My 13 year old son works part time for a friend and wants to invest his money. What is his best option?

Dear Dave,

Our son is 13 and works part-time for a family friend. He earns between $40 and $60 a week and he would like to start investing the majority of what he earns. Do you have a suggestion for a good place where he could put his money?

Lindsay

Dear Lindsay,

Well, here’s the thing. At this stage of his life, the goal of this investment is not wealth. First, it’s not a lot of money. Second, it’s not a lot of money. The objective is to create knowledge, to reward his interest in the subject and to teach him how to manage his finances when he is an adult.

I have no problem with you helping him open checking or savings accounts at a local bank or credit union. There are many good lessons to be learned in reconciling a bank statement with the value of spending, saving and giving. Then you could hook up with a good financial professional, one with the heart of a teacher, and let them open a mutual fund for $50 a month with you as the custodian. He could learn about compound interest, how to calculate his stock value and other things, and all of that would be a good learning exercise as well.

We did these things with our children. But keep in mind that over the course of a year – and when you’re 13, that’s an eternity – there won’t be much action on the investment side. It could be a bit boring for him sometimes. But he better learn now that good things don’t always come with flashing lights and whistles.

When it comes to building wealth, things aren’t sexy. Slowly but surely, we are succeeding!

— Dave

Maria D. Ervin