Piggy banks make way for share portfolios

·2-min read

They're called 'kidvestors' and there's a not-so-small army of them out there.

Around 270,000 Australian children under the age of 12 are being introduced to the world of share trading by their parents, according to new research.

That's the estimated number with accounts set up in their names and who are learning the intricacies of buying and selling stocks, based on a national survey by comparison site Finder.

Two per cent of the nation's kids also boast cryptocurrency accounts.

While some may wonder why ones so young need to concern themselves with matters financial, investing expert Kylie Purcell is all for it.

"Financial literacy is often something we don't learn until we've finished school," she said.

"While it's essential to teach children about saving and budgeting, the concept of investing is also important."

More specifically, starting an investing fund early on is a good way to teach children the concepts of wealth accumulation and compounding returns over time, Ms Purcell says.

While Australians need to be 18 or older to buy and sell stocks, parents can open minor accounts in their children's names.

The shares and ETFs are owned by them but can't be accessed until they're of age.

For tax reasons, it's not a good idea to hold investments directly in the name of a child as once they exceed a $416 tax-free limit, rates as high as 66 per cent kick in.

"The tax implications of investing for your kids are complicated," Ms Purcell said.

"If in doubt, a chat to an accountant might save you a lot of heartache."

If pocket money-sized amounts are involved, micro-investing apps such as Raiz work well because they don't trigger big brokerage fees.

Finder's survey of 1033 parents also found 58 per cent of Australian kids under 12 also have savings accounts.

The children of Millennials are more likely to have a share trading account (seven per cent) or cryptocurrency account (two per cent) than those of Gen X parents (five per cent and one per cent).

However those of Gen X parents are most likely to have a savings account (66 per cent), compared to those of Gen Z parents (53 per cent).

Six per cent of Australian kids under 12 have a debit card and two per cent a credit card.

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