Long term investing works out well when you choose secure investments whose value appreciates over time. Investments like dividend stocks are a good choice because the dividends can be reinvested during the early years and taken as income during retirement. Many dividend stock investors take advantage of dividend reinvestment plans but these plans are also how to buy stock directly without ever going through a broker.
How to Buy Stock Directly with Dividend Reinvestment Plans
If you already own stock in a company that has a dividend reinvestment plan, all you need to do is sign up and the company will reinvest your dividends for you in fractional shares without any fees or commissions. Such plans commonly let you send them a check to buy more shares as well, free of fees and commission. Some now even allow you to use a credit card or bank debit card to make commission-free stock purchases. What has happened in the last decade or two is that 1) many more companies have dividend reinvestment plans and 2) many of these allow you to make all of your purchases of the company’s stock directly through the plan.
Finding Stocks That Allow You to Buy and Reinvest Directly
An excellent source of information for those who want to know how to buy stock directly and which companies offer this opportunity is DRIP Investor.
In 1992, there were less than 10 companies that permitted investors to buy their first share and every share of stock directly.
Today, the number of companies permitting initial purchases has grown to over 400 firms. There are a similar number of foreign stocks whose shares trade on U.S. exchanges that also allow U.S. investors to buy shares directly, the first share and every share.
Today’s DRIP plans certainly are quite robust from a service level. There are:
- IRA options
- Borrowing features
- Automatic investment programs via electronic debit of a bank account
- Market orders
- Online buys and sells
The DRIP Investor site makes the case for using this method to buy stock directly and continually reinvest dividends.
The combination of long-term (one might even call it the much-maligned “buy-and-hold”) investing, dividend reinvestment, dollar-cost averaging, and no-cost/low-cost investing is a powerful strategy for wealth creation. It worked for me, and it has worked for many of the investors who started with our Charter issue 26 years ago and are still with us today!
But, if you are reading this, you do not need a pep talk about how to buy stock directly but rather the tools find the best stocks to invest in which also have this feature.
You will need to subscribe (for free for 30 days) see if their advice on how to buy stock directly might work for you. The most important aspects will be their list of no-load stocks, the DRIP starter guide, and their “DRIP ratings.”
Best Direct Stock Purchase Companies
And, you do not need to use a service to find out how to buy stock directly. For example, you can buy stocks directly from Apple and there is a Coca Cola direct stock purchase plan. The Johnson & Johnson DRIP is another option. The point is that while there are many companies that offer direct stock purchase and dividend investment plans, the key to success in investing in stocks in this category is to choose the stocks first and then see if they let you buy shares directly or allow reinvestment of stock dividends.
When to Be Careful about Buying Stock Directly
As a cautionary example, we recently posed the question, when is a high dividend yield dangerous? How to invest in stocks is not simply to jump on an investment that is currently offering a high dividend but rather to choose an investment based on strong intrinsic stock value which will translate into long term safety, value, and profits. If you find an exceptional stock with the promise of great appreciation over the years, it may be wise to invest in that stock even if it does not offer dividends, dividend reinvestment, or direct purchase of shares. The fact of the matter is that young, startup companies commonly do not offer such services until they have grown and matured. How to buy stock directly from such companies may be simply to proceed in a normal investment manner until they offer DRIP and direct investment plans.
Who Should Buy Stock Directly and Who Should Not?
Should your first stock purchases be with companies that let you buy shares directly and reinvest dividends directly? In fact, should all of your investments follow this plan? Over the years we have written about how to start investing in the stock market and noted that the first thing to do is to get your financial house in order by paying off credit card debt, putting some money in the bank, in buying your own home. Then, at least part of any investment portfolio should be very conservative, in regard to which we wrote about how to invest without losing any money.
When you invest in stocks, you should choose companies whose businesses you understand due to your own unique insights or because you have studied the company. Successful long term investors typically limit their investments to companies where they, the investor, have a clear idea of what the company does to make money and how their business plan will continue to succeed into the future. And, investors need to keep track of how their companies are doing. Sears used to be the greatest retailer in the world and now is bankrupt. Kodak was the king of camera film, processing, and prints and lost out to digital cameras. The first choice is to pick a stock you understand and that will appreciate, hopefully pay dividends, and not provide any downside surprises. Then, learning how to buy stock directly from that company is a really good idea.
The Long Term Value of Buying Stock Directly
When you intend to invest for the long term, buying stocks directly reduces the cost of every purchase. This means that you will not be paying a 2.5% commission to a broker or $4.75 to an online broker for purchasing stocks.
The S&P 500 has provided an average of 10% appreciation over the years. Over a forty year span, $1 invested turns into $45.26. This is the value of exponential growth. But, what if you are not investing $1 but rather $0.975? Then the end result is $36.23!
The “extra” 2.5% that a person can invest each month compounds over the years and can make a difference of about 20% in how much of the money invested in your 20s will be worth in your 60s. In other words, there is a great value in learning how to buy stock directly and avoid fees and commissions.
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