Ways to Invest at 17

7 Replies

Currently underage and wanting to get started investing. I'll be 18 in 4 months. Is it possible to get started on buying stocks if so is anytime a good time to buy in. I dont have a lot to work with right now currently have more than 4000 available to me. I already have an emergency fund, roth ira and a 4 yr cd set up. Any ideas on what areas I could invest at 17 or would it be smarter to build up the cash I have till I turn 18.

Also, I plan to enlist in active duty while trying to get a bachelor's degree. I know I'll be able to do stocks but can I do real estate too? Any extra tips or suggestions would be great thanks!

@Dillon Hutsell It is great that you are seeking this type of advice at such a young age. You should be very proud of yourself. Good luck on your upcoming investments, and your future. Stay safe. 

@Dillon, Definitely good to be thinking ahead, and I'd be happy to help in any way I can.

When you get into the military be sure you stack cash into your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) immediately. If you put a lot money into that ROTH 401k platform early on you will be able to utilize it as your cash reserves for real estate investing, and also have the security of knowing that your retirement is taken care of.

As far as what you can do at this age, I would suggest focusing on learning as much as possible, saving as much cash as possible, and networking with other real estate investors!

Best advice at the moment is to take advantage of the next four months to read and learn everything you can about your prefered investment method.  

In the meantime, this is a prime time to buy stocks.  While the market has already rebounded a fair amount from the recent crash, the 1-2 year outlook for the stock market looks very promising in my opinion.

As soon as you turn 18, get a secured credit card.  I recommend the Discover IT secured card.  As far as secured cards go it's easily the best and if you want to invest in real estate it's imperative that you start working on your credit score as quickly as possible.  If your parents are financially responsible, you can ask them to add you as an authorized user on one of their cards.  This will let you start building your credit score even though you aren't yet 18.  While Experian won't start building a credit profile for you until you actually turn 18, other credit bureaus such as TransUnion will create a credit profile for you as long as you're over 16.

If you join the military, look into the VA loan, as well as any grants or subsidies offered by whatever state you are buying in both for first time home buyers, and for military veterans. I know Arizona had like a grant for military that you could apply for, and they would pay 5-6% of the purchase price towards closing costs.

If you plan on going to school to work on your bachelors while you're in the military using Tuition Assistance, then be sure to also file the FAFSA every year.  Even though you are working full time, most of your income isn't taxable income and so in the governments eyes you look extremely poor, so it's fairly easy to qualify for financial assistance on top of your already free schooling from the military.  I have a friend who gets 5-6k every year in financial aid on top of his free schooling.

Look into possibly changing your state of legal residency once you join the military.  Even though you likely won't be living in missouri anymore, you will still pay state taxes to missouri every year.  If you get stationed in a state that offers a lower tax percentage, or better yet no taxes on military pay, then change your state of legal residency.  The best part is this legal residency doesn't need to be updated every time you move so once you find a very tax friendly state then keep it.  I've been a resident of Arizona for the last 10 years since Arizona doesn't charge tax on military income, even though I haven't lived in arizona in many years I am legally able to keep my residency in Arizona as long as I'm in the military.  Plus their drivers licenses are valid for like 50 years which is super convenient.

Also, credit cards for military members are stupidly powerful.  Look into the SCRA and MLA benefits.  I get thousands of dollars worth of free stuff every year from my credit cards, and I don't have to spend a dime on any of these cards to get that free stuff.  Chase Sapphire reserve, AMEX Platinum, Citi Prestige, AMEX Hilton Aspire, AMEX Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant, and several other cards should be in the wallet of every single military member.