How to Start Buying Stock For Your Kid

The holiday season has begun and parents are asking how to start buying stocks for the children in their lives. Here are a few options from simple and easy to a bit more complicated.

If there’s a child, or children, in your life that you’d like to purchase shares of stock for, here are a few options to make it happen:

Gift a Share

The easiest way to gift a single share of stock to a child, or anyone, is to visit a site like or and purchase a share of stock just like you would purchase anything else online.


There are only a few choices so you won’t be overwhelmed with options.

You check out just like any other purchase so it’s quick.

After you pay, the website will mail a physical paper to the recipient. You can make it as nice or as plain as you’d like.

The company you purchased stock in will contact the recipient to get their tax payer information so you don’t have to be involved with social security numbers.


It’s expensive. The company is a middle person. A stock that’s trading for $7 may still have a “transfer fee” of$40 to $70.

The recipient will not receive an actual stock certificate. Most companies don’t offer them anymore.

Open an UGMA Account

Uniform Gift to Minors Act and Uniform Transfer to Minors Act (UGMA/UTMA) are investment accounts that require an adult open the account with the child. It will be technically be the adult’s account until the child comes of age. That age can range anywhere between 18 and 25 depending on your state. You can buy and sell stocks in these accounts at whatever amount the stock is trading at and you’ll pay minimal account fees (compared to gifting a share directly) however you’ll also have to manage an account.


It’s cheaper to purchase stock. So investments can gain value quicker.

You’ll be able to purchase more shares with the same amount of money since there will be fewer fees.

The child isn’t in control of the account (as long as you don’t give them the log in information) so you don’t have to worry about them making mistakes.


Someone will have to co-own the account with the child. That means someone will have to open the account with the child and adult’s social security numbers. If you aren’t the parent, asking for the child’s social may be a huge ask.

Whoever is on the account with the child is going to pay taxes on gains and must file taxes appropriately every year.

Open a Brokerage Account

Some investment firms will let teens open an investment account alone. These accounts have a few restrictions but generally function like any other investment account. If the child you want to gift stock to is at least 13 years old, this may be a good option. Check out Feidelity’s Youth Account.


The accounts often have financial education tools built right in so students can learn investing principles.

Some accounts allow fractional investing so you can provide a specific amount of money and the young person can choose how they’d like to purchase shares.

Since the account needs no co-owner, little personal information has to be shared.


Since there is no adult co-owner it may be difficult to monitor the young person’s choices.


If you are a parent, opening up a UGMA or UTMA account for a young child makes the most sense. If you’re a parent but your child is a teenager, opening up a youth brokerage account might make more sense.

If you are an auntie, cousin, padrino, etc. then gifting a share of stock is easier and requires fewer entanglements.

Regardless of how you choose to introduce stocks to the young people in your life, there’s no time like now to get started. The one thing that young people have in their favor is time. Even if you can only provide $20 per month (or $240 a year), that $20 could grow to $97,000 assuming you provide $20 per month for ten years and got a 7% annual return and then NEVER PUT ANOTHER DOLLAR IN. Imagine if you started with $20 per month when they were ten years old and then your young person added $50 once they began working … and then they increased that contribution to $100 once they got a full-time job … and then … well, you get the picture.

In case you want to play with the numbers, check out this compound interest calculator.

Happy buying assets instead of liabilities this holiday season!

Shay Olivarria is the most dynamic financial education speaker working today. Previous clients include: Gateway Technical & Community College, SCE Credit Union, American Airlines Credit Union, and San Diego City Community College, among others. She has written three books on personal finance, including Amazon Best Seller “Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook”. Shay has been quoted on,, NBC Latino and The Credit Union Times.The 2nd edition of “10 Things College Students Need to Know About Money” is available now.

6 Tips to Help Your Child Become Wealthy

Do you remember when the hospital staff put that little bundle of new baby into your arms? Perhaps you met your child in an office somewhere or maybe it was a park. Regardless of how your child came into your life, I bet you promised yourself that you would make the best life you could for your child. A big part of making a good life for your child, means educating them about personal finance and setting their feet on the path to wealth. Here are six things you can do while your child is still young to help them do well.
#1 Open a savings account at a credit union
Credit unions have great customer service, lower loan rates, and are smaller than many banks. Opening an account a credit union allows the child to start developing a relationship with a financial institution and helps the child understand that money go into an account before one can swipe a card. Many credit unions also make an effort to reach out to youth, so they may offer incentives to open an account and yearly incentives to contribute more during Financial Literacy Month (April).
#2 Buy individual stocks for birthdays holidays
There are multiple sites where adults can buy individual stocks, complete with attractive stock certificates, for children. If the child is old enough, have them help by thinking about what products they use every day and why certain stocks might be a better investment than others. Place the stock certificates where they can view them often and bring it up in conversation.

