The Legal Age to Invest in the Stock Market

You don't have to be an adult to invest on Wall Street.
... Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images

You’re never too young to invest in the stock market. Individuals of any age may own stocks, from elementary school students to senior citizens. However, because of laws governing the ability to enter a binding contract, those under 18 or 21 may need an adult to open their accounts in order to buy and sell stocks.

1 Owning and Trading Stocks

Anyone of any age can own stocks. If you receive stock certificates as a gift or as an inheritance, they’re yours. However, to buy and sell stocks as a minor, an adult must open an account for you. Depending on the state, a Uniform Transfers to Minors Act or Uniform Gifts to Minors Act account is set up. The account owner is the adult, but the child is the beneficial owner and pays taxes at their rate on the earnings. Money deposited in the account immediately and irrevocably becomes property of the child. Once you turn 18 -- or 21, depending on the state -- the custodian can be removed from the account and you take sole legal ownership.