It all started 24 years ago, at the malleable age of nine. On a typical summer’s day, I could be found outside playing any number of sports - football, basketball, roller hockey, you name it. I loved the outdoors and I loved being active. Although I enjoyed playing all sports one of my favorite things to do was to just go into my parents’ backyard and hit golf balls. When friends would come over I’d tell them to bring their clubs and we’d spend hours out there. Using our imaginations, we would design 18-hole golf courses right in the backyard! Sure, there was only one hole in the middle of the yard, and we simply had different starting points for each hole, but we still had a blast.
When I wasn’t outside in the yard I was typically doing chores for my parents. Although I tried to save any money (allowance) that I earned I really didn’t know much about what to do with savings. Back then my main source of investing was buying packs of sports cards and hope to find a good rookie card. Perhaps in 50 years if the player reached the hall of fame I could sell it for a large sum. My parents had told me on numerous occasions that collecting sports cards was a great hobby, but I really shouldn’t rely on it to generate income in the future. Multiple times they tried to tell me this but I never learned, instead I simply would nod my head and then ask them to drive me to buy some sports cards.
For Christmas that year my parents thought to take a different approach. That year they purchased me four shares of Callaway stock, stock certificate and all. At first I really wasn’t sure what I had just received. A piece of paper? Neat. When they explained to me what I had received though I couldn’t believe it. I OWNED a portion of a company. And not just any company – but Callaway, THE golf company. Players on television would use clubs produced by the company that I owned a portion of. On road-trips we would pass billboards advertising the company, the company that I was a co-owner of. This was amazing. If I could own a portion of Callaway what else could I own? The options were endless. I became enthralled in investing and tried to learn more about the subject however I could.
Recently I came across a new company called Stockpile that is offering investors a new way to purchase stock. Stockpile offers a way to give stock as gifts to other people and they also offer investing options for people with limited funds. When I heard about this I immediately thought back to when I had received stock as a kid and I had to do some research. How fun would it be to give my niece a gift card on her birthday for stock in Disney?! Maybe afterwards when she was watching the movie Frozen she could think to herself that she is a part owner of the company that helped create the movie. After doing some due diligence it appears that Stockpile is a great way to gift stock to children and pique their interest regarding investing and the markets.
So, what all can you do at Stockpile? The below is an except taken directly from the company’s website:
Stockpile makes it easy and affordable to buy stock for yourself, or give gifts of stock to family or friends. We have nearly a thousand different stocks, ETFs, and ADRs to choose from, and you can buy or give the exact dollar amount you want using fractional shares. For example, if Amazon is trading at $800 per share, you don’t need to come up with $800 to get started. You can spend $80 to buy 0.1 shares of Amazon.
If you want to give a gift of stock, you can give a physical gift card or an e-gift. We carry both kinds because sometimes you want to have something you can put in a birthday card or Christmas stocking. Other times, you need to send a gift instantly or to someone who's far away, and an e-gift is perfect.
In doing my research on Stockpile I was impressed at which companies (and how many) were offered. Most big-name companies are available, including Nike, Google, Netflix, Ford, and Tesla. Have a nephew that can’t wait to grow up and be a pilot? Consider gifting him a small amount of stock in Boeing. Not sure what to get your granddaughter for her birthday as all she wants to do is facetime her friends? Consider purchasing her stock in the company that makes those iPhones, Apple. I have seen some reviews mention that the fees/commissions are high. In fact, the commission is only 99 cents to buy or sell any amount of stock for yourself. This is a lot lower than the $4.95 you’d pay at a traditional online brokerage like Fidelity or Schwab. If you want to give someone a gift, you can’t even do that at a traditional brokerage. At Stockpile, it’s $2.99 for the first stock, 99 cents for each additional stock, and 3% to cover the credit/debit card fee. The intent is to reach a niche market and, within that market, the benefits can drastically outweigh the costs of doing business. Thinking back to my own experience, I’m willing to bet that even if the commissions were twice as much that my parents would have still purchased me the stock. They weren’t hoping that I’d get rich in the future from the four shares that were acquired. Instead they wanted to give me a gift that would teach me about investing in a fun manner.
Just recently I spoke to my parents about that wonderful Christmas gift. I asked them about the stock and if they had to pay any sort of commission. They told me the commission was about 20% of the stock price. In other words, investing in the early 90s was very expensive if shares weren’t purchased in large quantities. Their hopes, however, were that I would gain an interest in investing and that it would give me a little bit of knowledge about the world of business and investments.
Interested in gifting stock in a company to someone special? Use this link to open your account and receive $5 of stock in the company of your choice. Opening an account takes only a few minutes of your time, but could result in a lifetime of investing excitement. Who knows, maybe the recipient of your gift will be reminiscing about it 24 years later.