Understanding Stocks and Shares: A Guide for Kids

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Table of Contents

Hey there, future investors! Ready to unlock the mysteries of stocks and shares for kids? Get ready for an awesome adventure into the exciting world of investments made just for kids like you! Don’t worry; we’ll keep things simple and easy to understand because we know you’re smart, savvy, and curious about how things work.

Imagine owning a tiny piece of your favorite video game company or candy factory. Sounds epic, right? Well, that’s exactly what stocks are all about! They’re like magical pieces that make you a part-owner of cool companies. So, if you’re wondering what stocks are and how they work, you’ve come to the right place.

We know you might have questions like, “How do I explain stocks to a kid – someone my age?” or “What are shares, and why do people buy them?” Not to worry, because we’ve got all the answers for you. Plus, we’ll introduce you to a super cool tool called “Invstr Jr” that can help you become a pro at investing!

Get ready to discover the secrets of stocks and shares and learn all about investing in a fun and easy way.

What are stocks and shares?

Alright, let’s get down to the basics of stocks! Imagine you have a favorite candy factory, “Sweet Treats Inc.,” that makes the most delicious candies in the world. You love their candies so much that you want to be a part of their success. But how can you do that? Well, that’s where stocks come in!

Stocks are like magical certificates that you can buy from a company. When you buy a stock, you become a part-owner of that company. It’s like having a special key that unlocks a tiny piece of the company, making you a “shareholder.” And just like a puzzle piece, when all the shareholders come together, they make up the whole company.

Now, being a shareholder means you have a say in some of the company’s decisions. Imagine you and all the other shareholders of “Sweet Treats Inc.” gather in a big room to make important choices about the candy factory’s future. Cool, right? Being a shareholder gives you a voice in how the company is run.

But here’s the exciting part – if the company does well and its candies become even more popular, the value of your stock may go up too! It’s like a magic bean that grows into a big beanstalk. And just like Jack in the fairy tale, you can decide to sell your stock for a higher price than what you paid for it. That’s how you can make a profit!

However, remember that stocks can be a bit like a roller coaster ride. Sometimes, the value of the company might go down, and so could the value of your stock. It’s normal, and it’s all part of the fun and challenge of investing.

Now, you might be thinking, “Can I buy stocks from any company?” Well, most big companies like the ones you see on TV or hear about from your parents sell their stocks in places called “stock markets.” It’s like a big marketplace where you can buy and sell stocks.

In the stock market, there are special people called “stockbrokers” who help you buy and sell stocks. They’re like expert guides who assist you in navigating the exciting world of investing.

Remember, investing in stocks is not just a game of luck. It’s also about learning and understanding the companies you want to invest in. So, be curious, keep learning, and don’t hesitate to ask questions! The more you know, the better you can make decisions about which companies to invest in.

How old do you have to be to invest in stocks and shares?

So, you’re all excited about stocks and ready to dive into the world of investing. But wait a minute! Before you jump in, let’s find out how old you need to be to start investing in stocks and shares.

The age requirement to invest in stocks can vary depending on where you live. In many places, including the United States and the United Kingdom, you need to be at least 18 years old to buy stocks on your own. This is because the stock market involves real money, and the law wants to make sure young investors are making responsible decisions.

However, don’t be disheartened if you’re not 18 yet! There are still ways for you to learn about stocks and even to invest with your parent’s help and supervision! Invstr Jr is a custodial account – meaning it can be used for investments on your behalf, which are transferred over to you when you turn 18!

And here’s the fantastic news! You’re never too young to start learning about investing. The more you learn now, the better prepared you’ll be to make smart choices when the time is right. So, keep your curiosity alive, ask questions, and explore the exciting world of stocks and shares!

Click here to read more about the age requirements for investing in stocks for kids and shares on Invstr Jr’s blog! You can also check out our article on custodial accounts here.

How companies raise money through stocks

Imagine you have a fantastic lemonade stand that’s doing amazingly well. Your lemonade is so tasty that everyone in the neighborhood wants to buy it! Now, you have a big dream of making your lemonade stand even better and maybe even expanding it to new locations. But there’s one little problem – you need money to make your dream come true!

