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Investing In Their Future

There is a stock out there for every age and every interest.

Do the words American Girl dolls, video games, Disney princesses, Monster High Dolls, Hot Wheels, Disney movies and designer clothes make you groan about the state of your pocketbook? If your kids own any of the above listed items, you probably never looked at them as a financial investment. Well, it's time to rethink that attitude and turn these hot items into real investment opportunities.

Why lament your kids' trend following, money-wasting ways, when you can change those very trends into lessons? If you're already gifting a child one of these hot items, why not also present them with a stock from the company that manufactures it? If grandma splurged for an American Girl doll, get some stock in Mattel to go with it. It's a perfect opportunity to teach kids about investing in the stock market while you tune into their interests – a win-win all around.

You can teach your child to follow their stock in the newspaper or online and have a weekly date to check in. Changes in the stock can trigger discussions on long-term investments and instant gratification, and that's just a start. Stock reports and dividends will offer even more learning opportunities.

Whether your child is an athlete, a shopper, a reader or a video gamer, there is stock out there for every age and every interest. The trick to getting kids to care about investing is by investing in something they already care about. After all, there's nothing cooler than being able to brag to your friends that you actually own part of a major franchise that's responsible for the latest hot fads and trends. The following is a by no means exclusive list of some stocks that might be of interest to the young investor.

Walt Disney (DIS)

Disney is a dream company for the young investor. What kid doesn't dream about going to Disney World? How many little girls own Disney Princess merchandise? How many kids watch the Disney Channel or attend its new movies? The House of Mouse has quite the monopoly on kids everywhere. Princesses not your cup of tea? Disney's acquisition of Marvel (2009) and Lucasfilm (2012) expands the appeal even further while offering a great discussion topic about growth. Cool stock certificates suitable for framing don't hurt either.

Mattel (MAT)

While it's most widely known for Barbie, did you know that Mattel also owns the American Girls dolls brand, Polly Pockets, Monster High and Ever After High? Whether you have a little girl who is obsessed with Elsa, a tween who is into Monster High or a kid who just loves American Girl dolls, Mattel is a great fit for many young girls. They also own Hot Wheels and Fisher Price, so your boy or young child has a chance with them, too.

Hasbro (HAS)

While less of a household name than Mattel, Hasbro has quite a big share of the toy market. They are responsible for bringing to the world things like Play-Doh, Transformers, GI Joe and Playskool. They produce board games like Monopoly and Twister. And starting in 2015, they will be taking over the manufacturing and marketing of Disney Princess line of merchandise from Mattel, further expanding their appeal and offering a great conversation topic about further company growth and popular trends.

Foot Locker (FL) and Nike (NKE)

If you have a young athlete in your home, you might consider investing in these stocks.

Barnes and Noble (BKS)

Got a reader on your hands? There's nothing like owning a share in their favorite bookstore to go with their favorite book. Investing in Barnes and Noble stock can trigger a great discussion about how changing technology (e-readers and ebooks) can affect a company.

If you've got a video game-addicted child, or a teen who is glued to his/her iPhone, here's a chance to get him off the screen or at least switch him to some stock checking instead. The following companies could be interesting to the gadget addict/ gamer:

Apple (AAPL)

Nothing like the iPhone, iPod, and iPad maker for the cool gadget fan.

Microsoft (MSFT)

Microsoft is famous for many things, but being the maker of Xbox should hold a certain appeal to the gamers among you.

Activision Blizzard (ATVI)

Call of Duty and Diablo.

Electronic Arts (EA)

Sims and FIFA 14.

Yum! Brands (YUM)

Your kid might balk at eating spinach, but he probably doesn't mind eating out. Yum! Brands, aside from having a fun name, is the owner of Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell – places where most kids wouldn't mind hanging out. Next time your child buys a slice of extra cheese, he can be investing in his own company! And since Yum! Brands is quickly expanding in India and China, there's a whole global economy discussion to be had here as well.

Whether you choose one of these stocks or find a different hobby of your child's to invest in, there's nothing better than showing them you care, both about their financial future and about their interests today.