Since the end of December 2018, Colin Flynn, 11, has invested $420 in Nintendo, Tesla, Apple, Starbucks, Boeing, Chipotle, Nike, Uber, Amazon and Google stocks.
Flynn, who lives with his parents and older sister in Woodbury, New Jersey, saved up the money by doing chores around his house and including "money to invest" on his Christmas wish list, says his mother, Kerri Sullivan.
"For Christmas of 2018, Colin requested money to buy stocks, which is where the majority of the funds came from," Sullivan tells CNBC Make It. "It was pretty much the only thing he asked for that year."
In 2019, the S&P was up 28.88% with a total return of 31.49%, which means Flynn's rate of return was pretty spot-on with the market. If he were to continue investing $420 each year with the same rate of return (28.37%), he'd have over $400 million by the time he reaches retirement age, at 59½, according to CNBC calculations.
Of course, it's not likely the market will consistently deliver such high rates of return. But even if his rate of return was just 10% (which is the average yearly return for the S&P since 1926), Flynn would still have $518,303 by the time he's 59½.
Given that just 55% of Americans report owning stock, according to Gallup, and just 23% of millennials (ages 18 to 37) feel that the stock market is the best place to invest money that they won't need for 10 years or more, Flynn's early start makes him somewhat of an anomaly.
His decision to invest was first inspired by a family vacation to Disneyland in Paris. "Flynn saw a statue of Walt Disney and asked me about it. Somehow, it lead to a lead to a conversation about Disney being a publicly traded company, which lead to a follow-up discussion about the stock market," Sullivan says.
She adds: "From there, Flynn and I researched the stock market and investing, and we found answers to his many, many questions. His interest piqued, the conversations continued, which lead to him adding 'money to invest in the stock market' to his Christmas wish list."
In the future, Colin, who his mother says has "always had an affinity to math, numbers and money," wants to make more investments, but he's doing careful research before he does.
If, like Colin, you're looking to invest for the first time, there are a couple of different strategies you can take. For those just starting out, expert investors, like Warren Buffett, often suggest you start with index funds, which hold every stock in an index, meaning they're automatically diversified and tend to be low-cost. Plus, because they fluctuate with the market, they're typically less risky than picking individual stocks.
Like this story? Subscribe to CNBC Make It on YouTube!