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The travails of setting up my son's investment account

Longer than expected, but it's finally done

By Sudhir SahayPublished 2 years ago 5 min read
The travails of setting up my son's investment account
Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

“We will need you and your wife to come in to the office and sign those forms in front of us.” Those were the dreaded words I heard this past week as I spoke to the customer relationship manager at the investment firm where we’ve set up my younger son’s securities account. When I asked what hours they were open, the answer was Monday-Friday from 9-5. Of course, these are just those times when normal people are busy working and when my son is at school and after-school activities. How frustrating!!!

For those of you who have been reading my posts aimed at building financial literacy for young adults, my son and I started the process of setting up his securities account almost two months ago. At that time, I was so excited that I had finally gotten through to him after repeated attempts at telling my kids about the importance of investing, in particular getting started early. He had let me know that he was ready to start investing and had even joined an investing-focused club at school to learn from older students. Following some direction from my wife and me, he had done all the research to determine which firm he wanted to use and had presented that for approval to the two of us.

I clearly remember the Saturday afternoon in early September when we got started. The prior week, after we had agreed which firm he’d like to use for his account, we had researched all the paperwork that would be needed to set it up. Saturday afternoon, we pulled together all that material to make the actual setup process smooth. While the application was very easy to fill out -- and our preparation had helped make it a lot easier -- it did take a long time as there was a very large amount of paperwork that they asked us to confirm that we’d read. I was actually very proud of my son who tried reading each page of all the documentation, although I must admit that it got to be too much when we hit the 46-page youth account “customer relationship summary”. After multiple hours, we hit submit on the application! The next steps were for the investment company to go through all the paperwork and then send my son an invitation to install their app and finish setting up the account. The message we got said it would take about 5 business days for their review.

A week passed and nothing happened. I starting asking my son if he’d gotten any emails and he said no. Another week later, I followed up with a phone call and their representative said that their system said they’d sent an email to my son (which he had definitely not received as we checked his inbox, spam and junk accounts). Instead of waiting for another email, we did the next steps on the phone with the representative. However, when I tried to link my wife’s and my account to it to transfer over his $200, it wouldn’t work. The agent said that their system has a 1 business-day lag between finalizing a youth account and linking a parent’s account but he was able to manually move the money over to get my son started. He did ask that we check after a day or two if we could link accounts. So, finally, we had an account with money in it for my son to start using.

Several days later, I tried linking my account to his, but it still wouldn’t work. I sent a note through their internal system asking for help with the issue and got a call back a day later where another representative said that we couldn’t link accounts without some paperwork that had to be signed in front of the company’s representatives. I don’t know when we’ll be able to get to that as their offices are about an hour away and, as you saw in today’s opening paragraph, they are only open at times that don’t work for my wife and me. So, it’s been a pretty frustrating process.

For those of you who’ve read all the way to this point in today’s post, I recognize that it’s been drier than my previous ones. Still I hope that there are lessons you can take from my son’s experience which will be helpful if you try to set up a young adult account:

  • Get started as soon as you can. The process will inevitably take longer than you anticipate and there will be hiccups along the way
  • Prepare for the process by researching and pulling together necessary paperwork prior to starting the application. There will be a lot that they need and you don’t want to have to run around finding and scanning that material while doing the application
  • Make sure to follow up if you don’t get a response. Investment firms’ processes are prone to mistakes so you need to stay on top of them
  • Most importantly, stay calm and take a deep breath. While it can be very frustrating, the goal is to get the account set up and, as long as that happens, you’ve reached that goal

In my next post I will write about some of the basic investments that we would recommend for a young person starting on their investment journey. These will be the same ones that I’ll be mentioning to my son as he is currently thinking through investments he’d like to make with his $200.

Thank you again for joining me on my journey to build financial literacy for young adults. If there are any topics you’re interested in my writing about, please let me know. I can be reached at [email protected].


About the Creator

Sudhir Sahay

Sudhir Sahay is a Sales and Marketing executive and a father of two young men. Sudhir hopes to share his journey building basic financial literacy for his children and providing savings and investing advice to their friends and peers.

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