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How to teach your bored teen to invest


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“My skin is super good. I think it must be a combination of love and Lucozade, ”socially awkward fictional teenager Adrian Mole said in 1981.

2021 Social Media Compatible Teens Have Filters to Solve Their Skin Concerns. But arguably they have a bigger problem: Glued to their screens during long summer vacations, teens are likely to encounter a “finfluencer” – the growing group of novice financial advisers touting video investment advice from one. minute on channels such as YouTube, Instagram and TikTok.

Darren Collins, teacher at Sittingbourne School in Kent and winner of the 2020 Interactive Investor Personal Finance Teacher of the Year award, warns: “I have a student who wants to be a financial advisor. In fact, he teaches his parents some of the things he learned from my classes. And yet, for every student like him, I have several other children – and they are often the smartest ones – who are obsessed with the cryptocurrency dogecoin because they saw it advertised on TikTok.

This month, TikTok banned financial and investment advertising, a policy change that will hopefully mark an end to influencers pushing questionable investments and deceptive ads.

The hope is that TikTok’s systems are robust enough to detect and eliminate content that violates its revised policy. But the ban can also end up preventing informed and useful financial content from bona fide companies and experts from reaching the masses.

2020 Interactive Investor Personal Finance Teacher of the Year award winner Darren Collins says many of his students are obsessed with cryptocurrency dogecoin because they saw it advertised on TikTok

With social media likely to remain something of the Wild West, I plan to teach my teenage family four lessons this summer, structured around three tactics:

  1. Have a dinner conversation (hopefully a few). As a nation, families don’t talk about enough money. And the obvious place to get a teenager’s attention, away from his friends and messy bedroom, is dinner.

  2. Insist that she watch some investment-related screen time that is longer than 60 seconds and more beneficial. It will also be something to discuss over dinner.

  3. Pay her to do something more – for £ 4.62 an hour, the minimum wage for the 16-17 age group.

If she completes the four lessons below, in addition to the payment, I promise not to ask her to tidy up her room for the remainder of the vacation and to take her for a meal of her choice before she returns home. school.

Here are the lesson plans:


Interview 1: On TikTok, the #FinTok hashtag has been viewed over 420 million times. Have you seen any #FinTok videos? Would you take financial advice on social media?

Interview 2: How to avoid bad content on social networks?

  • Having a large following doesn’t automatically mean influencers are worth listening to. Look for evidence – background, experience and qualifications.

  • Beware of anyone who makes money touting products, investments, or strategies. If the influencer really has a strategy to beat the market, why is he talking to everyone on social media?

  • Don’t believe the ‘get rich quick’ stories. It is possible to make huge returns on a small investment, but it is rare.

Screen time: The social dilemma (Netflix), in which tech experts sound the alarm bells about the dangerous human impact of social media.

Pay it to: Look for influencers and find the good and the bad. Take a look behind the headlines at what influencers are motivated by and what they are promoting.

Have your teens look for Tiktok influencers, like Charlotte Jessop from @lookingafteryourpennies

Have your teens look for Tiktok influencers, like Charlotte Jessop from @lookingafteryourpennies

To get started, try:

@calltoleap with 800,000 subscribers TikTok is a teacher called Steve who achieved financial freedom at the age of 33. Why does he feel the need to whip up trading coaching (at $ 1,657 per year for his premium package)? Some of his videos seem sane, but do you have to be careful?

@lookingafteryourpennies is Charlotte Jessop, a geek-looking former teacher with great advice. How does she earn money? Can you find the disclaimers?


Interview 1: Nearly half (45%) of 18-29 year olds are new to investing through high-risk cryptocurrencies, according to research for Interactive Investor by Opinium in June. A fifth have invested in bitcoin at some point, with half of them taking on debt (including credit cards and student loans) to fund it. Why is this dangerous?

Interview 2: Tesla CEO Elon Musk is fond of bitcoin but also highlighted the environmental impact of cryptocurrency. It consumes as much electricity as a medium-sized European country.

Screen time: Explained: Cryptocurrency (Netflix). A quick and excellent 2018 intro on how blockchain technology is changing our world. Narrated by Christian Slater, with a mix of animation, stock footage and humor.

Pay her for: Watch Bitcoin – The End of Money as We Know It (2015) on YouTube. An award-winning documentary.


Conversation Starter 1: How is your Isa Junior invested? What are the other things you can invest in besides crypto? Explain actions and collective investments in the UK and abroad. As of January 1, 2020, young investors on the Interactive Investor platform have beaten older investors in performance and they are also the group that owns most of the investment trusts – the oldest type of collective investment.

Conversation initiator 2: Use investments to change the world. According to the Make My Money Matter campaign, £ 2.6 billion is held in UK pensions. This money is invested to build our savings for the future. But from fossil fuels to tobacco, from exploitation to extraction, these investments can often contradict our values. What matters most to you: improving the environment or society?

“Rogue Trader” (1999) is a great movie to watch for older teens who want to learn more about the dark side of investing © Alamy Stock Photo

Screen time: Become Warren Buffett (2017) costs £ 3.49 to rent on Amazon Prime and is a great introduction to long-term investing. My teenager watched it at summer school last year so I will also offer Rogue merchant (1999), good for older teens who want to learn more about the dark side of investing (and may face violence).

Pay it to: Read the Financial Times’ award-winning teenage essays on investing and, for extra cash, the classic book on money and investing Rich daddy, poor daddy by Robert Kiyosaki.


Conversation Starter 1: What would you buy with £ 100? Is it something you want or something you need?

Conversation initiator 2: How to save money with the family?

Screen time: The merchant (2018) on Netflix. Located in rural Georgia, where potatoes are rife, he follows a traveling trader as he sells second-hand items to the miserable poor.

Pay it to: To look at Minimalists: less is now (2021) on Netflix, an interesting documentary on how our lives can be better with less.

I hope she thanks me for giving her these lessons. But if she doesn’t do it immediately, I’m sure she will in the future when she rakes in the rewards of way over £ 4.62 an hour.

Moira O’Neill is Head of Personal Finance at Interactive Investor


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