Here’s where stocks come to the rescue! When a company, like your lemonade stand or big companies you see on TV, wants to raise money, they can sell tiny pieces of their business to people like you and me. These tiny pieces are called “stocks,” and each stock represents a small part of the company.

So, when people buy these stocks from the company, they become “shareholders” and part-owners of the company. It’s like everyone coming together to help your lemonade stand grow!

Now, let’s talk about why companies want to sell stocks. Well, when a company sells stocks, they get money in return. They can use this money to make their business even better and invest in exciting new projects. For example, they might use the money to create new flavors of lemonade or build more lemonade stands in different neighborhoods.

But here’s the magical part – when the company grows and becomes more successful, the value of its stocks can go up too! It’s like the price of a cool toy going higher and higher because everyone wants to have it. So, if you bought a stock from the company and its value goes up, you can sell it later for a higher price and make a profit! How awesome is that?

Now, keep in mind that buying stocks also involves risks. Sometimes, the value of a company’s stocks can go down, and you might not be able to sell them for as much as you paid. But remember, investing in stocks is like planting seeds – some grow faster, and some take more time.

So, by buying stocks, you not only become a part-owner of a fantastic company, but you also help them grow and make their dreams come true! How amazing is that? You’re like a superhero for companies, helping them become even more awesome!

The role of stock exchanges

Alright, young investors, get ready to explore the fascinating world of stock exchanges! Imagine a bustling marketplace where people come together to buy and sell stocks – that’s exactly what a stock exchange is!

What is a Stock Exchange?

A stock exchange is like a special marketplace where companies sell their stocks, and people like you and me can buy and sell those stocks. It’s a bit like a big auction where the price of stocks goes up and down based on how much people are willing to pay for them.

Why do Stock Exchanges Exist?

Stock exchanges play a crucial role in the world of investing. They provide a safe and organized platform for companies to sell their stocks and raise money. Imagine if companies had to find individual buyers for their stocks – it would be super tricky! But thanks to stock exchanges, companies can reach thousands of potential investors all at once.

For example, when a company wants to expand, develop new products, or improve their business, they can “go public.” Going public means the company decides to sell its stocks to the public for the first time. By doing this, the company can raise a lot of money from investors, and those investors become shareholders of the company.

How are Stock Exchanges Used?

Stock exchanges are not just for grown-ups; they’re for everyone! Well, almost everyone – remember, you need to be at least 18 years old to buy stocks on your own. But don’t worry, because there are ways you can still learn and have fun with stocks before you turn 18.

When you want to buy or sell stocks, you can work with a special person called a “stockbroker.” Stockbrokers are like expert guides who help you navigate the stock market and make smart decisions. They act as the middle person between you and the stock exchange.

Now, let’s talk about how the stock market works. When a company wants to sell its stocks, it sets a price for each stock. This is called the “stock price.” When you want to buy a stock, you tell your stockbroker how many shares you want to buy and at what price. The stockbroker then goes to the stock exchange and finds a seller who is willing to sell their stocks at that price.

Similarly, if you want to sell a stock, you tell your stockbroker how many shares you want to sell and at what price. The stockbroker then finds a buyer who is willing to buy your stocks at that price.

What Happens at the Stock Exchange?

The stock exchange is like a non-stop party where buying and selling of stocks happen all day long (except on weekends and holidays). The stock exchange keeps track of all the stocks and their prices using computers, so everything is super organized.

When a buyer and a seller agree on a price for a stock, the stock exchange makes sure the trade is fair and that both parties get what they want. Once the trade is complete, the stock exchange updates the records to show who owns the stocks now.

Important Stock Exchanges

There are many stock exchanges around the world, but some of the most famous ones are the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in the United States and the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in the United Kingdom. These stock exchanges are like the kings of the stock market, with thousands of companies listed on their platforms.

So, there you have it – the exciting role of stock exchanges! They bring companies and investors together in an organized and fair way. Stock exchanges are like the heartbeat of the stock market, keeping it alive and buzzing with energy!

