A Complete Review of Stockpile

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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 facts of investing with Stockpile and my thoughts on using this company to invest. The first article posted on Monday, July 24, 2017. That article detailed my experience of investing with Stockpile.

For the last two months, I have been preparing for this article by researching more about investing and making sure that I have investment articles as resources for you. I didn't think it was right to review an investment company, without first teaching about investing.

General Investing Info

Here are a couple things that everyone needs to know about investing:

  1. Savings Accounts don't make enough money (approximately +/- 1% currently).
  2. Investments are rewarding, because they make more than a plain old savings account.
  3. Becoming a day trader is a sure fire way to lose money. Investments go up and down on a daily basis. You must plan on investing for the long haul. Further Reading: Why Does the Stock Market Go Up Over Time?
  4. Everybody should be investing! Whether the investment is in yourself (college) or in preparing for retirement (College students should be focused on paying for college and getting through college debt free, before they invest).
  5. You must have a set of investing principles that you follow. Further Reading: My Investing Principles

Once you understand that you should be investing, then you can decide on the type of investments to choose. Will you invest in stocks, bonds, REITS, Real Estate, ETFs, Mutual Funds or Index Funds? Everybody is different. For example, my uncle invests mostly in real estate and I invest mostly in mutual funds and index funds. Further reading on investments: Steps to Financial Independence: Step 4.

What Does Stockpile Offer?

Stockpile is a company that allows you to purchase fractional shares of stocks. You could purchase just $1 of stock for somebody and you can even gift stock to a nephew or niece in your family. 

There is no minimum amount of money that you can spend. You could buy just $1 of stock or you could buy $100 of stock. This is the cool thing about Stockpile, you can invest in stock with a small amount of money.

All of these investments in stock are individual taxable accounts. From my research, I did not see an IRA or Roth IRA option with Stockpile. 

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

What are the fees?

On the Stockpile website, they state, "We're not big fans of fees, so we try hard to minimize them everywhere we possibly can." I personally think their fees are pretty good when you compare them to other companies (like Vanguard or TD Ameritrade for individual investing). Below is a list of the fees listed on the Stockpile website:

  • Basic Fees
    • 99 cent fee when you buy or sell a stock with cash.
    • 99 cent fee plus 3% of the purchase price when you buy stock with a credit or debit card.
    • Purchasing One Gift : $2.99 gifting fee when you buy stock, plus 3% of the purchase price for credit/debit card
    • Purchasing Multiple Gifts in 1 transaction: $2.99 gifting fee + $0.99 gifting fee for each additional stock you purchase for a gift + 3% of the purchase price of the stock for the credit/debit card
  • Obscure Fees that don't happen very often
    • Domestic Wire for Outgoing Cash: $25
    • Wire Amendment/Repair: $30
    • Paper Checks: $5
    • Returned Check, ACH, wire, recall, stop payment: $30
    • ACH notice of correction: $5
    • Old Statements/Confirmation Statements: 1 cent/page ($30 min)
    • Overnight Courier (domestic): $30
    • Transferring stocks to another firm: $75

As you can see, the cheapest way to purchase stock with stockpile is to use cash. This will only cost you $0.99 per purchase of stock. Other than the gifting fees, all other fees can and should be avoided if you are handling your money correctly. There is no need to buy stock with a credit card, especially if you are being charged an extra 3%. Keep that extra 3% in your pocket and purchase the stock with cash. 

If you are interested in investing in individual stocks, Stockpile is cheaper that using Vanguard, Edward Jones, TD Ameritrade or any other similar companies. At Vanguard, an investment in an individual stock costs $7. They call this a trade fee. Most companies have a similar trade fee as Vanguard.

Just based on this info, I would much rather invest and be charged $0.99 as opposed to investing and being charged $7 (I avoid the $7 trade fee at Vanguard by investing in Vanguard Index and Mutual Funds, because there is no trade fee when you invest in their funds). Thus, Stockpile is cheaper when investing in individual stocks, but the investing companies are cheaper if you invest in their funds.

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

What's free?

All of the items listed below are free according to the Stockpile website.

  • Redeeming a Gift Card
  • Switching to another Stock on a Redeemed Gift Card
  • Re-gifting a gift card
  • Linking your bank account
  • Incoming Cash Transfers from your bank or from a wire
  • Incoming Cash from another Brokerage firm
  • Outgoing Cash Transfers to your bank
  • Electronic Statement, Trade Confirmations and 1099s
  • No Minimum Balance Requirement
  • No Monthly Account Fees

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

Where Can I Invest?

Stockpile offers multiple investment opportunities. There are too many to list, but I will list the categories offered and examples of stocks 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 1-800-flowers.com and Regular Stores like Walmart, Best Buy and Costco)

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

Is Stockpile Right for You?

It's true Stockpile won't be right for everybody, but there are people out there that will benefit from the services offered by stockpile. Stockpile offers investments in individual stocks and ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds - Similar to a mutual fund, but you don't need as much money to begin investing in an ETF).

To figure out if Stockpile is right for you, you must look at a couple of things?

  • What are your goals for your future?
    • Does your future include early retirement? - Investing in stocks and ETFs outside of retirement accounts might be a good option for people looking to retire early. Dumping all of your money in retirement accounts will force you to work until you are 59 and a half at a minimum. Someone interested in early retirement might need to think about investing taxable accounts that allow you to use the money before are 59 and a half. Stockpile could be a good option for somebody interested in this, because of the low trade fees.
    • Do you plan on retiring after age 59 and a half? - A person planning to work until retirement age should focus on maxing out retirement before jumping into a second investment option.
  • Are your retirement accounts maxed out?
    • Depending on your goals, maxing out retirement should be your focus before investing in taxable accounts.
  • Are you young and just starting investing?
    • Stockpile could be a good option for someone interested in investing in taxable accounts with low trade fees.
  • Are you interested in starting out your children with some investments?
    • My daughter has an ESA, but I am only allowed to invest $2,000 a year. We actually created an account for my daughter, and it currently has the $5 gift from stockpile invested. We have not done any other investing for her, but we may in the future.

As you can see, there is a lot to think about in terms of choosing to use Stockpile to invest. Stockpile is a taxable account and will affect your taxes. With all of that said, I think stockpile is a great option for anyone to invest in stocks with smaller amounts of money (after investing for retirement). 

I see Stockpile as a company for younger generations (like millennials) and could be a great way to start children on a path of investing (Just know that their taxable income can affect the parents taxes). 

What are your thoughts? Would you use Stockpile to invest?

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