I’m excited to be partnering with SparkGift to share a bit about the lessons my grandfather taught me. As always, all opinions are my own.
While most kids’ grandparents introduced them to characters like Mother Goose and Humpty Dumpty, in my world names like Fannie Mae and Charles Schwab were far more common. The stock market — along with the many other avenues to achieving the American Dream — was one of my grandfather’s favorite conversation topics.
“Big Ed”, as people called him, was larger than life, and I adored him. He built his own company with a good dose of hard work and commitment, had loyal employees and friends, and had very high expectations for people. I wanted more than anything to make him proud. So I’d listen, learn, and soak up my time with him.
Truth be told, I didn’t realize the lessons he was teaching me — and my parents reinforced — were unique. I didn’t know that other kids spent their birthday money rather than saving it. I didn’t know that the things we discussed when I was 8, 12, 19 years old would impact the decisions I made as I neared 40. It wasn’t until he was dying that I truly understood the gifts he’d given me.
Since I was lucky enough to go to college nearby, I would go visit my grandpa, and just sit by his side since he was too sick to do much of anything. He’d close his eyes and ask me to read all the stock prices from the newspaper, like a human ticker. At the time, it seemed like a strange thing for him to be thinking about. The stock market. But eventually I realized it was about more than letter symbols and decimal points.
What my grandfather was passionate about was investing. In ideas. In dreams. In himself. In his family. And — as he was getting ready to leave us — in his legacy. My grandfather’s parting gift to me was instilling the importance of working hard, investing in the future, and being a part of something much bigger than myself.
When I heard about SparkGift, a platform that makes it easy to gift stocks and index funds, I felt like there was a new way to make my grandfather proud. I now have a fun, simple way to share some of the lessons he taught me with the next generation.
I always have such a hard time coming up with unique, meaningful gifts for the growing kids in my life who already have so much. (It’s a good problem to have, I know.) How cool would it be to give the i-everything fanatics in my life a little piece of Apple that would last longer than a gift card? At approximately $120 a share right now, that wouldn’t be realistic without SparkGift. But SparkGift allows people to purchase partial shares (in all kinds of stocks like Disney, Tesla, Google, Mattel, Nordstrom) for as little as $20.
The process is simple. Really, it took me about 60 seconds to buy Pink a piece of Disney goodness.
You choose the amount of the gift and which stock you want to buy, input the recipient’s (or a parent’s) name, email address and a gift note, then check out. The recipient gets an email notification of your gift and is walked through a simple account creation process to open a no-fee account (or have a parent do so). Once the account is created, SparkGift moves the funds into the account and executes the trade. It’s a simple, digital process and, as the gift giver, all you pay until Jan 2016 is a $2.95 processing fee for any gift $20-$100. (On larger gifts and come January there is a $2.95 plus 3% processing fee.)
And, if you think this sounds like the perfect gift for your own children, you can create a gift registry on SparkGift. That way when relatives inevitably ask you for holiday gift ideas for your kids, you can encourage them to invest in your children’s future in a really fun, personal way.
I can’t help but think that Big Ed would agree that buying stock through SparkGift is the perfect present for the young people in my life. One that will last well beyond the season. One that will grow rather than being outgrown. And one that will show I’m truly invested in the people I care about. Like he was in me.