When you think of a 15-year-old child, images of a temperamental teenager might spring to mind, along with words like young, inexperienced, naïve, irresponsible and so forth.   You also might not think that they have much to teach you regarding how to get started investing in shares.  How wrong I was thinking this when I recently met an inspiring 15-year-old young lady.  Let me tell you her story.

This young lady let’s call her Sarah* (name has been changed for privacy purposes) gave me a call back in early January this year.  Sarah was interested in buying some shares.  This is a common conversation that I have with many people, but never usually with someone so young.  Sarah told me that she’d done some research on the internet and was looking for someone to help her get started.  Before I could gather my thoughts, she had quickly asked to make an appointment to come into the office to meet with me and get things underway.  We made an appointment for Sarah and her mother to meet with me the following day.

I was in a whirlwind of thoughts.  I have helped many parents invest for their children over my years as a financial adviser, but never had I encountered a child that wanted to get started investing for themselves.

Sarah and her mother came into my office the following day, and I was impressed with how mature Sarah was and how she took control of the meeting right away.  She had a list of questions to ask me to reaffirm her online research, and we discussed what she wanted from her initial investment and how best to get started.  Meanwhile, her mother sat quietly beside her.  As Sarah is still a minor, her account must be set-up in trust for her, in this case with her mother as the trustee, but it was Sarah in the driver’s seat.  Sarah told me that she had already started putting aside some savings from her part time job.  She wanted to invest her savings right away in an initial parcel of shares, and then continue saving regularly and buy shares at regular intervals. 

And so, we began.  Sarah had $3000 to invest right away which we used to purchase her first parcel of shares once her new account was opened and ready to go – that first parcel was purchased within a week of my first meeting with Sarah.  We then set-up a plan for Sarah to save $100 per week towards a savings goal of $2000, upon which time we will purchase another parcel of shares.

It’s now September, and we have purchased two parcels of shares for Sarah already and I’m due to call her very shortly to purchase her third parcel of shares.  Unlike many teenagers that get bored with things quickly, Sarah has diligently continued with her savings plan throughout the year and I have no doubt that she will continue this on into the future.

At the end of my initial meeting with Sarah, her mother quietly mentioned to me that perhaps she should also be doing something similar for herself!  As an adult you often think you know best or how things should be done, but in this mother’s case it was her 15-year-old daughter showing her the way.

The important thing that Sarah realised was that it’s very important to start early.  The earlier you get started investing, the longer you have for your investments to grow over time.  It’s never too early, or too late, to get started, but most importantly you must make a start. 

If you are looking for some inspiration to get started on your own investment journey, let Sarah be your guide.  It was very easy for her to get started, and now that she has everything set-up and in place it’s almost a “set and forget” strategy for her.  Her shares will grow over time and set her up for a very bright future – and I’d be happy to assist you to do the exact same thing. 

Georgia Harrison, Equities & Derivatives Adviser, ADA2 (ASX)

iInvest Securities, Stockbroking & Wealth Management

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