The Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens
by David and Tom Gardner
As the author of The Teen’s Guide to Becoming a Millionaire, and a frequent follower of the Motley Fool, I was very interested to see what David Gardner had to say about investing for teens. The promise of the book is very grand: eight steps to having more money than your parents ever dreamed of. I wanted to see how well the book lived up to its promise.
Overall, I would say that this book does a good job in several areas. In each of these cases, Gardner takes a complex topic and distills it down to the basics in a form that teens can understand. The eight steps themselves are very solid, and a person can reliably follow them and be far better off than someone who doesn’t follow them.
The eight steps begin with helping teens set goals and make plans. They help teens have an understanding of how they can earn money (which becomes the seed of their investments) and to begin saving the amount that is needed to start investing. They then move on to teaching teens the basics of the financial system, including banks, credit unions, brokerage firms, insurance, etc. Then, the eight steps moves on to understanding how the stock market works, and finally to an understanding of mutual funds. Finally, they describe how teens would need to go about setting up a brokerage account and start investing.
Much of this seemed very basic to me, personally. But, as I talked with my own teens about this, it was quickly clear that teens don’t get this information from a high school education. One of the reasons it seemed so basic to me is that I’ve been working with this for the last twenty years. But it is all a necessary foundation for someone who has not been taught this in school.
The second half of the book was dedicated to investing in shares of individual companies. This included finding great companies, tracking them to determine their performance over time, understanding how financials of companies work, and crunching the numbers. It also covers how teens can set up an investment club.
There was only one area where I still found myself wanting additional information. I said a minute ago that the book took a complex subject and simplified it down. In certain areas, it seemed to stay too simple. There were a couple of areas where I could see that a teen would need additional information in order to move forward, but that additional detail wasn’t discussed. While the simplified explanations were good, teens could benefit from being directed to additional resources, in order to expand their understanding.
Other than that, the content of the information was very good. Teens who are interested in investing will benefit from reading The Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens.
Disclosure: This is a modification of my original review. I realized after talking to my own teens that I was judging the book from my perspective instead of theirs.