Best way to invest for kids (both your own and others)

What is the best way to buy something for an ongoing investment for children you don’t have things like SSN for (and also when you do)? When I looked this up on clark, there was an old article referring to Stockpile, but apparently they now have a 4.95 monthly fee. This seems pretty exorbitant and only covers 4 kids (so won’t work for large families, grandparents, friends, etc…) I want to buy yearly birthday presents for my young kids, my grandkids, and some friends’ children - but not sure the best way to do this. My kids I have the SSN, but not always for the other groups.

Thanks in advance!

What are you intending they use the money for when they turn into adults? What’s the goal?

How about contributing to a 529? One possible issue with investment accounts is when they turn 18 they can do whatever they want with the money whether you approve or not. At least with a 529 they basically have to use it for school. Good if you think they’ll be going to college.

Unless you’re giving them a ton of money, giving a check or cash to friends’ kids is probably the way to go. Let your friends figure out where to put it for their kids. If you are giving them a ton of money, you may want to set up a trust. But if you think a $4.95 monthly fee is exorbitant, I’m guessing you’re closer to the “cash or check” end of the spectrum.

A 529 is good for your kids and grandkids if you already have your retirement fully funded.

This is in addition to a 529. I did it for my nieces and nephews when they were young and it was a cool way for them to learn about investing. It was a direct stock I put money in every month for a few years and it actually did quite well.
That was 20 years ago and the ways you did those things were different.

Its for them to get interested in investing at a young age and have ownership in something. In addition to the 529 in some cases.
4.95 a month is a subscription fee in addition to other fees the service charges. When Clark recommend it, the subscription fee didnt exist, and Im guessing he wouldnt recommend it now. Was seeing if anyone knew of anything else and if you need a ssn for a custodial account. If so, wanted to know of there are other investment options anyone was aware of.