Your dad loves to roam the electronics section at Costco (COST). Your mom raves about T.J. Maxx (TJX). Rather than buying them gifts from those stores, give a share in the company itself.
It’s easy to buy a single stock online. And even if the market doesn’t inspire confidence, plenty of individual companies are going strong.
- Pick it. Find the company’s ticker symbol on Google, and then run it through a stock-research website like Yahoo Finance or MSN Money. Important: Check news articles about company performance; a comparison against competitors to see if it’s a leader or laggard; and whether Wall Street analysts generally rate it a thumbs-up buy or forget-it sell.
- Buy it. We like ShareBuilder, which charges a low $4 commission. No minimum balance or purchase amount is required. While you must buy stock in your name first, it’s easy to transfer shares to someone else (or open a custodial account for your kids).
Give it. Paper certificates are passé in online stock trading, but you can put the e-receipt in a company-logo’d gift box or shopping bag (if you can get one at the mall). Either way, your gift of future profits will shine far more than another tube of body lotion. Go for growth. Does giving stock seem smart or silly? Photo Source: boopsie.daisy's photostream on Flickr