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How Would You Invest Your First $200?

By February 24, 2008

Over in our Entrepreneurs Forum, a 14-year-old reader asks:

Hey I'm 14 years old and want to start investing so I have money in the bank for college and other things. I want to go to business school to learn how to start a real business but until then I want to learn how to invest small amounts of money. Right now I have $200 in the bank and just want to find something that will be profitable that I can put money in to. Anyone have ideas?

P.S. By summer I'll have over $500, and I know someone who will give me up to $1,000 if they know I will make money with it.

How about it? What advice would you give this budding entrepreneur?

Share your advice in the forum.

February 24, 2008 at 11:07 pm
(1) Tommy says:

Buy as many books as you can and study. That should be the best investment you can do.


February 25, 2008 at 8:49 pm
(2) Maria says:

My son is your age and also ambitious! I give you credit, you are what the future needs. Just remember honest work you can feel proud of never earn it at the expense of another. At the end of the day you want to face the mirror and be proud! Invest in a lawn mower place a local ad and drop notes on your neighbors doors …get busy watch it grow …once it gets up there ROTH IRA ALL THE WAY and never dip you’ll never have to worry about a future! Good luck & God bless!

February 28, 2008 at 10:12 am
(3) Sara says:

I would recommend that you align yourself with as many mentors as possible. These people can directly answer your questions and attempt to help you out.

One of the best ways to find mentors is through an organization such as Global Entrepreneurship Week (www.unleashingideas.org) which is directed at youth ventures.

They have a variety of social networking platforms to leverages as well. Such as LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/e/gis/54753/33A349718D48)
and Facebook (http://dal.facebook.com/group.php?gid=5722529878).

February 28, 2008 at 11:29 pm
(4) Mystery CEO says:

All due respect Tommy – you’re WAY off. The answer is NOT to buy as many books as you can.

I started at 19 with $100 in my pocket and boy am I thankful that I did NOT spend it all on books (I just got as much free information from forums)…

Today, I run a company poised to do multi-millions and am an industry authority in my industry…Anyways, here is how I spent it kid…

$10 = Domain name
$20 = Hosting
$50 = Scriptlance.com Posting To Get Someone To Help Me With A Small Website (Today, I’d recommend a blog or something).

Then I sat at forums and learned SEO and traffic generation (free techniques).

That’s EXACTLY how I started and today I do OK for myself :)

- Mystery CEO

March 1, 2008 at 1:00 pm
(5) Victor says:

I think Tommy is correct and I will agree with him. Knowledge is power. When you know so much, you are more valuable (in a way you are a walking asset). Companies will pay you X dollar amount for people like that. If you wish to truly wish to see your money grow go ahead and invest it in US Treasury Bills (if you are conservative). Stay away from Savings account as you will never see that money grow. Specially with the Feds lowering their rates.
Best of Luck

Respectfully Yours,

March 3, 2008 at 4:14 am
(6) MBA CEO says:

I am nearly done with my PhD in Business and know quite a few indivuduals who are very well educated and do not know the first thing about making money. If you were to buy the three or four books by Robert Kiosaki (not sure of spelling), Rich Man, Poor Man and the rest of his works, they would give you a great start on how to treat money and investment for the rest of your life. I just wish I had known some of those things when I was your age and running my own motorcycle shop!

As for going out and buying a lawn mower, not a bad idea either. I know several individuals who did that to pay their way through college and were making so much money by the end of college they stayed in that business.

However, it sounds like you already have a way to make money and are really looking only for a way to store it and actually get ahead while doing so, as an investment instead of just a storage device. I have my money in mutual funds and, of course, they are down right now. They will always fluctuate, however that is good for you! When they are down, you will be buying them a fire sale prices! The stock market has done well over any given ten year period from its inception, so I do not feel bad about recommending that. However, with your small amount to invest the only way to get into it is through the mutual funds.

At the very least you could do a money market account and still have the funds quickly available, but that is not a lot better than the savings account at the local bank which will actually lose you money compared to inflation!

You still need to do your homework, look over the past ten, five, two and one year performance levels of the funds you consider. All mutual funds are not created equal and there are many I would not touch. Also, be careful of anyone who takes MorningStar’s (or anyone else’s) buy guides as their only reference. MorningStar will tell you there are many funds that are looking good, but for any number of reasons they do not have them on their buy list. I own several of those, that have consistently produced over eleven percent over the past four years.

