He's a superhero and an investment hero, and he isn't Warren Buffett or Bill Gates.
I'm thinking about Iron Man.
As any fan of action movies knows, "Iron Man 3" is drawing millions of people to theaters and generating billions of dollars at the box office. But this movie presents a potential giant payoff for youngsters, too.
Here's why: Iron Man represents a teachable moment.
I use that line every chance I get, but if you're determined to teach your kids this summer about investing in the stock market and how money makes the world go round, Iron Man is your ticket.
Sparking a 13-year-old's interest in investing often comes down to finding stocks that he or she can relate to. And in this case, there are several Iron Man investment angles.
For young investors hoping to own a piece of the comic book character, consider that Walt Disney Co. controls the movie and marketing rights through its ownership of comic book creator Marvel Entertainment.
Box office receipts aside, the real opportunity for Disney and its shareholders could be through new lines of children's toys and other products that will promote the Iron Man brand long after the movie disappears from the silver screen.
Another way to invest is through movie houses. Two publicly traded movie exhibition companies are Cinemark Holdings and Regal Entertainment.
Then there are the toy companies such as Toys R Us and mass market retailers like Wal-Mart and Target. Think everything from Iron Man action figures to pajamas and T-shirts.
Then there's another piece that goes along with educating your kids about the stock market. It doesn't require a math degree to explain that investing in stocks is risky, that money can be lost and that selecting companies should be undertaken with a longer-term investment plan in mind. Point out that despite its moneymaking potential, Iron Man still represents a drop in the bucket to the bottom line for most of these companies, Disney included.
Also explain that past performance is no indication of future results -- long-term Disney shareholders remember more than once when Mickey Mouse lost his magic touch.
This would be a good time to explain how to read stock table abbreviations and to lay out what it costs to buy shares. Along those lines, there are several ways to buy stocks on the cheap. Check out online brokers such as ShareBuilder and BuyandHold, where you can also open custodial accounts to hold the stock for your minor.
In addition, buying a few shares directly from the company through sites such as DripInvestor.com is a good way to avoid commissions and keep costs down.
If Iron Man doesn't interest your young teen, "Man of Steel" is scheduled to hit theaters in mid-June. It's made by Warner Bros., which is owned by publicly traded Time Warner. And finally, Disney and Marvel have already started the buildup to this fall's release of "Thor: The Dark World."
Biff! Pow! More teachable money moments.
(Questions, comments, column ideas? Send an email to srosen(AT)kcstar.com or write to him at The Kansas City Star, 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64108.)Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun