement age. If you want to avoid paying the 10% penalty, you need to wait until you’re 59 to withdraw the money. By contributing to a traditional IRA, your child can reduce the amount of taxable income.

Most children benefit more from a Roth IRA. Based on the available evidence, it is unlikely that they earn enough money to place them in a lower tax bracket. If someone has a job that offers a 401(k) in the future, a traditional IRA can reduce their taxable income.

2. Brokerage Account

Brokerage accounts have tax advantages that make them appealing to investors. They also come with few restrictions and can pay dividends, depending on the portfolio’s individual stocks.

Like a custodial IRA, you can open the account before your child turns 18 and transfer it to them under the Uniform Gift to Minors Act or Uniform Transfer to Minors Act.

Institutions that don’t charge fees per trade and don’t have account minimums. Some brokers that meet these criteria include:

TD Ameritrade

If you’re looking for a great online broker, look no further than TD Ameritrade. The platform is easy to navigate and you don’t have to pay commission when you trade stocks or ETFs.

When you give your child your bank account, they should have the resources they need to be successful.


If you’re looking for an online broker that offers more advanced investment options and tools, E*TRADE is a great choice. If you have kids who are interested in doing their own research and analysis, this platform is perfect for them.

E*TRADE boasts highly advanced charting and research functionality. You can trade stocks, ETFs, options, futures, and more without paying any commissions at E*TRADE.


If you’re looking for a gift for your kids that will teach them about investing, Robinhood is a great option. The app is easy to use, making it perfect for beginners. You can buy stocks through Robinhood with just a few taps, which is almost like a game. This can be good or bad.

Although you won’t have access to the same level of research options as you would with something like E*TRADE, Robinhood is still a great choice if you’re looking for simplicity.

When your child is ready to invest actual money, it can be helpful to have a parent’s guidance, especially at the beginning. There are a few things you can do to get them interested in investing money. Here’s my recommended two-pronged approach:

Pick Out Stocks They Know

Choose one or two stocks for your child to pick. Perhaps they are passionate about Netflix movies or love using Apple products. By investing in companies, you are giving them extra incentive to make sure that their investment is worth it.

Diversify The Portfolio With Index Funds

Index funds are a safe and reliable investment option. Your child can have shares in hundreds of companies for a low price with these options. The portfolio’s composition will teach the importance of diversification early on.

3. 529 College Saving Plan

The 529 plan is a savings plan created by the Internal Revenue Code in 1996. It offers parents a chance to make tax-advantaged contributions toward qualified tuition programs.

If you are expecting your first child, you will need to wait until their birth certificate is complete before opening a savings account for them.

Other benefits of a 529 plan include:

  • Most withdrawals are tax-free.
  • They apply to K-12 public, private, and religious schools.
  • You can withdraw the money at any time.
  • Single parents can contribute up to $75,000 per year.
  • Married couples can contribute up to $150,000 per year.

Presently, you have the option to invest in a 529 plan in any U.S. state. If your child wants to go to an out-of-state college, this flexibility reduces the cost of student loans.

Some states offer financial incentives, such as scholarships and grants, to encourage parents to invest money in their child’s education in that state.

4. CD Ladder

If you invest your kid’s money in a 529 plan or brokerage account, the interest rate could go up or down.

A CD ladder is a way to invest in multiple CDs at the same time. The goal is to invest in CDs with different maturation dates and interest rates.

This ensures that you will have money coming in at different intervals, providing some financial stability. When a CD reaches its maturity date, you can cash it in and reinvest the money into a new CD, which will help your child gradually grow their savings.

CD ladders offer security, regardless of what happens in the market. If interest rates go up, your kid will have more money to put into certificates of deposit. If interest rates go down, the long-term CDs will have higher interest rates.

5. UTMA/UGMA Account

If you are planning to invest for the long term, remember the acronyms UGMA or UTMA. UTMA/UGMA functions like a custodial IRA. A parent can open a savings account in their child’s name and transfer it to them when they reach a specific age.

Though the return on investment for UTMA/UGMA accounts isn’t as favorable as it is for 529 college savings plans, most people use them to save for college.

This is because parents have to make contributions with money that has already been taxed. An individual can contribute up to $15,000 to a savings account in a year, while a couple that files taxes jointly can contribute $30,000.

UTMA/UGMAs have some advantages that 529 college savings plans lack.

For example, 529 college savings plans can only be used for tuition or other educational expenses. UTMA/UGMAs are more flexible than other investment options, allowing children to use the funds for any purpose.

An UTMA/UGMA can supplement a 529 college savings plan. They help pay for expenses related to academia that don’t qualify for financial aid, such as application fees, uniforms, and health insurance.

If you want a low-cost option for investing, try Ally Invest or TD Ameritrade. Each company provides a variety of investment products with no monthly fees or required minimum balances.