Famous stocks and companies

In the exciting world of investing, there are some superstar stocks and companies that have captured the hearts of investors worldwide. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most famous stocks and their incredible stock market journeys!

1. Amazon (Ticker Symbol: AMZN):

Amazon is a giant in the online shopping world. It started as an online bookstore in 1994 but quickly grew to become the “everything store.” Today, Amazon sells everything from books and gadgets to clothes and toys. The reason Amazon is so famous is its founder, Jeff Bezos, and its relentless focus on customer satisfaction.

Since its initial public offering (IPO) in 1997, Amazon’s stock price has skyrocketed! In the early days, one share of Amazon was around $18, and now it’s worth hundreds of times more! As the company grew, its stock price grew too, making early investors very happy.

2. Apple (Ticker Symbol: AAPL):

Apple is a tech titan known for its iconic products like the iPhone, iPad, and Mac computers. It was founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne. Apple has a huge fan following and is admired for its sleek designs and user-friendly technology.

Over the years, Apple’s stock has experienced remarkable growth. Since its IPO in 1980, the stock has seen several splits, making it more affordable for regular investors. As the company introduced groundbreaking products, its stock price soared, making Apple one of the most valuable companies in the world.

3. Microsoft (Ticker Symbol: MSFT):

Microsoft is a software giant that created the popular Windows operating system and Office suite. Founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 1975, Microsoft played a significant role in the personal computer revolution.

When Microsoft went public in 1986, its stock price was just a few dollars. But as personal computers became a household necessity, Microsoft’s stock soared. It has been a reliable performer for investors over the years, rewarding them with steady growth and dividends.

4. Alphabet (Google) (Ticker Symbol: GOOGL, GOOG):

Alphabet is the parent company of Google, the world’s most popular search engine. Founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1998, Google revolutionized how we find information on the internet.

Google’s IPO in 2004 was a significant event, and its stock price has been on an incredible journey since then. As Google expanded its services and became a dominant force in online advertising, its stock value climbed steadily, turning many early investors into millionaires.

5. Meta Platforms (Ticker Symbol: FB):

Facebook, founded by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004, changed the way people connect and share their lives online. It has become one of the largest social media platforms in the world, with billions of active users.

When Facebook went public in 2012, its stock had a bumpy start. However, it quickly gained momentum as the company found ways to monetize its vast user base. Today, Facebook’s stock continues to perform well, reflecting the company’s constant innovation and adaptability.

6. Netflix (Ticker Symbol: NFLX):

Netflix has revolutionized the way we watch movies and TV shows. It started as a DVD rental service in 1997 and later transformed into a leading online streaming platform.

Since its IPO in 2002, Netflix’s stock has had a roller coaster ride, with soaring highs and dramatic dips. However, the company’s focus on original content and global expansion has led to substantial growth in its stock price, making it a popular choice among investors.

7. Tesla (Ticker Symbol: TSLA):

Tesla, founded by Elon Musk in 2003, is a trailblazer in the electric vehicle and clean energy industries. The company’s mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy has captured the attention of investors and environmental enthusiasts alike.

Tesla’s stock has been one of the most talked-about stories in recent years. Its incredible rise from a few dollars per share at its IPO to a high-flying stock worth hundreds of dollars has made headlines and attracted both admirers and skeptics.

These are just a few examples of famous stocks and companies that have left a significant impact on the stock market and the world. As you can see, the stock market journey of these companies has been filled with exciting ups and downs, but they have rewarded long-term investors handsomely.

Keep in mind that investing in individual stocks carries risks, and it’s essential to diversify your investments. By learning from the successes and challenges of these famous companies, you can make informed decisions on your journey as a young investor.

What are the fundamental concepts to understand when investing in stocks?

  1. Owning a Piece of a Company:

When you buy a stock, you become a part-owner of that company. Remember, stocks represent tiny pieces of a business. As a shareholder, you have a stake in the company’s success. This means you have the potential to benefit from its growth and profitability. Keep in mind that being a part-owner also means sharing in the company’s risks, so it’s crucial to choose companies you believe in and understand.

