Youth and Young Adults

Listen to this podcast from a youth interested in investing.

Youth and young adults can be vulnerable when investing, but they have the most to gain from learning to do it well. Learning about managing money and investing at a young age offers you the best chance to meet your financial goals. These goals might be owning a home, having a family, starting a business or travelling. 

Why you might not invest now

Perhaps the biggest reason you might not invest now is because it’s so hard to picture your future. You are probably more concerned about today than about your retirement. But the rewards of investing take time, and starting early gives you a head start.

You might feel that you do not know where to start because you have no experience with investing. But there is a bright side to being a beginner: 

  • You can learn from other people’s investing mistakes instead of learning from your own. 
  • You can develop good money habits which will serve you for the rest of your life instead of having to break bad ones. 
  • You can learn to invest confidently, successfully, and safely instead of being afraid or being taken advantage of. 

Your first experience with investing might relate to a hobby such as racing dirt bikes or online gaming. You might invest in a better bike or computer equipment by buying these things online. Unfortunately, some of the people selling are out to scam you. Learning about your rights as an investor and consumer while you are young is important. Knowing how to protect yourself from scams and fraud now will help you for the rest of your life. 

You are not your parents

Your parents likely didn’t learn much about money when they were your age. If they worked for companies that offered pension plans, they had less need to learn about investing for retirement. And interest rates were higher in the past so simply saving was a better option than it is today. Your parents may have even been afraid of investing.

Your parents or grandparents might live well in retirement in spite of not managing their money wisely or not investing. But you may face a different future. 

Young people today have less-stable employment opportunities. You are less likely to have a corporate or government pension plan. And you are more likely to work part time, for yourself, or in the gig economy. Interest rates are at an all-time low, so simply saving or investing in low-return deposit-type investments will not be enough.  

Investing is important for you

Investing is more critical for young people now than it has ever been. But there is good news too: the younger you are, the more time you have to invest. You can benefit from the higher returns of long-term investments and from the magic of compounding returns.

Stay away from debt

When you borrow money, the same magic of compounding can cost you. Many young people get into credit card debt with high interest rates.  As the interest compounds over time, the amount owing grows and grows. This often happens long before you learn about the benefits of compounding interest and other returns from investing. 

The social pressure to own expensive things and live a fun lifestyle combine with easy access to credit cards to create a serious financial risk to young adults. If you can avoid this trap, or get out of it, you will be able to invest sooner and reverse the magic. 

Get started

Invest in yourself first by learning the basics of managing money and investing. Have a plan for how you will earn a living. Earning money and managing it well are the first steps to becoming a successful investor.

Get a good education

University and community college are expensive, but they can be a worthwhile investment in your future. The return should be a career you like that pays you enough to have the life you want. Government loans and grants can help you pay for your education. Learn about these, how to manage your money while in school and make a plan to pay off your student loans by visiting

Free online resources

This Investor Rights and Protection Guide and the Nova Scotia Student Assistance website are just two excellent resources. You can find other reliable free online resources, including blogs by successful young investors and easy to use money management and investment tools. These, and a strong commitment to your financial future, put you in a better position to invest and succeed financially than any generation before you.

This guide can help

The Investor Rights and Protection Guide is for all investors. But the tips below will help you, as a youth or young adult, get the most out of it.

When reviewing Types of Financial Investments, think about how important compounding is to a young person with a long timeframe for investing.

When reviewing Investments and Income Tax, think about how you or a family member can take advantage of the grants and tax advantages of Registered Educated Savings Plans (RESPs) to invest for your education costs after high school.

When reviewing Rights for Deposit-type Investments, think about how low interest rates mean the returns from investing in deposit-type investments are much less than they were for your parents’ generation.

When reviewing Regulation of Security-type Investments, think about visiting the Young Investor section of the Nova Scotia Securities Commission (NSSC) website for ideas and tools designed for young investors.

When reviewing Fraudster Investment Schemes, think about how you can learn from others’ mistakes instead of your own. You can visit LISNS Consumer Protection page for more information to protect you as a consumer. Your familiarity with technology can make you less vulnerable to certain schemes and more capable of doing online research to protect yourself. 

When reviewing Fees and Investment Returns, think about how learning about fees early, being comfortable with technology, and having access to great do-it-yourself (DIY) investing resources can help you to be more successful than older investors using higher-fee options.

When reviewing Investing and Financial Planning, think about how investing is only one aspect of your overall financial plan. A financial plan which helps you manage your money and reduce or avoid debt now will have you ready to invest sooner and with more confidence.