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Important Investing Concepts

The basics never change

Our Two Cents

Make investing a bonding experience with your child by using a little healthy competition. Try investing in different stocks and seeing whose portfolio performs better. If your child wins, maybe you can reward them with an additional contribution.

Investing doesn't have to be complicated. But before you start teaching concepts to kids, be sure you've covered the basics of investing for yourself.

When you do talk to your kids, you might want to explain the basics of stocks, bonds and cash. Then, to give your kids a solid foundation, be sure to discuss these points:

  • Long-term investing—A longer time horizon helps you weather the market's natural ups and downs.
  • Creating a strategy—Have your kids set goals and determine a comfort level with risk. Use this information to determine their asset allocation and then help them create a plan.
  • The power of compound growth—Compounding can have a snowball effect as your original investments and the earnings on those investments grow together over time. The sooner your kids start investing, the greater the impact compounding will have, so it's important to understand the benefits of investing early.
  • Risk and reward—Stocks, bonds and mutual funds are generally more risky than a savings account, but they can also provide the potential for a higher return.
  • Diversification—It's risky to put all your eggs in one basket. You can minimize risk by diversifying, which involves spreading investments across stocks, bonds and cash investments, as well as across sectors, industries and company sizes.
  • Monitoring results—When you invest, it's important to keep your eye on results and periodically compare investment returns with the appropriate benchmarks.
  • Rebalancing—Asset classes and industry sectors perform differently over time, which could throw your portfolio's mix out of whack. It's important to teach kids about checking investments at least once a year

Practical Tips

  • Give your kids real investing experience. Open a custodial account, and let them help select appropriate investments.This can be a very exciting experience.
  • Open a Roth IRA. For teens with earned income, this can be a head start on retirement savings and show long-term investing in action.

Want more ideas? Get hands-on activities for every age.


The information on this website is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax, legal, or investment planning advice. Where specific advice is necessary or appropriate, consult with a qualified tax advisor, CPA, financial planner, or investment manager.

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