  1. Dividends and Capital Gains:

There are two primary ways you can make money from stocks – through dividends and capital gains. Dividends are like rewards for being a shareholder. Some companies share a portion of their profits with shareholders in the form of dividends. Capital gains, on the other hand, happen when the value of a stock increases. If you buy a stock for a certain price and sell it later for a higher price, you make a capital gain. Both dividends and capital gains can boost your investment returns.

  1. Buying and Selling Stocks:

In the stock market, you can buy and sell stocks as an individual investor. Buying a stock is called “going long,” and it means you believe the stock’s value will increase over time. Selling a stock is called “going short,” and it means you believe the stock’s value will decrease. Most investors focus on going long, as it aligns with the general goal of growing their investments over the long term. Remember, it’s essential to stay patient and avoid making impulsive decisions when buying and selling stocks.

  1. Stock Tickers and Symbols:

Each company’s stock is identified by a unique combination of letters known as its “stock symbol” or “ticker symbol.” For example, Apple’s stock ticker is AAPL, and Microsoft’s is MSFT. Ticker symbols make it easy to identify and track specific stocks in the stock market. When you want to buy or sell a stock, you’ll use its ticker symbol to place your order with your stockbroker.

  1. Stock Market Indexes:

Stock market indexes are like scorecards that track the performance of groups of stocks. They are used to measure how well the overall stock market or a specific sector is doing. For example, the S&P 500 is an index that includes 500 large and well-known companies. When people talk about the stock market going up or down, they often refer to changes in indexes like the S&P 500. Indexes can help you understand the broader trends in the stock market and the overall health of the economy.

Understanding these fundamental concepts is vital for becoming a successful investor. Owning a piece of a company through stocks allows you to participate in its growth, and dividends and capital gains can boost your investment returns. Knowing how to buy and sell stocks, along with understanding stock tickers and symbols, empowers you to navigate the stock market effectively. Additionally, keeping an eye on stock market indexes can provide valuable insights into market trends and performance.

What are the different types of stocks?

As a young investor, it’s essential to know that not all stocks are the same. There are different types of stocks, each with its unique characteristics and potential for returns. Let’s explore the four main types of stocks you’re likely to encounter as a beginner investor:

1. Common Stocks:

Common stocks are the most common type of stocks that people invest in. When you buy common stocks, you become a part-owner of the company, just like we discussed earlier. Common stockholders have voting rights, which means they can vote on important company decisions. They also have the potential to receive dividends, which are a portion of the company’s profits distributed to shareholders.

2. Preferred Stocks:

Preferred stocks, as the name suggests, come with some preferential treatment. While preferred stockholders don’t have voting rights like common stockholders, they have a higher claim on the company’s assets and earnings. This means that if the company faces financial troubles, preferred stockholders are paid before common stockholders. Preferred stocks also tend to pay fixed dividends, providing investors with a more stable income stream.

3. Growth Stocks:

Growth stocks are shares of companies that are expected to grow at an above-average rate compared to other companies in the market. These companies are often in their early stages and reinvest most of their profits back into the business to fuel further growth. As a result, growth stocks may not pay dividends initially, but they have the potential for significant capital appreciation. Examples of growth stocks include technology companies and innovative startups.

4. Defensive Stocks:

Defensive stocks are shares of companies that are known for their stability, even during economic downturns. These companies belong to industries that provide essential goods and services, making them less susceptible to economic fluctuations. For example, companies that produce food, pharmaceuticals, or household products are often considered defensive stocks. Investing in defensive stocks can be a way to add stability to your investment portfolio, especially during uncertain times.

As a beginner investor, it’s essential to have a mix of different types of stocks in your investment portfolio. Common stocks offer growth potential and the chance to be a part-owner of exciting companies. Preferred stocks can provide stability and consistent income, while growth stocks offer the promise of significant returns. And don’t forget about defensive stocks, which can add an extra layer of protection to your investments during challenging times.

What are the factors that influence stock prices?

As a young investor, it’s essential to understand some of the key factors that can influence stock prices:

Company Performance and Earnings:

The performance of a company plays a significant role in determining its stock price. If a company is doing well and making profits, investors are more likely to be confident in its future prospects, leading to an increase in the stock price. On the other hand, if a company’s performance disappoints investors or it reports lower-than-expected earnings, the stock price may decrease.

