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How to invest for your children in 2024?

Baptiste Wicht | Updated: |

(Disclosure: Some of the links below may be affiliate links)

Even before my son was born, I knew I would invest for my children. Investing for your children is a great idea, and it makes a lot more sense than letting money rest in a bank account with very low interest rates.

However, until recently, I never worried about how to achieve that. Once my son was born, it was time to research the best way to invest for my children! And I found a great way to do so.

In this article, I share how you can invest for your children and what I will do for mine.

Why invest for your children?

First, you may wonder why invest for your children in the first place. That is a good question.

Most parents will gift some money over time to their children and then give it to them once they reach their majority (or any other specific age). In most cases, this money will end up in a bank account. The problem with that is that bank accounts have little to no returns. So, the money will slowly lose its value due to inflation.

The same reasons to invest that apply to you also apply to your children. We want to increase returns and avoid losing value to inflation.

Another reason to invest for my children is to teach them the value of investing. It may be naive, but I hope to teach my children how to handle their money properly. I will tell you in 20 years how it went!

I also plan to have a bank account for my children. In this bank account, I will deposit whatever he receives as gifts. I also prefer this to be separated.

Remember that you must pay net worth taxes on these assets as long as your children do not pay taxes. So, this is not a way to reduce your net worth taxes!

Decide on what to invest for your children

First, you must decide what you want to invest for your children. In this article, I am assuming you want to invest in stocks. But this technique would work with anything available on the stock market, including funds with real estate, crypto, or gold.

If you are thinking of investing for your children, you are likely to have a portfolio yourself. So, you could replicate your portfolio for your children.

Personally, our portfolio is very simple. It has only two ETFs:

  • 80% Vanguard Total World (VT) – An ETF investing worldwide.
  • 20% iShares Core SPI (CHSPI) – An ETF investing in Switzerland.

And I could replicate that for my children. However, I have decided to simplify it and invest in VT. I may change this in the future and switch some to CHSPI (or others) as my children get closer to their majority, but for now, I feel comfortable with only VT. Using a single ETF will also make it much cheaper since buying on American stock exchanges is more than ten times more affordable than buying on the Swiss stock exchange.

If you do not know where to start, check out my guide on setting up a portfolio from scratch. But you should try to make it as simple as possible.

The best way to invest for your children

After some research, I have found the best way to invest for my children.

First, I wanted an account in their name, which was impractical since it would significantly limit access to the stock market and good services. So, in the end, the account will be in my name. But this does not matter since I will gift that account once my child is major. And in any case, even if the money is in your child’s name, you are responsible for it until their majority.

The second thing I wanted was for their account to be entirely separated from mine. I did not want to see their shares in my investment account. This separation is crucial because I can separate my net worth from theirs. And it will also show the performance of each portfolio since they will be slightly different.

Third, I needed something where I could start with little money. I do not want to start with 2000 CHF or more just to fit the minimum of some services.

Finally, I wanted something cheap and efficient. That meant investing in index ETFs with low transaction fees for buying.

With all these points, I found only one good investment solution for my children. I will use a separate Interactive Brokers account for each of my children.

This solution is straightforward. You can manage the accounts directly from the same interface on Interactive Brokers. You only have one login. All the accounts are linked together. But they are separated, so each has shares and cash, each with its configuration.

This solution is very cheap since Interactive Brokers is the cheapest broker for Swiss investors. In 2021, Interactive Brokers removed the custody fees below 120’000 USD. So, you can have several accounts with little money and pay no fee. All the accounts are in my name, but this should change nothing.

So, in the rest of this article, I will detail how to invest for your children with Interactive Brokers.

Create a second Interactive Brokers account

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This article assumes that you are already using Interactive Brokers. As such, we will create a second IB account linked to your main account. If you do not have an IB account, I have a guide on creating an IB account and starting investing.

Creating a second account at IB to invest for your children is relatively easy. You will see a button to open an additional account if you go into your account settings. This button will start creating an account automatically linked to your current account. It means you will have only a single login but two accounts behind it.

New account on IB to invest for your children
New account on IB to invest for your children

In the next step, you must select whether you want an individual or a joint account. I recommend you create an account similar to your main account.

Choose the account type
Choose the account type

Then, you must select whether you want a cash or margin account. It would be best if you were unlikely to use leverage with your children’s money, so you probably want to use a cash account here.

After this, you will have to choose which permissions you want. These permissions will decide which stock exchange you can access. This will be the same as your main account and should be fine already.

Then, you will have to check all the agreements and review all the information you have entered. Once you verify this information is correct, you can sign with your name and finish the application.

They will finally ask you why you asked for this account. I answered truthfully, and there did not seem to be any problem.

Then, this will be up to the approval team to approve or deny your account. I honestly do not know what criteria they are using to do so. In my case, getting the new account approved took one working day.

Finalize the new account

Once IB approves your new account, you can view both in Interactive Brokers’ web interfaces. For instance, when you view your portfolio, you can choose between your accounts.

You need to wire money directly to the new account at least once. After this, you can do internal transfers between your accounts. The first deposit is to validate the newly created account.

Once the first deposit is validated, you can access the new internal funds transfer feature in Interactive Brokers. With that feature, you can transfer funds from one account to another. And you can also transfer positions from account to account.

The new option for internal funds transfers
The new option for internal funds transfers

Invest in the new account

You have several ways to invest for your children with this account. And each way has advantages and disadvantages.

The first way is to transfer money monthly, convert it (if necessary), and buy shares in the second account. This technique is fairly simple. But it means doing two transfers (one to your main account and one to your children’s account). And it is also expensive.

You will pay 2 CHF per conversion if you convert CHF to USD. And then, you will pay 0.35 USD to buy a share of a USD ETF. If we take one monthly share of VT, that’s currently about a 2.5% fee on buying shares. This price is high. It becomes an acceptable price if you do not have to convert currency.

If you buy ten shares of VT, that is acceptable. But most parents will not invest that much every month. You could decide to invest less regularly, but that is a bad option since investing often is better.

The second way is to transfer funds from your main account. That way, you can do conversions and transfer some converted cash to your children’s accounts. And then, you can buy shares from there. You will only pay about 0.35 USD per investment.

Finally, you could simply transfer shares from your main portfolio into your children’s account. That way, you can buy shares and transfer some of these to the second account. This is the cheapest way to do it.

Even though it is not the optimal way, I will use the second option. I want to keep track of each operation in the children’s account to know how much I paid for shares. This technique will cost 0.35 USD in extra fees each month, but that is something I can live with.


Remember that this technique to invest for your children does not work if you have several IB accounts with the same email address. In that case, you will not even see the button to add a new account.

In this case, you have two options:

  1. Delete the other accounts.
  2. Change your email in your other accounts so that your main account is the only one with this email.

This issue happened because I had an investart account with the same email address for testing. And Investart is using IB accounts to invest in your name. Once I cleared this out, I could create a new account.

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Robo-advisors offer a decent alternative to IB if you do not want to use a foreign broker. There are two good robo-advisors with this feature in Switzerland:

  • True Wealth will invest in general-purpose ETFs
  • Inyova will invest in highly sustainable companies

Both robo-advisors offer a similar principle for your children. You can open an extra account in your child’s name, which will be invested like a standard account. Once your children reach 18, the account will be transferred to their name.

There is one significant advantage to this technique! At 18, the transfer will be done entirely internally without any fees. The shares will not be sold, and you will be left with precisely what was on the account. This is a sound system!

If you are worried about using a foreign broker, Swiss robo-advisors will offer an excellent alternative.


There you have it! A second Interactive Brokers account is a great way to invest for your children. This solution is very cheap, very simple, and very complete.

I use this technique to buy one share of VT every month until I give this account to my son once he is 18. If I have other children, I will then open yet another account.

There are probably other ways to invest for your children. Unfortunately, this is the best way I have found. All other brokers have strong disadvantages, either in costs or efficiency (or both!).

If you are not interested in using a foreign broker, opt for a Swiss Robo-advisor like Inyova or True Wealth.

If you do not already, I recommend investing for you before investing for your children. To help you, I have a guide on how to get started investing in the stock market.

What about you? Do you invest for your children? How?

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Photo of Baptiste Wicht

Baptiste Wicht started in 2017. He realized that he was falling into the trap of lifestyle inflation. He decided to cut his expenses and increase his income. This blog is relating his story and findings. In 2019, he is saving more than 50% of his income. He made it a goal to reach Financial Independence. You can send Mr. The Poor Swiss a message here.

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91 thoughts on “How to invest for your children in 2024?”

  1. Thank you for this post. I unfortunately put some of my child’s savings into a compte jeunesse at BCV and now they won’t release the funds until they are 18 if I want to invest it on their behalf. Do you have any tips on getting the funds out of that account?

    1. That’s a good question. I don’t know how you can get this money out. I think that if you were to close your banking relation with BCV, you should be able to take it out since you still have legal rights over your son. But I have never been faced with such solution.

