What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
With rendition switcher


Question: When should people start to invest?


Carrie Schwab: I have teenage boys. I started investing with them, when they were twelve years old. So, ideally the best time is when they are teenagers.

I am big believer that those people who have been exposed to investing in an early age are going to be much more comfortable with the whole process as adults.

Ideally parents start teaching their kids when they are teenagers. Open up a custodian brokerage account. Help them choose stocks and mutual funds and watch them; to be a part of the process.

But that is not always the case, because what we found from our studies is that so many adults are not equipped to make sound financial decisions. Their parents didn’t talk about it, their schools didn’t teach them. And so they are not in a position to teach their own kids.

So the second best place to start investing, is when you become in the workforce. When you are 22 years old and you work for the corporation that offers a 401K. In fact, our studies show that that’s really when people begin to learn to invest, but then it is up to the corporation to provide financial education, literacy and encourage their employees to take advantage of this retirement vehicle.


Question: What approach should young people take towards investing?


Carrie Schwab: Because young people have more time to weather the ups and downs of the stock market, they are in a much better position to take on more risk. With little more risk, get a little more reward. And that would be a reason to take on more risk.

But again it really depend on how much you can stomach it. Can you sleep at night when there are bigger dips in the market. Because if you do have a bigger percentage of stocks in your portfolio, and we have a big down market, that your portfolio is going to react more so than say if you had less stock and more bonds.

But again, over the long term, history shows that if you take on a little more risk, you are going to get more return. But keep in mind there is a sweet spot, where if you take on a little bit too much risk, you are not going to get that much more return.

Consider at the very least, I am going to say for a young person in their 20s, I would say, and again it is very personal, at least 80% in a diversified stock portfolio for their retirement accoun, or for those account that they know they are not going to touch, and they are going to build upon over, say, the next 40 years.


Recorded on: March 27, 2008


When should people start to...

Newsletter: Share: