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How to Ease Your Adult Children into Caring About Investing

Sometimes, people asking for advice come to you thinking they have one question, but when you hear it, you realize their real problem isn’t what they think it is. Case in point — a MarketFoolery fan recently sent in this poser: His grown daughter has some money saved up, and she’d like to put it into the stock market. By which she means, she’d like Dad to put it in the market. She has no interest in getting involved in details like stock picking. So his concern was whether he should mirror his own portfolio for her, or pick a different set of stocks for familial diversity.

Well, reply MarketFoolery host Chris Hill and MFAM Funds’ Bill Barker, you shouldn’t let her off the hook so easily. It’s time to gently lure her into the investing game, and they have a few ideas about how. (They also answer the question he’s asking.)

A full transcript follows the video.

This video was recorded on Jan. 3, 2019.

Chris Hill: Question from Eddy, who writes, “I have a question about investing for my daughter. She’s already out of college and currently working full-time, so she’s not really a kid. She doesn’t know much about investing and has asked me to invest her savings. Do you recommend buying the same holdings you already have for your kids or diversifying and buying companies you don’t already have? She has no interest in this topic at all, so I’m trying to decide for her.”

Let me start with this: I get that she has no interest in this, Eddy, but I think this is an opportunity to slowly bring her along and get her at least mildly interested. It behooves her to get somewhat interested in where her investment dollars are going.

Bill Barker: Yeah. Not knowing the specific circumstance, but seeing that she is working full-time, I would start with, is she using the company 401(k) if there is one? Hopefully there is. If not, and even if so, is she contributing to an IRA? The specific companies is certainly one of the prisms that our company in general looks through. A lot of the people that read or listen to our work think in terms of individual companies. That’s one way to get somebody interested in something they know and understand. But another way is to just watch money grow. When you first start contributing to a 401(k), you’re starting at zero. You’re going to see that amount rapidly grow because you’re contributing to it every two weeks, presumably. Also, you’re hopefully getting a company match.

I don’t know that that’s going to be the case, or if there even is a 401(k) where this young woman is working. I hope there is. If there is, and there’s a company match, and you’re not using it, that should be an easy sale.

Beyond that, of course, the value of a Roth or regular IRA. And, parents even subsidizing their kids. If they feel like, “I can’t afford to take that much money out of my paycheck,” a little help from parents is probably more valuable. And, getting that habit started early.

Hill: In terms of specific stocks, and I think that’s another natural place for parents to look, is, “I own these stocks. I’m bullish on these stocks. Therefore, I will buy them for my children or put them in my children’s account.” That’s a natural way to think. I would split the difference there, Eddy, or at least consider splitting the difference. There may be some stocks that you own, that you have a particular interest in, and you’re particularly bullish on. Maybe those are some that you buy on behalf of your daughter. But I’m a big believer in, the easier a business is for a person to understand, the easier it is for them to follow how that business is doing. So, maybe a conversation with your daughter about what she’s interested in, what she has a natural aptitude for, what her circle of competence is, and maybe buying a couple of stocks in that direction, as well.

Barker: Yeah, I think that’s good advice. To start somebody off on a company that they can’t understand, biotech or anything like that, where you don’t really understand how drugs get approved, many areas of tech are difficult for people to process. Apple little bit less so because they see the phones.

Buying something that’s cheaper than it used to be is also one way to get people interested. But, the 401(k) and Roth — the IRA gives you the opportunity to invest in individual companies. That’s the place that I would start. To be invested in an account where you can’t really touch the money, or can’t do so without a significant penalty, which is going to be the case with a 401(k) or an IRA and knowing that the money that you put in today is going to be compounding for roughly 40 years before it gets spent.

Bill Barker is an employee of MFAM Funds, a separate, sister company of The Motley Fool, LLC. The views of Bill Barker and MFAM Funds are not the views of The Motley Fool, LLC, and should not be taken as such.

Bill Barker owns shares of Apple. Chris Hill has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple. The Motley Fool has the following options: long January 2020 $150 calls on Apple and short January 2020 $155 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Source: The Motley Fool

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