How To Invest As A Teenager In Canada: 4 Obvious ways (2024)

Are you a teenager that is looking to start investing but don’t know what options are available to you?

I will focus on approaches to investing that can be taken only once you have reached the age of majority (when you are either 18 or 19 years old).

Younger teens that would like to get started at an earlier age (age 13 – 17) will need a parent or guardian to assist them in opening an account, and not all financial institutions will allow you to invest.

When looking at Canadian stocks in particular, one in three Canadians traded at least one stock in 2021. Despite stocks being a popular investment, there are many options to consider if you are looking to invest.

I will go over how to invest as a teenager in Canada below.

Key Considerations for Investing as a Teenager

If you are looking to start investing as a teenager, you likely have the following features relative to most other investors:

  1. You likely have a longer investment time horizon
  2. You likely have a higher risk tolerance
  3. You are likely working with a smaller investment portfolio
  4. You probably don’t require as much income from your investment

As a newer investor, be sure to read my guide on how to start investing in Canada in order to avoid the most common rookie mistakes.

With the above characteristics likely resonating with you, below are some excellent long-term investment options.

How to Invest as a Teenager in Canada

1. Stocks

  • Risk: medium – high
  • Minimum investment: low – high
  • Fees: low
  • Time dedication needed: high
  • Investment time horizon: medium – long
  • Liquidity: medium – high

As a teenager, stocks are an excellent way to grow your wealth over the long term, especially since you likely have a long investment time horizon. When you own a stock, you become a very small owner in a public company.

Not all companies have stocks that you can buy or sell – those that do not are considered private companies.

Companies can be extremely different in terms of their features, growth potential, and riskiness. This translates into similar characteristics for their underlying shares.

Stocks are usually considered at least medium risk because if a company were to declare bankruptcy, lenders are entitled to whatever is left over in the company before shareholders.

Stocks can be as cheap as a few cents (penny stocks) or they can trade for as high as tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars per share. Whether a stock’s price is high or low does not indicate much.

Stocks do not come with any management fees, although you may have to pay trading commissions in some cases. If you are planning to invest in stocks, it is a good idea to use a commission-free trading platform like Wealthsimple Trade.

Managing a stock portfolio can be fairly time-consuming. The initial research on each individual stock within your portfolio should be thorough and will also take some time.

Stocks are generally liquid investments, meaning that they are easily traded and can pay income in some cases in the form of dividends to investors.

Make sure to take a look at my outline of the best stocks in Canada.

2. Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)

How Many ETFs Should I own?
  • Risk: low – high
  • Minimum investment: low
  • Fees: low – medium
  • Time dedication needed: low – medium
  • Investment time horizon: short – long
  • Liquidity: medium – high

Exchange-traded funds (or ETFs) are a type of pooled investment. A fund company gathers assets from multiple investors and invests them into a pool of various assets, which can include stocks, bonds, and more.

Pooled investments such as ETFs are an excellent way to invest since they typically help to improve diversification. An ETF with several hundred underlying stocks will likely be much better diversified than a portfolio with only a handful of stocks.

When compared to mutual funds, the ETF structure is superior in quite a few ways. One of the main advantages of ETFs is the lower management expense ratio that you can typically expect to pay.

The riskiness of an ETF will depend entirely on what type of underlying investments the fund holds.

Units of an ETF (they do not trade in shares) are usually priced low and easily accessible for most investors.

Although it can take some time to build a portfolio of ETFs, it will be much more time efficient than researching tens or hundreds of individual stocks to invest in. ETFs are an excellent investment vehicle for long-term investing.

The focus of the ETF and the underlying assets will determine what level of income it pays to investors. As a teenager, you may be more interested in the fund’s growth potential instead of how high of an income it pays.

Check out my comprehensive guide to the best ETFs in Canada.

3. Robo-Advisor

  • Risk: low – high
  • Minimum investment: low
  • Fees: low
  • Time dedication needed: low
  • Investment time horizon: medium – long
  • Liquidity: high

Setting up an account with a robo-advisor and beginning to invest for the long term is another excellent way to invest as a teenager. A robo-advisor manages your wealth and builds you a portfolio by using algorithms, usually with no human interaction.