Economic Conditions:

The overall state of the economy can impact stock prices. During periods of economic growth and prosperity, companies tend to perform better, and stock prices may rise. Conversely, during economic downturns or recessions, companies may face challenges, leading to lower stock prices. Factors like GDP growth, employment rates, and inflation can influence investor confidence and stock market performance.

Investor Sentiment:

Investor sentiment refers to how investors feel about the stock market and individual stocks. Positive investor sentiment can drive demand for stocks, pushing their prices higher. On the other hand, negative sentiment can lead to selling pressure and cause stock prices to fall. Investor sentiment is influenced by factors like market news, global events, and geopolitical tensions.

News and Events:

News and events can have a significant and immediate impact on stock prices. Positive news, such as a company announcing a new product launch or a partnership, can boost investor confidence and increase stock prices. Conversely, negative news, like a company facing legal issues or a global crisis, can lead to a decrease in stock prices. Investors closely monitor news and events to make informed decisions about their investments.

It’s important to remember that stock prices are also influenced by supply and demand dynamics. When more investors want to buy a particular stock (high demand) than sell it (low supply), the stock price typically rises. Conversely, when more investors want to sell the stock than buy it, the price tends to fall.

As a beginner investor, it’s essential to keep an eye on these factors and understand that stock prices can be influenced by a combination of these elements. While you can’t control external events, you can conduct research, stay informed, and make educated investment decisions based on your understanding of the factors that influence stock prices.

By being aware of these influential factors, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the ups and downs of the stock market and make thoughtful investment choices. Happy investing and remember, knowledge is the key to successful investing!

What methods can be used to conduct research on stocks?

When it comes to investing in stocks, doing your homework and conducting thorough research is crucial for making informed decisions. Here are some effective methods you can use to research stocks:

1. Company Financial Statements:

A company’s financial statements provide valuable insights into its financial health and performance. These statements include the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement. The balance sheet shows the company’s assets, liabilities, and shareholders’ equity, giving you an idea of its financial position. The income statement reveals the company’s revenue, expenses, and profits or losses over a specific period. The cash flow statement provides details about the company’s cash flow from operating, investing, and financing activities. Analyzing these financial statements can help you understand how well the company is doing and if it’s a good investment opportunity.

2. Analyst Reports:

Analyst reports are research documents created by financial analysts who study and evaluate companies and their stocks. These reports often include recommendations, target prices, and detailed analysis of a company’s prospects. While reading analyst reports, keep in mind that different analysts may have varying opinions, so it’s essential to review multiple reports to form a well-rounded view.

3. Industry Trends and News:

Understanding the industry in which a company operates is critical for evaluating its growth potential. Stay up-to-date with industry trends, market dynamics, and news that may impact the company’s performance. For example, advancements in technology, changes in consumer preferences, or regulatory developments can significantly affect a company’s stock price.

4. Stock Valuation Methods:

Valuation methods help determine whether a stock is undervalued, overvalued, or reasonably priced. Common valuation methods include Price/Earnings (P/E) ratio, Price-to-Sales (P/S) ratio, Price-to-Book (P/B) ratio, and Dividend Discount Model (DDM). Each method has its pros and cons, and it’s essential to use multiple valuation methods for a comprehensive analysis.

To use these methods effectively, consider the following tips:

  • Diversify your sources: Rely on a variety of reputable sources for your research, such as financial news websites, company investor relations pages, and reliable financial publications.
  • Understand the risks: Every investment comes with risks, and it’s essential to understand the risks associated with each stock you’re considering.
  • Long-term perspective: Investing in stocks should be approached with a long-term perspective. Avoid making hasty decisions based on short-term fluctuations in stock prices.
  • Seek professional advice: If you’re unsure about any aspect of your research or investment decisions, consider seeking advice from a financial advisor or an experienced investor.

Conducting thorough research on stocks allows you to make educated investment choices and build a well-balanced and diversified portfolio.

