This paper develops and estimates a dynamic model of stock market participation, where consumers' decisions regarding stock market participation are influenced by participation costs. The practical significance of the participation costs is considered as being a channel through which financial education programs can affect consumers' investment decisions. Using household data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, I estimate the magnitude of the participation cost, allowing for individual heterogeneity in it. The results show the average stock market participation cost is about 4–6% of labor income; however, it varies substantially over consumers' life. The model successfully predicts the level of the observed participation rate and the increasing pattern of stock market participation over the consumers' life cycle.