How Old Do You Have to Be to Invest in Stocks?

If you are a young person, or perhaps a parent thinking of their child’s future, you may have asked yourself the question ‘How old do you have to be to invest in stocks?’. Though the answer isn’t clear-cut, at Invstr, we believe that you are never too young to begin your investing journey!

Let’s take a look at how to invest for teens, the benefits of investing young, the best accounts to use, and some great resources to learn financial literacy skills.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Invest in Stocks?

By investing routinely, it’s possible to make high returns and increase your money exponentially. That’s why it’s so key to begin investing as early as possible. Investing young lets you grow wealth with compound interest and learn vital financial skills. Though it may sound difficult, getting started with investing as a teen is easier than you think!

To start investing in stocks on your own, you will need to open a brokerage account, which requires you to be 18 or over. But why wait? While children under 18 legally cannot hold shares in their own name, that doesn’t mean that investing is impossible. There are alternative methods for how to invest under 18. An easy way for teens who want to begin their investing journey is by getting a parent or guardian to open a custodial account on their behalf, and a great way to do this is through Invstr Jr! For parents, Invstr Jr works as a custodial account and investing app for minors. It’s a great way to learn about investing and money management with the help of a parent or guardian.

For teens, investing in the stock market can be a great key to success as there is a long future ahead for your investments to grow. Certainly, this will give you not only a financial advantage in the future but also valuable experience in managing money.

Let’s look in-depth at how to invest for teens and what your options are depending on your age!

Can parents buy stocks for kids?

If you’ve asked the question ‘how old do you have to be to invest in stocks?’, you might also be wondering whether parents can buy stocks for kids. This seems like an easy solution as to how to invest under 18. Investing offers parents a chance to give their children the best possible start. 

To do this, parents need to set up a tax efficient custodial brokerage account – often called a UGMA (Uniform Gift to Minors Act) or UTMA (Uniform Transfer to Minors Act). Using these accounts, parents can buy the stocks they want for their kids and when they turn 18 (or 21, depending on the state you live in), the teen gains full control over the account and can use the funds as they please.

Maybe this option isn’t for you. Well, parents can also buy stocks for kids through a Guardian Account, where the parent or guardian retains ownership of the account. Through this, gains are taxed at their rate, rather than the child’s rate.

Investing as a teenager: Where to start?

Learning exactly how to invest for teens can be a journey with so many different options. There are so many different factors necessary to consider when starting to invest. Outside of choosing your account type, you have to determine your investment strategy! This includes your investment methods, the types of investments and stocks you might be interested in, and – perhaps most importantly – your budget. Let’s break it down:

Considerations for your teenage investment methods

For a teen wanting to invest in stocks, research is key. Reading up on brands and companies you’re interested in is a great way to learn about how they’re performing and how they will perform in the future with expanding products and services, in addition to learning the more technical aspects of the movements of markets.

  • Educational Resources

There is a lot about investing you should learn before you begin to use your money. Knowledge is the key to financial success, and with some research and experience, you can grow your money over time and make a profit. You can enroll in our Invstr Academy, a 10-module course on investing with bite-sized quizzes that are kid-friendly. Or if you’re more of the listening type, you can listen to the Academy audio on the go and your progress will count! ‘How old do you have to be to invest in stocks?’ is a question you can literally find the answer to in our episodes! Furthermore, Invstr offers Fantasy Finance®, a fun way to learn how to invest for teens by managing a $1M virtual investment portfolio with real-time markets. All the investing experience without risking real money!

  • User experience and interface

Learning how to invest for teens has never been easier! With Invstr you can invest in thousands of US-listed stocks, cryptocurrencies, and fractional shares! You can even use Invstr Stats to track your investing performance. This breaks down your investing Power, Skill, Technique, Control, Stamina, and Experience, analyzing where you make and lose money, your portfolio returns, volatility, and more. You can have key insight into what’s driving your investing performance, identify areas for improvement, and optimize your investing strategy. Using Invstr Jr, you can even make money by doing household chores!

  • Fees

If you are looking for how to invest for teens, you may be wondering about the fees involved. Invstr Jr costs $7.99/mo or $75/yr (a 22% discount!), and funds in an Invstr Jr account belong to the minor. Invstr Jr makes it easy and fun to invest for your child by providing fractional investing from just $5, with zero commission fees. Earnings made on the account may require the minor to file a tax return and pay taxes, or, if certain requirements are met, you may choose to include earnings on the parent’s tax return. Parents are obligated to supervise and be responsible for their children’s actions and are also responsible for paying any fees and expenses.

  • Support

The process of investing under 18 has never been as smooth! Invstr offers dozens of support articles and various methods of getting in touch with our friendly and helpful Support Team.

  • Minimum Balance Considerations

While you can only fund your Invstr account with USD, there is no account funding minimum. All you need to do is top it up by moving money from any account you have to your Invstr+ account – through Plaid ACH Pull, Bank Wire, Bank ACH Push, Cash App, PayPal, or Venmo. Furthermore, when you open a brokerage account through Invstr+ with our partner Vast Bank, you can benefit from banking services and smoothly move money to and from your account. The Jr account only allows deposits of cash made electronically: It’s a custodial account to manage a minor’s future needs, not a cash account to dip in and out of.

Investment product considerations for teenagers

With Invstr Jr, you don’t need to worry about old you have to be to invest in the stock market. So, you can enjoy easy stock trading for kids, as well as other financial features such as rewards for goal completion, places to put money for savings, and Invstr’s immense library of education and support. Using Invstr Jr, under 18s can request to buy or sell stocks and EFTs, with parental approval on every trade.

Types of investment accounts to consider

Generally, there are two different account types to pick from when deciding how to invest under 18. Let’s take a look at how to invest for teens with UGMA and UTMA custodial accounts or IRA accounts.

  • Custodial Brokerage Accounts

Firstly, the Uniform Gift to Minors Act (UGMA) and Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) are both custodial accounts. These allow you to gift, save, and invest money on a minor’s behalf, without having to establish a trust. The two are almost identical, the only difference being that they can hold different assets. Both can hold financial assets like cash, stocks, and bonds, but only UTMAs can hold physical assets like property and real estate.

  • Custodial IRA

Secondly, there is also the option of a custodial IRA as your investing account. A Custodial Individual Retirement Account (IRA) allows teens and parents to start saving for retirement. Like a UGMA or UTMA, a parent opens this type of investing account on a minor’s behalf. While retirement may not be on your child’s mind, some would say it should be. With an IRA, a small investment can compound into a hefty sum.

However, compared to UTMAs and UGMAs, there are restrictions on IRAs. UTMA/UGMAs offer no restrictions on the amount of money you can put into your child’s account. These accounts can be used freely towards anything once the minor is eligible, with custodial IRAs being limited to retirement.

Invstr Jr is a UTMA account. However, it is treated as a full trust account, meaning that it is opened and managed by a parent or guardian for the benefit of the minor. The parent or guardian acts as a fiduciary, meaning they have a legal responsibility to oversee the minor’s investments. You’ll always be in the know.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, the answer to ‘how old do you have to be to invest in stocks?’ is simpler than you may think. The bottom line is, by starting as early as you can through custodial accounts and Invstr Jr, the better. Your child will be set up for the best possible start and brightest future.

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