Why This 13-Year-Old Can Be an Investing Role Model

I remember being 13. My world consisted of sports—football, baseball and pickup games of basketball. My friends and I hung out together. We played. We rode bikes. We joked around and had fun.

I can honestly say that investing wasn’t a top priority. It wasn’t even a thought in my mind! That’s why the following letter is so impressive to me—and why it should be motivating for you:

Hello Mr. Hogan!

My name is Terry, and I am 13 years old. I am interested in learning how to invest, and maybe, just maybe, (I am probably not old enough) start handling a little of my own investments when I have learned enough. I have realized the sooner you start, the better results you have later on, and I want to get started as FAST as possible.

A year or so ago, I invested $500. . . . Unfortunately, it is only earning a rate of return of 0.17%, which didn’t really make me happy. They said if I have $500 more, then I can get a better rate of return (though whatever I was invested in has never made over a $1 and has lost about $30). Right now, I have around $350 in savings and earn $5 a week for house work, and I do any other jobs I can get, especially for my grandpa.

I have started to read a few books and found a website to practice investing and get familiar with it. The book is by Motley Fools, and it has been great so far, but it is a little hard to understand. I was just wondering if you could help give me advice on the fastest ways to start to learn investing and what I should look to invest in.

Thank you for your time,


Way to go, Terry! You’re way ahead of the game!

This letter is a reminder to all of us that:

1. You’re never too young to start thinking about your financial future. Can you imagine what this teenager’s bank account could look like in his 20s or even his 50s if he keeps going with this mindset? Research tells us that a lot of people don’t start investing until they’re in their 30s. An extra decade of savings and compound interest could mean huge payoffs later!

2. Learning about retirement is important. That’s one of the reasons that I created the Retire Inspired Podcast! It’s also why reading articles like this one are so valuable. The more informed you are, the more comfortable you’ll become with investing and retirement.

3. Getting help from others is a smart idea. Unfortunately, some people are too embarrassed to talk to a professional about their financial situation. They’ve made bad decisions in the past or haven’t saved enough, and they don’t want anyone to know. I get that. I’ve made bad decisions before. But here’s the deal: You can’t let past mistakes keep you from making changes for a better future. Talk to a financial pro like one of our SmartVestor Pros. You’ll be glad you did.

Take a lesson from Terry. You’re in control of your retirement future. You can’t leave it to chance, the government, or even your employer’s 401(k) program. You’re in the driver’s seat, so set your goal, start moving, and stay focused!