Investment Horizon

1. Less Than 3 Years

The time horizon is the period of time for which an investment is made. If you need the money you invest in the near future, a couple of things should be considered.

There is not much time for your money to grow and accumulate through compound interest.

You should accept that all investments will go up and down in value and that you may not get back the amount you originally invested.

Diversification can significantly reduce the chance of permanent loss. If the stock market were to experience an unforeseen large drop shortly before you needed the invested money, what would happen?

Other investment options can be short-dated high-quality bond funds. Stocks are not usually a good option for money that you want to access within one or two years.

standards. Don’t bet on the stock market movement for the year with money that you and your kids need.

2. 3+ Years

If you want to spend a large amount of your portfolio in the next three years, you have more options for investing.

By investing over a longer period of time, you can target stocks that have the potential for greater growth. You should invest only the amount of money that you are comfortable seeing fluctuate in value.

Diversifying your portfolio is important as it helps to reduce the risk of making a loss. This can be done by investing in different markets, sectors and stocks. If you are still wondering how to invest, a well-diversified index fund can be a good place to start.

When you have three years or less until you need the money, don’t get greedy and start to move the portfolio back to savings accounts.

A core-satellite strategy involves adding more direct shares and thematic funds. These are “satellites”; higher risk and more volatile, but you believe they have great prospects for the future. The main portfolio should consist of well-diversified, broad-based index funds.

This text is suggesting that if you invest for a long period of time, you can afford to put your money into high-growth funds, because you will be able to ride out any market volatility. Although it is not essential, it is still a good idea to have emergency savings.

3. Early Childhood 3-6 Years Old

The ability to save and budget is financially beneficial in the future, even though it may be hard for young kids to understand these concepts. Practicing habits like self-control and delayed gratification can help develop these skills.

Here are some ideas to teach small kids skills that will help them with better financial futures:

Involve Your Kids In Long-Term Projects

Doing activities with your child that require waiting, such as baking, gardening, and solving puzzles, helps them learn to be patient.

The “List” Rule

You can start teaching your kids the importance of following a plan from an early age. We can make a list of what we need to buy at the grocery store with our kids and keep it handy.

The rule is that if something is not on the list, we will not buy it.

Play Games

Playing is not passive like watching TV. TV provides entertainment without any effort on the part of the viewer.

When children play, they use the part of their brain that is responsible for problem-solving and critical thinking skills. There are games that we can play with kids to help them practice self-control, like “Red Light, Green Light” or “Simon Says”.

Talk It Over And Plan Ahead

One of the most important things that will determine your future financial success is your ability to plan. A reminder to think and plan before doing any task can help children form and establish their planning skills.

” or “What will happen if you do that?” can help children develop problem-solving skills. Talking to children about their problems and helping them find answers to questions like, “What are you going to do now?” or “What will happen if you do that?” can help them develop problem-solving skills. How about after that?”

4. Middle Childhood 7-12 Years Old

The more kids understand about the world around them, the more you can talk about financial matters in the family.

If parents share the same attitude and beliefs about wealth and money, it can have a big impact on their children’s perspectives.

Some of the money lessons that are suitable for middle-school-age children include:

Giving kids an allowance and teaching them how to spend, save and share. A framework that has been found successful in many families is to teach kids that money should go into three categories:

(i) spending now,

(ii) saving or investing with big-ticket items and;

(iii) sharing with others/good causes.

You can start teaching your kids about money by discussing trade-offs with them – buying something small now or saving up for something bigger later. This will help them learn the valuable lesson of saving money.

5. Teen And Young Adult Years

Children start to make some of their first serious financial decisions, such as how to earn money from part-time jobs or how to save up for their first car. The habits and attitudes towards money that were acquired during earlier years start to come into play.

Teach Kids About Savings Account Or KiwiSaver Account

You can get your child’s IRD number as soon as they’re born, and then open a KiwiSaver account or any other investment account in their name.

Even though the teenage years can be tough, it’s a good opportunity to teach your kids about KiwiSaver, emergency savings, and compound interest (both in savings and borrowing).

Discuss The University Plan

It is crucial that both parents and kids have a clear understanding of the financial reality of university education. You might have started saving for your children’s university education years ago.

Explaining to your kids how much it will cost to study, how much they need to save, and how long they will need to wait for their initial savings to grow if they earn an average market return can help them become more responsible.

You should tell the university how much you are able and willing to contribute to your child’s education and how much they will need to cover with scholarships or loans.


There is no easy way to help our kids have a successful financial future.

One way to start building financial literacy and good money habits for kids is to open a Kid’s account and take advantage of a more favorable PIR rate. Another way to help kids develop good money habits is to stick with your index investment strategy and let the compounding do its job.

About the Author Brian Richards

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