Gifts of stock shares teach children about investing

FORT MYERS, Fla. (CONSUMER REPORTS) — Children clamor for gifts like board games, iPads and video games.

But one gift always keeps on giving: stock shares.

While they seem like an unusual gift, they can offer lifelong benefits, and buying them is as easy as buying a gift card.

Nick Irons’ nephew Jacob loves the Six Flags Great Adventure theme park in New Jersey, so two years ago he bought him park 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,” Irons said.

Consumer Reports Money Editor Tobie Stanger believes owning stock teaches children the value of money.

“Not only is it relatable, it’s like an easy-to-digest economics lesson,” Stanger said. “By following how a company is doing over time, young people learn about savings and investing.”

Now, stock or fractions of stock can be bought 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.

The cost of the card is equal to its value, plus a nominal fee.

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

But children can still log in with their own credentials to see how their holdings are doing and trade with an adult’s approval.

Jacob Iron said he’s learned a lot.

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

Adults can also give old-fashioned paper stocks as a gift, but a broker would be needed to sell the shares, which could result in additional fees.

Reporter:Lindsey Sablan
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