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Apr 22, 2022

How to Help Teenagers Start Investing Early

By Stash Team
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Everybody says one thing about investing: That they wish they’d started earlier. Starting to save and invest at a young age will help kids understand relatively complicated topics, like market fluctuations and earnings reports—things that many adults also struggle to grasp.

One option to teach teens how to invest early is to set up a custodial account for them.

Custodial accounts for teens

A custodial account is a type of investment account for children and teens under the age of 18. This account type is managed by either a parent or other adult close to the minor and allows them to trade a range of investment types, including stocks and ETFs, that benefit the child. When the minor reaches the age of adulthood, the account ownership is then transferred to the newly young adult.

Many investment banks and traditional banks offer custodial accounts for parents interested in saving for college or other expenses that can benefit their kids. Institutions that offer these accounts often create educational content too, which can help enterprising investors to learn more about the world of finance.

Involving teens in their investments

Involving teens in the management of their custodial accounts can teach them to manage a portfolio from an early age. While this account is technically managed by parents or guardians, allowing young investors some control over their investment portfolio can spur an interest in finance, and give them valuable experience in managing their finances.

Custodial accounts can also help young investors understand the economic and financial basics of the market. For example, sitting down with your children to discuss the S&P 500 and discuss investment strategies can help build responsibility and trust, too.

One upside to starting early is the potential growth* a portfolio can experience over time, thanks to compound interest.

Rules for custodial accounts (UGMA/UTMA)

Custodial accounts may have specific guidelines determined by your bank, but there are some general rules that you should keep in mind:

  • Custodial accounts are for kids. The money belongs to them as soon as you open the account, and custodians hand over the reins when a child reaches adulthood, which is typically between 18 and 21 years of age, depending on state law.
  • The funds must benefit the child. Funds in a custodial account must go toward purchases for the child, and can’t be used for your own personal expenses.
  • Beneficiaries can use the money as they see. Once a child gains control of the account, they can use the money for anything they want.
  • Taxes. Generally speaking, you’ll need to pay taxes on the income accrued by a custodial account if the amount exceeds $2,200. However, many parents and guardians use these accounts linked to their children for the purpose of gifting them tax-exempt* money up to $16,000.

*For additional questions regarding Tax treatment, please consult a Tax professional

Invest in a child’s future.

Give them a head start with a custodial account.
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Teach young people about money

Learning about investing can teach your teen important lessons about money and personal finance while helping them learn some mistakes to avoid along the way. These lessons include how to use investing tools, and how to access or reference educational material pertaining to their assets.

Financial education allows your teen to become more intentional with their money and to know when and how to successfully tackle long-term financial goals.

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Stash Team

*The rate of return on investments can vary widely over time, especially for long-term investments including the potential loss of principal.

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