The best investment I can imagine for a young
person
is the gift of love, the gift of self esteem and
the gift of acceptance.  I can recall receiving some of
each from various teachers over the years as I am
sure you can as well.

As far as investments go besides engaging in
whatever employee benefit plan the young person
may have at work(some corporate plans involve
matching benefits!!) my suggestion is to consider a
Roth IRA.

The
Roth IRA has a major advantage of offering tax
deferred growth and under most situations tax free
withdrawal.  This is a trade off from the tax deduction
the Traditional IRA offers but my vote is with the
Roth.  Some do consider a conversion from a
Traditional to a Roth but have to "cash out" the IRA
and pay taxes.  One has to consider the amount of
time necessary to recoupe from the tax paid to
determine if there is any advantage here.

Another fine investment for young people is for the
family to
help the son or daughter buy their first
home
.  There are many benefits to this and when
possible I encourage clients to do this.