Don't even think about Zhu Zhu hunting until you've considered giving stocks this year.
This holiday season, you’ll probably be buying a gift for at least one child. And while a Zhu Zhu might sound like a lot of fun (robotic hamster… who can resist?), it’ll probably be lining the closet floor this time next year. So while it may not be the most requested gift, a few shares of stock will certainly may quite potentially be around longer than the average Furby.
But stocks aren’t as fun as robots
Of course not. But a stock is an investment in the future and unless you’re Honda, robots aren’t. Besides, stocks can always be made to sound fun… How about a share of Disney (DIS)? As of writing this, they’re trading for about $30, and you’ll have a great chance to explain investing when you tell the child they now OWN a part of their favorite company. Disney not quite right? Microsoft (MSFT) makes the XBOX, Sony (SNE) makes the Playstation and Nintendo (NTDOY) makes the Wii. There’s no shortage of publicly traded companies pushing products on children and with the market pretty far down, all should make great long-term investments.
And you can’t put a stock under the tree
Nowadays, stocks are completely electronic, which can take some of the fun out of gift wrapping. But while you can’t give a real stock certificate like you could in the olden days, you can always make your own. Or, build an online portfolio at a site like MSN Money or Yahoo! Finance, then give the login in a card as the gift. Kids are much more computer literate now, and they might even enjoy watching their investment go up and down with mommy and daddy’s moods.
Ok, ok, what now?
If you don’t already have an investment account, you can open one easily online. Sites like E*TRADE, TD AMERITRADE or Scottrade… usually the word “trade” is involved somehow… all make good options. Search around a look for the one with the lowest brokerage and trade fees.