#3 Encourage friends and family to contribute to a 529 plan

Most friends and family love to purchase new clothes or new toys for children. While any gift is certainly appreciated, a gift of $10 that could triple its value is much more helpful. Most 529 plans have a way for friends and family to put a few dollars in for milestones.

#4 Let the kid grocery shop with a spending plan and coupons

Kids see adults buying things all the time, but rarely do they understand why we choose one item over another. Including the child in grocery shopping helps the child to understand value over cost, that things do cost money, money is not infinite, and how money moves from a checking account to a vendor (through cash, check, debit card or credit card).

#5 Set limits at  amusement parks

When you arrive at an amusement park, hand each child a specific amount and tell them that once they spend it, there will be no more money. As they spend, try to guide them by explaining the rationale behind each choice but do not force them to spend the way you want. If they run out of money and become upset, it’s a tough lesson to learn but would you rather have them learn this lesson at nine years old or twenty-nine year old?

#6 Sock the college fund in a Roth IRA

Investing for your child’s college education is good, but depending on where you put the money, the funds could count against the child with the financial aid office. A Roth IRA is a great place to park the money because it’s counted differently than other college investment plans, you can take out the principle with no fees whenever you want, and if there is money left over, that money can grow tax deferred until retirement. Talk with your fee-only financial advisor about this option.

Enjoy the article? Like more just like it? Register to get emails sent to your inbox.

ShayOlivarriaHeadshotShay Olivarria is the most dynamic financial education speaker working today. She speaks at high schools, colleges, and companies across the country. She has written three books on personal finance, including Amazon Best Seller “Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook”. Shay has been quoted on,, NBC Latino and The Credit Union Times, among others. To schedule Shay to speak at your event visit



The 5 Documents Every Family Needs


I am NOT an attorney or a CPA. Please, please, please consult an attorney licensed in your state to get everything done legally. What I’m sharing here are things that I learned after my grandmother died.



No one likes to think about it but it’s going to happen. The questions is: Will your family know what to do when it happens to you? If you have assets (checking accounts, retirement accounts, a car, etc.) you need to figure out what you want to happen to those things after you’re gone. What if you don’t die? What if you are injured and/or become incapacitated? If you’re not sure, this is the list for you! Time to get it done and most of it can be done for free with a little bit of time. So, without further ado ….. here’s a list of family documents that every parent needs to have:

A will. Simply put, a will is a document that tells people what you want to happen to your things (bank accounts, investments, home, jewelry, car, etc.) after  you die. There are companies that will provide them to you for free. Some states will accept handwritten wills (aka holographic wills). Having a will does not mean that your estate will avoid probate.

A living trust. A living trust is a trust that is in effect while you are alive and can manage it. You get to put things that you want to avoid probate into the trust and manage those things while you’re alive. While you’re alive, you get to choose who will manager the trust after you’re dead. Once you die, whomever you said gets to manage it takes over. Probate is generally not needed.

A healthcare directive. This document tells people what you’d like to happen in the event of a terrible health event. For example, would you want to have extraordinary life-saving measures taken? How long should they let  you be in a coma before your family decides to pull the plug? These aren’t fun decisions but they are necessary. You can download your state’s form and register it for free in most states.

A healthcare power of attorney. This document tells the hospital, or whomever, who you want making medical decisions for you. Consider who will do what you want versus who will do what they think is best. Who will have a clear head and be willing to go to bat for you. This multi-state form from the American Bar Association should do the trick.

A durable power of attorney. This is a document that gives someone the power to make legal decisions for you. You want to have a document that becomes valid once an event occurs (accidents, death, etc.), not a document that is always valid. You don’t want someone to sell your house and clean out your bank accounts. Hopefully, the person that you put in this role wouldn’t do that anyway but one can never be too sure. Get a “springing” durable power of attorney just in case. Here is a bit about powers of attorney.


Enjoy that article? Subscribe to get more just like it!

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Email Address *

First Name *

Last Name
City *

I am a *

Parent of a student
Youth educator

Email Format

  • html
  • text

Helping a Parent With Personal Finance


It’s inevitable that at some point your parents may need your help paying bills, managing real estate, monitoring insurance, creating a living trust or some other financial piece that you were not helping with before. In some cases a parent will ask for help. In other cases you may have to bring it up first.

Help or Coup?

If you notice that your loved one(s) are having trouble keeping up with their finances, don’t barge in and take over. Your parent(s) are adults with a host of experiences and education behind them. It’s understandable that they might see your involvement as an intrusion.

If you think that your parent(s) may require your help, talk with them about it. Do they think that they need help? If so, what kind of help would they like? The goal is to help your parent(s) in whatever way they might need, not to barge into their lives and make them feel like children.

