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How To Give The Gift Of A Single Share Of Stock

This graduation season many people are stumped settling on a gift idea.  I was thinking about this the other day and remembered how popular it was when I was working as a stockbroker for clients to buy a single share of stock and gift it to a young person.  In some cases, they even went so far as to frame it.  I always thought this was a really unique idea.  It was especially popular to gift a share of stock in Walt Disney Corp as they have a terrific looking certificate design.  I heard feedback from clients that their gift of a share of stock was a big hit and I passed the idea along to other clients over the years and always got enthusiastic feedback.   


How To Buy A Single Share Of Stock

You can approach this one of two ways.  You can open up a stock account at a discount broker and enter an order for one share of the stock you want to purchase.  After the stock appears in your account, you can contact the brokerage and tell them that you want to take physical possession of the stock certificate and that you want to gift it. They will provide you some paperwork to complete to make this all happen.  It will take about 6 to 8 weeks for your stock certificate to show up in the mail.  The truth is that unless you have significant other business with a brokerage firm, they will likely be very annoyed dealing with your request.


A better option is to do this through OneShare, a company that specializes in gifts of single shares of stock.  They charge the actual market price for the share of stock plus about $39 as a service fee.   This seems like a much more feasible option than attempting to buy a single share of stock from a broker (unless you already have other business with them).  


The list of stock certificates and designs can be reviewed here.  My favorite is the Dreamworks certificate that has a head shot of Shrek on it.


One of the added benefits of using OneShare is that even though it takes a few weeks for the stock certificate to arrive, they will provide a very nice card announcing the gift of stock.  

While this gift idea might seem like a pure novelty, a couple of decades down the road a single share of stock in the right company may actually be worth a significant sum.  A single share of Microsoft sold for $21 in 1986.  With stock splits one share would now be 288 shares and be worth almost $9,000!

If you would like to actually buy stock in smaller increments on an ongoing basis for yourself or a young person, you might want to check out a site called Drip Investor.  A site like this is for those that want to really accumulate a large position in a stock but through small incremental monthly investing.  This is the method that small investment clubs many times start with.


Savings Bonds Are Just Not As Interesting And They Earn Virtually Nothing

I have received savings bonds as gifts when I was a young person but I don't know of any young person that knows much about finances that will think much of your gift.  The earning rate on government savings bonds is .60% (less than 1 percent interest per year!).

Final Thoughts

A child under the age of 18 can not own stock in their name solely, but One Share will assist by registering the share in their name with the name of an adult custodian.  Once they are 18 they can register the share in just their own name.

Helping you make the most of God’s money!

James L. Paris
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