I have worked in the investment industry and would point you toward an Edward Jones rep or an American Funds rep. Talk to several and get a feel for how honest they sound to you. Talk to some adults you know who invest. Most retirees have some form of investments, find someone who is happy with their investment counselor and talk with that couselor.

There is no majic wand in this business, but if you watch both the rep you choose and the fund records you invest in (another place to enlist some help is from your grand parents or other friends who invest)you should be able to do well, especially getting into the market on a down time. This is the very best time to enter the markets, you will stand poised to see your investment appreciate at a far higher rate than if you get in during a strong growing market.

If you do not have a realy good way to make money, get the lawn mower. The Mystery CEO’s advice is even better. The internet is where today’s millionaires are being made. Check out Forbes.com, or do an internet search of “Entrepreneurs” and you will find there are quite few teenagers who are millionaires from the internet businesses they started! Bill Gates dropped out of college to start his business and I don’t think he is doing too badly! You can always hire college graduates who know how to do some of the things you do not!

Get some guidance from someone you know who is doing well. Just ask if they will talk with you, it is amazing how many will not hessitate to do so. If you decide on the internet route, the internet itself is a great tool for research as mentioned already and there are some excellent books out there. Read up, learn how to do what you want to do and do it with your own niche marketing twist. Keep a positive attitude, work hard and you will do well.

Develop some friendships with some successful businessmen (or business women) and investors. You may have an investment club in your home town and you can join that and meet other investors. Those who are successfull are usually willing to help a teen. Take advantage of that, listen, follow their direct advice and you can create a dynasty before you become twenty!

There is no simple answer to your question, but if you find something that works for you stick with it. If you look for it with diligence, you can find it! Feel free to email me.

Good luck and God bless!



March 3, 2008 at 5:19 am
(7) MBA CEO says:

Hey, I’m back again. You want to try not to get so behind in your work you end up at 4 am, catching up like me! I just spent a few weeks too sick to work so am playing pretty severe catch-up.

I wanted to correct what I told you about Robert Kiosaki’s work…the first was Rich DAD, Poor DAD! That is what I get for trying to remeber things at 4 am, after working all night!

I figured I would check my library and give you the rest of the titles, also.

Guide To Becoming Rich
Guide To Investing
Cash Flow Quadrant

These are the other three I have and they are excellent. Robert Kyosaki teaches you to think in a way that will help you make money.

He teaches things like a home you are living in is NOT an asset, it IS A MONEY PIT, requiring maintanence, taxes and other up keep. This it is a drain on the funds, not a replentishment, until you sell it. The only real assets you own are those that are producing cash flow. As long as the property is costing you money, it is a liability, instead of an asset!

That little tidbit sets most bankers and individuals on their ears, but it is true! We have been taught false principals as if they were factual. They even teach these things in college accounting classes! If you want to make more money than most people, you need to think differently than most people! There are quite a few other books out there that are similar in that they teach the real principals of money management that rich people use, so you quit thinking like a broke person and begin to think like a rich person. You will think like the rich man before you become one. If you never learn how to thing like a rich man, you will never become one!

I need to get to bed, or my brain will be mush for tomorrow! I know this will help, just start with Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and then go to the other books by Kyosaki, it is easier to read and by the time you finish it, you will be prepared for the others. It is a bit like a college prep course!

God bless,


March 25, 2008 at 4:48 pm
(8) Maaxx Liu says:

$100.00 – $1,000.00?

Hmm, do you plan to finish grade school? Doing this will help somewhat in the long run.

For starters, never invest in something you are not passionate about. Being passionate about something provides 2 outs for you. First, it gives you an opportunity to play with something you already know and two if you had to take over and do it all yourself, you would be able to do so without complaints.

If you want to learn investing techniques, first research lessons for free online like on blogs like blogspot.com

Second thing is to have short and long term goals that are specific to what you are passionate about that you want to accomplish within a 6 month to 1 year period.

Once you have this timeline set, you will have a vision of where you want to go with that $100-$1,000.00.

Hope this helps.

March 11, 2009 at 2:12 am
(9) aitesam says:

I think if your vision is clear and you beleive in yourself and trying to findout some thing new so You should fisrt make and net work and try to help the people and learn how the other live witout money then you will learn How I can earn money without spending your valuable saving

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