• The Power of Investing Young: Mass. teen writes book on finance for peers

    By: Bob Dumas

    Updated:

    Billionaires who have been investing for years are getting whiplash from the wild swings on Wall Street these days.

    A Falmouth teenager isn’t rattled by what’s going on. In fact, 16-year old Maya Peterson sees an opportunity, "I find it’s more like a sale. Things are like half price, so you can go in and get them."

    It’s financial confidence like that which prompted her to write a book: "Early Bird – The Power of Investing Young."

    Peterson’s goal is to make the world of finance understandable for her peers. "I think having someone around the same age or someone who isn't a big figure or CEO of a company or is the leader of some investment firm, that can be a little hard to approach. This book is easy. It’s just easier to understand for people."

    Peterson became interested in the business world when she was 8. "I ended up selling my American Girl dolls because I didn't play with them anymore and I’m not very sentimental about those things, and I bought Mattel, who makes American Girl dolls."

    Peterson's mother, Ginnie, said their family has always been interested in finance, but that her daughter has taken it to a whole new level. "It’s so exciting to see her empowered, being taken seriously in the field. I see her talk with middle-aged men who have been doing this a long time and they take her seriously."

    Peterson attends the Berkshire-Hathaway annual meeting and has been invited as a speaker.

    Professor Ryan Davies, the chairman of the Babson College finance program, says investing earlier in life can yield big results. "The power of compounding is huge. Just to give you a sense -- if you invested $5,000 a year from the ages of 35 to 65, you'd have approximately half a million dollars. If you started 10 years earlier, you'd have $1.1 million."

    Davies believes it's important to make young people more financially literate and that a book like this can help achieve that goal. "One of the reasons to get in early is to actually just learn the process, to go in and see firsthand how you open a brokerage account, how you actually purchase shares."

    Several adults admitted in reviews on Amazon that they bought the book for a younger person and then decided to keep it for themselves.

    Peterson is planning on another book which will focus on socially responsible investing. The target audience will again be young people. 

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