Illinois teen purchases Tesla after investing in index funds, stocks

A teen from Illinois is speaking out on the importance of early investing after she said smart financial choices allowed her to purchase her first car, a Tesla, at just 17 years old.

Sophia Castiblanco, now a junior in high school, started making money as a social media influencer at age 14, mostly producing lifestyle content like self-care tutorials showcasing her favorite products and purchases.

“I primarily generate income from TikTok brand deals and YouTube ad revenue,” Castiblanco told USA TODAY this week.

Upon witnessing her success, Castiblanco’s parents encouraged her to invest in Vanguard and Berkshire Hathaway index funds to start building long-term wealth. The teen also chose a couple of her favorite companies to purchase stock in. First, it was Tesla and Apple. “I’ve also invested in Amazon and NU,” Castiblanco shared.

That investing has really paid off: Castiblanco said she has earned over 6-figures in returns.

Here’s her advice for teens wanting to invest.

Investing advice for teens

“My content area revolves around lifestyle, focusing on sharing insights into my daily life as a homeschooled teen creator,” Castiblanco told USA TODAY.

Though most of her vlogs center around beauty and shopping, Castiblanco also produces content for teens wanting to learn investing.

“There is no minimum age to start investing,” she said, adding that investing even a little at a time will add to long-term success.

Castiblanco advises teens to open custodial accounts under a parent’s name. In her TikTok videos, she goes over which index funds to start with and also things like choosing a broker and which stocks to buy.

As for where to start, “investing in index funds diversifies your risk and gives you a more balanced portfolio,” she shared with her audience of over 383,000 followers.

As for purchasing stocks? “It’s a long-term game,” Castiblanco shared.

“You’re investing in your future. Remember to be patient. Let your investments grow over time.”

Never too young to save for retirement: Why a custodial Roth IRA may make sense.

The young investor’s future plans

When asked about her future plans, Castiblanco shared that she is focused on content creating in the lifestyle space and will continue investing as she continues to earn.

“My goals also include venturing into real estate investing and starting my own business this year,” she said.

The publicity around her success has been “a positive experience,” Castiblanco shared. Though there are privacy concerns as she continues to grow, the teen said she is “grateful for the supportive community [she’s] built online.

“I’ve enjoyed being able to inspire other teens to invest and pursue their dreams.”

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