The Stockpile Experiment

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Note: This was supposed to be a one article review of Stockpile, but I decided that it was too long for just one article. Therefore, I have split the article into two articles. This article will detail the steps I took to redeem the five dollar gift card and invest $99 of our own money using Stockpile. I did this because I wanted you to see the whole process of using Stockpile to invest. The second article will post on Friday, July 28, 2017. With the second article, I will do a complete review of Stockpile.

Background Info

Stockpile is an investment company that was founded by a guy named Avi. He wanted to buy his nieces and nephews stock as a Christmas gift one year. He struggled to find an easy way to give a gift of stock. So, he gave up and just bought them toys.

This experience gave him the idea of making it easy for people to buy fractional shares of stock. This would allow someone to invest in a company for as little as $1. Born out of a Christmas of frustration, Stockpile was developed to allow people simple ways to buy fractional values of stock.

I discovered this company, when I was contacted by an employee with an offer. They offered all of my readers an opportunity to receive $5 to invest with Stockpile for free. You receive the five dollars for free by creating an account. You can start the process of creating an account by using this link.

Once you sign up for free, Stockpile will give you $5 to invest in whatever company that you would like (Note: The Stockpile link is an affiliate link, which will give Summit of Coin a small commission for each person that creates a new account). 

They also gave me the same deal, so I can tell you about this investing service.  I don't know about you, but I am all about free money (cha-ching)! I jumped at the opportunity and created an account and gave it a try. I redeemed my five dollars and threw in $100 of my own money to test out everything this company offers. 

Investing Experiment

It was easy to redeem the $5 gift card, after setting up my account. You will see a screen similar to the one below:

(Note: this is just a portion of the screen - there are navigation panes on the left side and the top of the screen. I removed the navigation bar from this screenshot.) The navigation pane on the left side of the screen has a link where you can redeem gift cards. If you have a gift card, you can click on the "Gift Cards' link and access your gift card. After clicking on the link, you will see an image similar to the one above.

Interested in Stockpile yet? If you are, click the link!

After accessing your gift card, you will need to invest in a stock or Exchange Traded Funds (ETF). They have so many stock options and I couldn't list them all. Therefore, I decided to list the categories and give some examples in each category:

  • Cars & Travel (includes Car Companies, Hotels, Cruise Lines and Airlines)
  • Sports & Recreation (Outdoor Sports Companies, NASCAR, Stadiums like Madison Square Garden and Daytona International Speedway, Sports Apparel Companies and Golf Companies)
  • Fashion (Clothing Companies)
  • Gaming (Gaming Companies, Gaming Systems and Individual Games)
  • ETFs (Individual Stock Version of Mutual Funds)
  • Kids (Book Stores, Ice Cream & Candy Stores and Toys)
  • Technology (Companies like Amazon, Cisco and Apple)
  • Entertainment (TV Stations, Movies, TV Shows and Entertainment Companies)
  • Food & Drink (Restaurants, Candy, Sodas, and Grocery Store items like Campbell's)
  • Restaurants (Companies like KFC, Applebees, and Buffalo Wild Wings)
  • Luxuries (Luxury Car and Clothing Companies like Fiat and Coach)
  • Hobbies (Includes Companies like Blue Buffalo, HGTV, Lowe's and Cannon)
  • Money (Banks, Insurance Companies, Tax Companies and Credit Card Companies)
  • Shopping (Online stores like Amazon and and Regular Stores like Walmart, Best Buy and Costco)

The good thing with stockpile is they have a lot of stock options that you can invest in. I found myself interested in investing with a lot of my favorite companies, but I caught myself and just focused on the ETFs section. Therefore, I selected Vanguards FTSE Emerging Markets Fund.

I picked this fund for a couple of reasons:

  • Emerging Markets are volatile. They can come with big gains, but they tend to have big up and downs.
  • It is a mutual fund that invests in multiple companies (returns are not based on just one company succeeding, but multiple).
  • It was $5 for free, why not invest in a more risky fund.
  • I tend to be aggressive with my investing, because I am willing to ride out the storms in the market.
  • I use Vanguard for a lot of my investing and I believe in their product.