  2. I just did this as my first son was born in June. Very easy to open a second individual account (in my name), and transfer internally in USD to buy 1 share of VT per month for them.
    The TrueWealth option looks interesting but I am not yet sure 18 is the right age to transfer the funds (which I expect to be significant by then!), so this option is what works best for us right now and gives us control and flexibility on how we want to transfer the money in the future.

  3. Hi Baptiste,
    Thanks for the post very useful. I have my ibkr account set and was trying to open for my child but doesnt allow me as is minor. d oyou have to do everything on your name? you can not put him as holder? Thanks!

    1. Hi Ismael,

      Unfortunately, you indeed cannot put the secondary account in the name of a minor. In my case, the two accounts are in my name. And I will gift the acount probably with a share transfer when my son is of age.

      1. Thanks for the quick reply. I saw some screenshots on how to do it and it might be that US residents have options that from outside we dont have. I will proceed same way, although I am a bit concern as some countries have taxes on “gifts”/transfers. Need to learn a bit more about it. Regards

  4. Hi Baptiste. Gah, I didn‘t read your post properly and ended up transferring some shares to my kids‘ new IBKR account instead of buying from within it. Yes, now the cost basis is zero, so I can‘t track the performance growth properly. Hate to see this, but I guess there is no solution?

      1. Hi, after a week or so (probably longer), the cost basis of the stock I transferred, showed up properly on my kid’s account. IBKR just needed some time to update all the details I guess.

        I found that I prefer to buy separately from each account to net get mixed up. For the kid‘s account, I just buy every few months to make the purchase worth the transactional cost. I have to check, but I think recurring investments that automatically convert money also have lower rates than the USD 2 min for low amounts.

      2. Hi Suri,

        Thanks for sharing! When transferring shares from my sole account to our joint account, I also found that the cost basis took a few days to show up. It’s probably the same issue!

        Yes, I also prefer to separate, but I don’t automate. I just transfer USD from my main account to my son’s account and then buy shares on both sides.

        I would be interested to know if you find out about the costs for automated conversions.

  5. Is it not better to open a « Family Account Structure » @ IB ?
    If someone already has it, could he please share

    1. It may be, but it’s almost complicated because it involves having an advisory account and then standard accounts that are managed by the advisor. It feels too complicated for my taste :)

  6. Would an accumulating ETF make more sense if I don’t plan tot touch my kids’ money until they’re probably in their 20s?

  7. Hey Baptiste

    I did the same starting with the birth of my son thanks to you! Since it’s the first time I’m declaring taxes now that he’s here did you add the two accounts seperatly even though you might have the same positions in it? Or did you combine them when declaring taxes?

    My account only has VT, his has only VT.

    1. Hi Goran,

      I have added all operations on VT. They cannot be separated properly on the tax declaration but it does not matter since you are liable for taxes on both.

  8. Hi Baptiste,

    you said “The first way is simply to transfer money each month, convert it (if necessary), and then buy shares in the second account. This technique is fairly simple. But it means doing two transfers (one to your main account and one to your children’s account). And it is also expensive.”

    why are the transfers expensive? as far as I know when I transfer CHF into IB (bank in europe) and I don’t see any fees, am I missing something? Or you were talking only about the 2usd conversion fee?

    Thank you

  9. Hi Baptiste,

    Thans for the good instructions! Will be opening an account for our new baby in IB as well.
    I was thinking however instead of buying eg 1 VT I would buy VT with 100 usd every month. And maybe increase the monthly amount over the years a bit. Do you see some disadvantages with this approach?

    Also are you taking into account the price appreciation over the years? If we expect like 5% yearly returns with investments that would mean that also VT price goes up. So for example in 15 years from current ~90usd value the price should go up to be around ~190usd with 5% yearly returns.

    1. Hi Pasi,

      I think 100 USD is perfectly fine as a strategy. There is no disadvantage that I see over my strategy.
      The way I am taking this into account is that I expect my contributions to increase over time. So, in 15 years, I may be buying for 200 USD of VT each month instead of about 100 USD these days. But I am fine with that.

  10. Hi Mr. Poor Swiss,
    Thank you for this post, very informative.
    I have opened my IB account and will start investing very soon. Once my portfolio is setup, my next step will be to start investing for my children. You said here that you opened a sub-account on IB, do you know whether it is possible to have two sub-accounts, namely one for each of my children?

    1. Hi Lizrell,

      I believe it’s possible. The rules are not very clear on what they will allow, but it seems you can always request more accounts. But each account is subject to verification, so I am not sure you can know in advance.

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