What are the potential risks associated with investing in stocks?

Investing in stocks offers the potential for significant returns, but it’s essential to be aware of the risks involved. Market volatility is a common risk in the stock market, as stock prices can fluctuate rapidly in response to economic conditions, geopolitical events, or investor sentiment. Business risks are specific to individual companies and can include factors like competition, changes in consumer preferences, or management decisions that may affect a company’s performance and stock price. Financial risks encompass a company’s debt levels, liquidity, and overall financial health. Diversification, or the lack thereof, can also pose risks, as having all your investments concentrated in one or a few stocks can expose you to more significant losses if those stocks perform poorly. Finally, the choice between long-term and short-term investing can influence the level of risk. Short-term trading can be more speculative and subject to market noise, while long-term investing allows for the potential to ride out market fluctuations and benefit from compounding returns. Understanding and managing these risks is crucial for making informed investment decisions and achieving your financial goals. Remember, it’s essential to invest within your risk tolerance and have a well-thought-out investment strategy.

Starting your stock investment journey

If you’re eager to embark on your stock investment journey as a young investor, you can take the first steps with parental supervision and guidance. Here are some essential considerations to get you started:

1. Opening a Custodial Account with Invstr Jr:

With the help of your parents or guardians, you can open a custodial account with Invstr Jr. A custodial account allows you to invest in stocks with their support until you reach the eligible age to manage your investments independently. To learn how to open a kids brokerage account, follow this link to our helpful guide.

2. Setting Investment Goals:

Before you start investing, it’s essential to set clear investment goals. Think about what you want to achieve with your investments, such as saving for a specific purchase or building wealth for the future. Setting goals will help you stay focused and make informed decisions aligned with your financial aspirations.

3. Creating a Diversified Portfolio:

Diversification is a superhero strategy for managing risks in the stock market. Instead of putting all your money into one stock, consider spreading your investments across different stocks and sectors. A diversified portfolio includes various types of stocks, such as common stocks, preferred stocks, and growth or defensive stocks. By diversifying, you reduce the impact of poor performance from one stock on your entire portfolio.

4. Regularly Monitoring and Reviewing Investments:

Investing is an ongoing journey, and it’s essential to keep an eye on your investments regularly. Track the performance of the stocks in your portfolio, stay informed about market trends, and read news that may impact your investments. Remember that the stock market can be influenced by various factors we discussed earlier, so monitoring your investments helps you make timely decisions.

As you begin your stock investment journey, remember that learning and gaining experience is just as important as the investments themselves. Be patient with yourself and seek advice from your parents or a financial advisor when needed. The stock market can have its ups and downs, but with knowledge, planning, and discipline, you can grow as a confident and successful young investor.

Ready to take the first step? Open your custodial account with Invstr Jr and start your exciting adventure in the world of stocks. Happy investing and may your investment journey be filled with prosperity and financial growth!


Congratulations on completing this journey through the exciting world of stocks! As a young investor, you’ve learned about the fundamentals of stocks, the different types of stocks, and the factors that influence stock prices. Armed with this knowledge, you now have the tools to make informed investment decisions.

Remember, investing in stocks is a thrilling adventure with the potential for growth and financial success. It’s essential to set clear investment goals, diversify your portfolio, and regularly monitor your investments. With the guidance of your parents and the support of Invstr Jr’s custodial account, you can start your stock investment journey with confidence.

Always keep learning and exploring the stock market, and don’t forget to enjoy the ride! As you grow as an investor, remember that patience, discipline, and a long-term perspective are key to achieving your financial goals.

So, let’s embark on this thrilling adventure together – open your Invstr Jr custodial account, set your investment goals, and watch your portfolio soar to new heights. Happy investing, young investors, and may your future be filled with financial prosperity and success!

This article was generated using automation technology. It has been thoroughly reviewed, edited and fact-checked by an editor at Invstr.

All investing involves risk and can lead to losses.
Past performance does not guarantee future results.
Invstr Financial LLC (Invstr) is registered as an advisor with the SEC. Securities trading is offered to self-directed investors by Social Invstr LLC, a member of FINRA.

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