My 17-year-old son recently decided that he should invest in the stock market. He’s been working since age 14 in our little family business. I was surprised he was thinking of investing at his age, but he told me he has a friend who already had a portfolio going. I told him I wish I’d had the discipline to do that instead of running out and shopping every time I made a little money at his age. He first needed to know how to get started, so we gave him the name of someone who is with Merrill Lynch. He called Mr. Gray and explained he’d been working and wanted to invest a large portion of what he’d made. I was very impressed with what I learned about Merrill Lynch and what they offer. There is an Advisory Program that includes personal advice and ongoing review of your portfolio. They encourage a face-to-face meeting for this annually. They are of the mindset that most of us should diversify our investments, so he explained what that means to my son. He then talked about alternate investments, such as private equity, hedge funds and annuities. I am certain other companies offer the same services and expertise but I was impressed at how they responded to a 17-year-old boy who was not bringing a huge sum to the table. I think it would be a good idea to encourage all kids to invest and not just save. I really wish I had thought of it!