Once you make a decision on the company or ETF to invest in, then you will need to purchase this company with your gift card. After completing the purchase process, you will see a screen similar to the one below:

This screen shows you everything that you have going on with stockpile. Notice: the Vanguard Emerging Stock Fund is pending and there is no cash in the account. You will need cash in the account before you can invest in more stock if you like. This requires you to link a bank account. 

It will take 3 days to link a bank account. I filled out the form to link a bank account to stockpile and I was notified that it would take 3 days. Six days later, I logged back into my account. Upon logging in, I was greeted with the dashboard below:

I personally like the home screen. I enjoy looking at line graphs to see how my investments are doing and I like the screen that shows you the numbers. After 6 days, my 5 dollars turned into 5 dollars and 2 cents. So, my free money made some money!!!

Interested in Stockpile yet? If you are, click the link!

As you can see on the screen, it is no longer asking me to link an account. I linked my bank account and wanted to try out the purchase process investing with Stockpile. I choose to purchase Berkshire Hathaway instead of Vanguard, because of the following reasons:

  • I have an account with Vanguard and purchasing Vanguard accounts is free thru Vanguard as opposed to 99 cents with Stockpile.
  • Purchasing a stock (like Berkshire Hathaway) costs $7 per transaction with Vanguard. Stockpile only charges 99 cents.
  • Berkshire Hathaway is similar to a mutual fund, because it owns a lot of companies. It is a diversified company and it does not have any dividends (Read more: What is a Dividend?). 
  • Because of no dividends, investing in Berkshire is similar to investing in a tax advantaged account or retirement account.
  • Note: There is nothing wrong with dividends, and I personally believe that I will use companies with dividends in retirement. At this time in my life, a company that does not pay dividends will help me keep my taxes down.

Above is the checkout screen for purchasing a stock thru Stockpile. You may notice that they have three options: Cash, Credit Card and Pay Pal. I did not have enough cash in my account to make the purchase, initially. I could have purchased it with a credit card, but that comes with more fees (covered on Friday). Therefore, I stopped the purchase process and transferred $100.99 from my linked bank account.

Transferring money from my linked bank account took 3 days. It was a pretty easy process, but just required a little bit of patience. Stockpile notified me by e-mail when the cash was available in my account. I logged in and set up the purchase for $100.99.

I ran into a hiccup and the system would not let me invest $100.99. Sadly, I dropped the investment down to $99 of Berkshire Hathaway. With the 99 cent charge, this used $99.99 of my $100.99 that I transferred.

This was the only negative experience that I have experienced with Stockpile. I could not use all of my money that was in my account. This left me with $1 just sitting on the side not earning any more money. I have contacted the company and I still have not heard back from them about this problem.

Five days after purchasing Berkshire Hathaway, I logged back into my account to see how things were going:

As you can see, both of my investments have earned some money since I began this process on June 29th. The Vanguard Emerging Markets ETF has earned 20 cents and the Berkshire Hathaway fund has earned 28 cents. After adding $5 gift and subtracting the $0.99 charge, I was $4.49 cents richer on July 12th! On a side note, I was able to send that unused $1 back to my checking account.

Interested in Stockpile yet? If you are, click the link!

Ten days after my initial check, I logged back into to check my account value. Below is a screen shot of the latest update of my stockpile account:

Once again, both of my investments have earned some more money. The Vanguard Emerging Markets ETF has earned 26 cents (+6 cents the last ten days) and the Berkshire Hathaway fund has earned $1.23 (+95 cents in the last ten days). After adding $5 gift and subtracting the $0.99 charge, I have made $5.50 cents by trying out Stockpile (+$1.01 the last ten days)! 

A couple items to think about:

  • The values mentioned above are only if I would decide to sell. I don't plan on selling. I plan on allowing this $105 the ability to work for me.
  • The value of these funds can fluctuate over time. I can see growth, but I could also see a decrease in the value. Berkshire Hathaway is a pretty stable stock, so I expect to see long term growth.
  • This is a small sample size of money to invest. You would see a larger increase in value with more invested.
  • A five dollar increase may not seem like a lot, but every little bit helps.

What are your thoughts? Would you invest using a company like Stockpile? Don't forget to check back on Friday for my full review of Stockpile. Have a great week!


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