Recently I had the opportunity to speak with Getty Hill and Tristen Najarian, two teenage stock market fanatics who have been actively involved in the trading industry since they were just 11 years old! Known as “Teen Traders”, Getty and Tristen’s platform for providing simplified stock market information, features virtual tutorials and easy to understand trading advice. They have been mentored by Tristen’s father, Jon “DRJ” Najarian, a CNBC financial correspondent and media analyst. When I spoke with them I was really impressed with what they are doing, how they are using the stock market to save for college, and how they want to show other teens how investing wisely can be beneficial. Teens do care about their future and their finances and Tristen and Getty are just another example of that in today’s world!
Me: What got you interested in the stock market in the first place?
Getty: When I was little I often would watch CNBC in the morning because that is what my dad had on the TV. I didn’t understand what all the red and green arrows were and why all these people cared so much, but something about it intrigued me. I started out by asking a few question to my dad, and next thing I knew I was swallowed up by it all.
Tristen: I became interested when I would watch my dad and my uncle on TV and hear from them about how exciting the market really is.
Me: What is the stock market and why should teens care? What is ‘trading’?
The stock market is a place where companies go in order to try and raise capital. Companies sell small portions of the company stock in exchange for money, giving buyers rights within the given companies. People tend to buy stock in a company for the two following reasons:
- They think the company’s value is going to increase
- They are interested in the company
In the simplest terms possible, trading is the buying and selling of fractions of a company. As a beginner that is all you need to know, but in reality there is so much more.
Me: Do you think that the average teenager can have some success on the stock market? Can teens buy stocks or do you have to be an adult?
The ‘average’ teenager can have success in the stock market, both financially and mentally. What I mean by that is you might not be making money, but you will be gaining knowledge that will help you for the rest of your life.
Technically you have to be eighteen in order to trade within the stock market, but you can always trade in your parent’s account or start a paper trading account. In a paper trading account, all trading is done with fake money. This is one of the best ways to begin to understand the stock market and trading.
There is a way for a teenager to buy stocks under the condition that you have to set up a custodial account in which a guardian will oversee your decisions.
Me: How much have each of you invested? Have you lost a lot of money on the stock market or have you turned a profit?
Getty: We have both invested a large portion, that’s for sure. Personally, I have two portfolios – one consists of safer investments and that is my college fund and the other consists of more risky investments that I use for personal funds. And it comes and goes – I usually make a profit, but after Brexit I lost thousands, so it really just depends on the global marketplace.
Me: Do you guys make extra money on the stock market? If not, how do you earn spending money or pay for stuff? What are your best personal finance tips for teens on how they can best budget their money?
Yeah, we do. Like I mentioned, I have a portfolio dedicated for college with safer investments that has grown over time. And for personal stuff, we say that you should just invest in what you know. If all of your friends shop at Urban Outfitters, buy their stock because they are doing well. If they start shopping somewhere else, sell that stock and invest in other places.
You can actually make a lot of money out of little money. For example, ANV (Allied Nevada Gold Corp.) was just at $1.78 a share, which is really affordable, and now it is at $7.00. This just shows how fast your money can grow!
Our advice would be to ALWAYS start with a paper trade account (an account with fake money) and treat it like it is real until you get a hang of what is going on. Keep track of your investments and pay attention to current events because they control the market.
If you are interested in learning more about the stock market and trading be sure to check them out on their YouTube channel, Teen Traders. As I’m getting older I’m actually getting more interested in investing and it’s encouraging to see teens like Tristen and Getty who are doing such amazing things!