Consumer Reports: Purchasing stocks as holiday gifts

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Want to give a child a holiday gift that keeps on giving? Here's an idea: Stock. (WPVI)

Want to give a child a holiday gift that keeps on giving? Here's an idea: Stock.

You used to have to go to a broker, but now buying shares is as easy as buying a gift card. And for young people, stock gifts can offer life long benefits.

Nick Irons' nephew Jacob loves Six Flags Great Adventure, so two years ago he bought him stock for Christmas.

"When I told him this is worth x number of dollars and it's going to grow every year, he was pretty happy" he said.

Most kids might not be begging for stock gifts under the tree but what if they could own part of the company of one of their favorite things in the world?

"Not only is it relatable, it's like an easy-to-digest economics lesson. By following how a company is doing over time, young people learn about savings and investing," said Tobie Stanger, Money Editor at Consumer Reports.

And now you can buy stock or fractions of stock without going to a stockbroker.

"Stockpile" offers e-gift cards online and plastic gift cards at outlets like Kmart, Office Depot and Toys"R"Us.

They come in hundreds of choices and cost the face value of the gift you want to give - anywhere from $1 dollar to $1,00 dollars, plus a nominal fee.

And for kid appeal, you can even buy stock directly from companies like Disney and Harley Davidson.

"Children can own stock, but until they're 18 an adult has to responsible for opening and managing a custodial account for them," said Stanger.

But they'll be able to log in with their own credentials to see how their holdings are doing. And even trade with the adult's approval.

Jacob says he has learned a lot.

"You can use that money in the stock market to make more money," he said.

"It's made 18-19 percent each year, so I'll take that," said Nick.

Of course, you can also give old fashioned paper stocks as a gift, but Consumer Reports says be aware you'll need a broker to sell the shares which could result in additional fees.
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