Using specific rules and strategies, a robo-advisor builds a portfolio that usually holds several different asset classes (which can include stocks, funds, and even bonds). For most teenagers, a robo-advisor will likely construct a portfolio that almost entirely contains only stocks.

One of the main selling features of a robo-advisor is the very lost cost involved with using one. Human financial or investment advisors typically charge high fees, especially for small investment portfolios.

The savings in fees that a robo-advisor can provide allows you to grow your portfolio substantially faster over longer periods of time (due to compounding).

When setting up a portfolio with a robo-advisor, you will usually have to complete one or more questionnaires. These will help to automatically generate your portfolio. The time involved with the questionnaires and setting up an account is usually much less than actually building an investment portfolio yourself.

Specific features of the robo-advisory portfolio, such as liquidity, income, and time horizon, will usually be determined from the initial questionnaire. This makes robo-advisory portfolios quite flexible, especially as technology evolves over time.

If you are looking to start investing through a robo-advisor, be sure to consider the most competitive options in Canada, including Questwealth and Wealthsimple Invest.

4. Cash Equivalents (GICs and HISAs)

Cash Equivalents – GICs and High-Interest Savings Accounts
  • Risk: low
  • Minimum investment: low
  • Fees: none
  • Time dedication needed: low
  • Investment time horizon: short – long
  • Liquidity: low – high

If you are looking to invest money that is saved up for an important goal in the short term or medium term, you may want to consider somewhat safer investments.

One of the safest investments that can help with growing your money are cash equivalents – guaranteed investment certificates (GICs) and high-interest savings accounts (HISAs).

When it comes to risk, cash equivalents are considered extremely safe because they do not come with price volatility.

While stocks and funds may decrease in value if market conditions are unfavourable, the only way to lose money when investing in GICs and HISAs is if the financial institution holding your money goes bankrupt (and can’t cover its deposits).

In Canada, most financial institutions are Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) members, which means that clients of these institutions are covered by the CDIC up to $100,000 for most GICs and HISAs, in the event that the financial institution goes bankrupt.

Since cash equivalents are considered low-risk, they also offer fairly low returns. The returns on both GICs and HISAs are closely linked to the level of interest rates that the bank of Canada establishes across Canada. When interest rates are high, GICs and HISAs will pay a higher return, and vice versa.

If you will be needing your money fairly soon, it’s best to consider either HISAs exclusively or short-term GICs as well.

This prevents your money from being locked up for long periods of time. If you are investing for the long term and are just looking for a safer investment, consider long-term GICs for a potentially higher return.

HISAs and GICs do not charge any fees, making them very attractive from this perspective. They also require fairly limited research and time in order to purchase.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Invest $1,000 Dollars as a Teenager

$1,000 is a small amount to begin investing with, which can really limit your investment options when investing as a teenager. You will likely not meet the investment minimum for a large number of investment asset classes.

One of the best investments that you can make with just $1,000 is in exchange-traded funds. Building a diversified stock portfolio with just $1,000 is extremely difficult, and a stock ETF will allow you to invest in tens or hundreds of stocks.

$1,000 is enough to allow you to invest in one or a few different ETFs, offering you some of the best-diversified investment exposure you can get for this low of an investment amount.

Legal Age to Invest in the Stock Market in Canada

The legal age to invest in the stock market in Canada is the age of majority of the province that you live in. This is either 18 years of age or 19 years of age, depending on the province.

Younger investors that would like to get started at an earlier age will have to open an account with a parent or guardian and explore their specific options with their financial institution.

Wealthsimple Account for Minors in Canada

Wealthsimple, like other financial institutions in Canada, also requires that you must be the age of majority (18 or 19) before you can open an investment account.

Wealthsimple recommends that if you are a minor, a parent or a guardian can open a trust account on your behalf that you can take over once you have reached the age of majority.


If you are looking to invest as a teenager in Canada, you will have almost no options until you reach the age of majority of the province that you live in.

Depending on the amount of money that you are looking to invest, you may favour some investments over others. ETFs are an excellent option for teenagers with smaller amounts of savings, while investment properties may be more suitable if you have larger amounts saved up.

As a teenager and as a new investor, make sure to read my guide on investing for beginners in Canada.

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Author Bio - Christopher Liew is a CFA Charterholder with 11 years of finance experience and the creator of Read about how he quit his 6-figure salary career to travel the world here.

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