Tony Novak profile picture
  "AskTony" column archive        


Most Popular

AskTony Archive

This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

Content is the opinion of the author and does not represent the position of any other person or entity. Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed.

The author is paid for product endorsements and has an ownership or other financial interest in the businesses related to the topics covered.

New questions

Submit consumer finance questions at and health insurance questions at

Sponsored by: Insurance Exchange - your source of valuable information on state and federal health reform benefits.

Core Health Insurance - America's favorite mini-med insurance  with affordable premiums, freedom to choose providers, optional PPO discounts and guaranteed eligibility regardless of medical conditions.

Please support the Web sites that make publication of AskTony services possible.

How to open an investment account

originally posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 2/18/2011 This post has not been recently reviewed or revised by the author and may be out of date. If you notice an error or are in doubt, please send a new question by email or ask for an update. Email

Q: My daughter has never owned investments before but she wants to buy shares in Starbucks. How can she do that?

A: If she is over 18, then she can open an investment account in her own name to buy and sell shares of stock. If under age 18, open the account as a “Uniform Gift to Minors” under your name as trustee and her name as beneficiary. Generally a $1000 minimum deposit is required to open a new investment account. The simple account application forms are completed online or by mail. In either case a mailed signature page and a deposit check is needed to open the account. Once the account is opened (usually 2-3 business days) the stock can be purchased by telephone or online. One share will cost $50 to $55 (of course varying all the time). She can buy any amount of shares that she chooses, including fractional shares. The commission for the transaction will be about $11 regardless of the number of shares. Since Starbucks has been a volatile stock lately (it moves up and down rapidly more so than many other stocks) it probably makes sense to buy on a dip in the share price. This can be done on a self-serve basis or with OnlineAdviser support. Either way, the forms for Ameritrade discount brokerage can be found at and telephone support is available through OnlineAdviser. (Any brokerage firm can be used but Ameritrade is supported by OnlineAdviser).


More resources:

resource list goes here