Some helpful websites:

Medication Donut Hole – If you have Medicare Part D, you may be at risk of falling into the coverage gap, or “doughnut hole.” Follow this four-step tool and save money!

AARP Quicklink – Need financial help for a parent or grandparent, but not sure where to begin?

Social Security Estimator – Find out how much money your parent will be able get from Social Security with this easy calculator.

Medicare – Have questions about Medicare coverage?

National Foundation for Credit Counseling  – Need help paying off a parent’s debt?

Federal Trade Commission – What to do when parent(s) are scammed.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – Report financial fraud. Get help!

AARP Tax Help – Tax preparation for low income seniors.

Tips for helping a parent with personal finances:

  • Make a list of everything that needs to be monitored (primary home, rental property, vehicles, checking and saving accounts, investment accounts, pensions, valuable personal property and any items in a safe deposit box.
  • Keep their assets separate from yours.
  • Keep clear records of everything that you’re doing.
  • Include all stakeholders in the information loop.
  • Consider hiring professionals to help. Ex: accountant, financial advisor, insurance agent, etc.


Remember, you’re there to help your parent(s) in whatever way that you can. Let them lead the conversation but pay attention to their behaviors.

Good luck!


Shay Olivarria Quoted in All The Money In The World by Laura Vanderkam

Financial Education Speaker & Author Shay Olivarria is quoted in this book!

Financial Education Speaker & Author Shay Olivarria is quoted in this book!


Financial Education Speaker & Author Shay Olivarria has been quoted in a new personal finance book by Laura Vanderkam, All The Money In The World: What The Happiest People Know About Getting and Spending. Have you read it yet?

Check out the quote heard ’round the world …. ’round the bookshelves?

Use TV as a teachable moment. “TV has some of the best teachable moments ever,” says Shay Olivarria, a financial education speaker and author. If kids are watching shows they shouldn’t be watching (like MTV’s Cribs), then “at least get something good out of it,” she says. Why do the characters think that a flashy house or car indicates success? Talk about why a lower interest rate on a mortgage matters in terms of monthly payments, and if you’re working extra hours to afford a particular vacation or to get out of debt, make sure they see the connection.

Keep in mind that in a cashless age, kids may have a harder time grasping what money really is. “A lot of children don’t understand how ATM cards work,” says Olivarria. “They think it’s magic. They don’t understand that money has to go in the bank for you to pull money out of the bank.” They may think that when you want something, you just swipe a card and get it, without understanding that a bank balance is debited somewhere, or that you’ll have to pay a credit card bill later. So it may be worth using cash on occasion to help them understand what’s going on.

Also, feel free to let them fail. Olivarria enjoys taking her nephews, nieces and cousins to the amusement parks near her California home. She gives them a set amount of cash (say, $20) and says they have to use it for food and any other desires. Inevitably, the first time a child has cash in hand, he blows it on a plush toy in the first 5 minutes, and then has to suffer through a long day of watching his siblings eat hamburgers and ice cream and buy other souvenirs with their carefully stewarded $20 allowances. “That is an awesome lesson,” says Olivarria. “I’d rather let an 8-year-old go hungry at Disneyland because he blew his money on a plush Mickey than have a 30-year-old blow money on something and now his kids are homeless.”

Tough love, right? Do you agree? Disagree? Check out the book and share your thoughts.



Shay on Multicultural Familia Radio

Financial Education Speaker & Author Shay Olivarria was on the Multicultural Familia Radio Show a while ago. For those that were not able to join us, Shay has taken the time to jot down a few thoughts about the major themes covered in the interview. Here are a few things that were covered:

Why are you so passionate about money management?  What prompted you to become a financial educator to kids and young adults?

I’m passionate because of all the mistakes I made in my youth! I even named them my most recent book, All My Mistakes. I look back and think, “Why didn’t anyone tell me to invest a percentage of my income?” or “Why didn’t anyone tell me about the beauty of compound interest?”. I started Bigger Than Your Block back in 2007 because I had been working with youth and I noticed that the things I didn’t know back then, they didn’t know right now. I wanted to help them learn from the mistakes that I made.

What are some financial mistakes that you’ve made and how did you overcome them?

There are so many, where should I begin?  I’d have to say that the worst mistake I made was not taking advantage of compound interest. I talk a lot about the mistakes and how to avoid them in 10 Things College Students Need to Know About Money. If I had invested only $50 per month from the time I started working at sixteen until I completed undergrad when I was about twenty six (ten years) I would have amassed $6,000. Let’s pretend that I had invested that money every month into an investment account that returned 8% per year (the average is 10% over most ten year periods, so I’m being conservative), I would have $9,000 at the end of those ten years. That’s $3,000 that was given to me because of compound interest. Let’s take it a step further and say that I never put another dollar into that account and I just let it grow. That $9,000 would turn into $217,000 by retirement!  Imagine if I had kept it up!