10 Financial Ideas to Keep you Sane during an Insane Time –

#2 – Consider Gifting Stock

I’m often asked how I got involved in the investment world. While I was fortunate to come from a family participating on Wall Street for over 100 years, the fact of the matter is that my love for stocks came at around the age of 9 or 10 when I received my first share of McDonald’s stock. This was in the mid-1980s and while McDonald’s had already been around for about 30 years, they weren’t on every street corner like they are today. I don’t recall them having the drive-through so they definitely were not a dietary staple among households. In fact, I recall going to McDonald’s for special occasions only; maybe after a game as a reward, for something special I did in school or when my mother and I would sneak Happy Meals into the nearby movie theater – a particularly special memory of mine. Nonetheless, it was a company that held a bit of nostalgia, and it was only fitting that my parents, for my birthday or Christmas one year, decided to give me a few shares hoping to spark an interest in the investment world. It worked.

At the time, when they would issue their annual report, McDonald’s included a coupon for a hamburger. To me, this was much more than a free lunch. Rather, it was my ticket to prove my ownership and allegiance to this growing company. As any 9-year old shareholder would do when I received my coupon, I couldn’t wait to head into the local store and have a chat with management. I would walk into the restaurant and look around just as if I was Ray Kroc himself. I would ask to speak with the general manager and promptly inform him that I was a shareholder and was curious how business was going. At that time, the shift manager wasn’t a 16- year old kid but rather an adult who actually appeased me with dialog concerning the franchise and the company itself. The experience kicked off a lifelong obsession with the investment world.

Today, I’m pursuing the same path with my children as I invest for them in index mutual funds and they own shares in companies, like Intel and Tesla, as well. Tesla, in particular, is a great educational tool. Each time we see one of the cool cars on the road their interest is sparked and we have the opportunity to chat about owning a piece of the company. The conversation usually goes something like this:

“Do you see that car right there?”
“That car runs on 100% battery, not on gasoline.”
“Really? That’s cool. Look at those door handles. Do they pop out?”
I Chuckle, “Yes they pop out when you unlock the car. That company is called Tesla, and you own a piece of that company.”
“I do? How?”
“Because we bought some of the company’s stock for you, which means you are a shareholder or an owner.”

Initially the conversation ended right there and still does for my 6-year old; however, over the years my 9-year old started asking more questions about what stocks were, how they were issued, etc. This sparked a greater conversation and has led to him to ask, on occasion, how Tesla and others are doing and whether they’re making any money. Trust me, they catch on quickly.

I’m so passionate about this educational process that, within Tatro Capital, we always allow our clients to open accounts and buy individual stocks for minors for no fee at all. The commission from our custodian is $5.00 whether you buy 1 share or 100; so, it is an extremely affordable way to become a stock owner.

This Christmas, if you are struggling with what to tell grandparents, aunts, uncles or anyone else what to get your kiddos; or, if you’re just looking for something unique since you’ve saved so much money following our previous tip, consider giving the gift of investment education. If it sticks, it is something that could certainly change their lives.