Are you ever at a loss trying to come up with birthday or Christmas gift ideas for your for your nieces, nephews, or grandchildren? Instead of toys, clothes or gift cards, there are alternative gift inspirations that keep giving over their lifetimes and are ideal for teaching the young folks about money and investing!
I’m talking about Dividend Reinvestment Plans (DRIPs). A DRIP allows you to automatically reinvest cash dividends by purchasing additional shares or fractional shares on the dividend payment date. According to www.DividendInvestor.com, more than 1,100 companies and closed-end funds offer DRIPs. But what are the best DRIPs?
When my nieces and nephew were born, my relatives couldn’t buy enough toys and clothes for them. It was mass consumerism at its best! But I wanted to buy them something that they wouldn’t soon tire of or grow out of, and would also have long-term positive effects on their lives. And I also wanted to teach them about money.
So, I began buying them shares of McDonald’s (MCD) stock via a DRIP. I chose McDonald’s as it was a company with which they were familiar. And over the years, I added to their DRIPs, and talked to them about the company whenever the annual report showed up. I do have to admit, though, that they were much more enthused about the coupons for free hamburgers that were included in the report than in my finance lectures!
Nevertheless, when they graduated from high school, they each had a tidy sum to help allay college expenses. It was an easy way to give them a gift that kept on giving.
Companies that operate their own DRIPs will often let you buy additional shares of their stock commission-free, and sometimes even at a discount to the current share price. I follow two investment pros who keep a close eye on dividend reinvestment plans—Charles A. Carlson, editor of DRIP Investor and Vita Nelson, editor of The Moneypaper.
DRIPs are often recommended for long-term investors. Buying and selling shares in a DRIP is not as easy as picking up the phone and calling your broker. Most companies buy and sell shares in a DRIP in bulk (to reduce transaction fees), so you are most likely not going to get current market prices. It may take a few days to get in or out, so if you tend to trade stocks, a DRIP would not be your best investing vehicle.
But DRIPs are a great way to invest in well-managed, financially stable companies—for the long term. And they make great gifts!
I searched my databases and ran my numbers to find the best DRIPs that are fundamentally strong companies, with growing sales and earnings. And I’ve found two that I think you’ll like, and will immediately recognize. That brand-name recognition, I think, is important when you are considering a long-term investment like a DRIP.
The Best DRIPs to Give Your Grandchildren
Best DRIP #1: Emerson Electric Co. (EMR)
Emerson Electric Co. (EMR) is an engineering company, serving the oil and gas, refining, chemicals and power generation, pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, automotive, pulp and paper, metals and mining, and municipal water supplies markets. Products include residential and commercial heating and air conditioning products, environmental control systems for use in medical, food processing, and cold storage applications, and professional and homeowner tools, and appliance solutions.
- Dividend yield: 2.18%, paid quarterly
For DRIP information:
Attention: Emerson Electric Co.
P.O. Box 505000
Louisville, KY 40233
Toll-Free: (888) 213-0970
Best DRIP #2: Illinois Tool Works Inc. (ITW)
Illinois Tool Works Inc. (ITW) sells industrial products and equipment including automotive OEM components, food equipment, test & measurement and electronics, welding, polymers & fluids, construction products, and specialty products.
- Dividend yield: 2.14%
For DRIP information:
Broadridge Corporate Issuer Solutions, Inc.
P.O. Box 1342
Brentwood, NY 11717
Tel: (888) 829-7424 (U.S.)
As always, you’ll want to make sure that these companies fit your personal investing needs, but for the long term, they look to be solid, money-making additions to your or your young friends’ portfolios.
*This post is periodically updated to reflect market conditions.