Kabuken means "stock certificate" in Japanese
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Growing Together
Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.
- Warren Buffett

How many times have you heard a story of someone who found an old painting, a dusty ceramic piece, or an old stock certificate in their parent's (or grandparent's) attic, and it turned out to be a small fortune. I've wished for such a pleasant surprise, but, of course, nothing like that is hidden in my parents' attic (or basement or under the floor board). Although it's probably too late for me to ask my parents to buy something and hide it for me (so I can find it years later), I still like the idea of having something that grows over the years.

Only the down side is, you have to wait for a long time. This doesn't seem too practical for me, but it works out great as a gift for a new baby. And "grows over the years" reminded me of two things: stock and tree. True that stock and tree may not grow well, and they may even be gone in some cases, so for those of you who are concerned about it, this article is not for you. But for others, read on...

Now, assuming that the stock and tree will survive fluctuation of economy, weather and various other factors, wouldn't it be nice to buy a stock and plant a tree in the year the baby is born? That way, all three (baby, stock and tree) can grow up together. And when the baby is old enough to understand what "stock" is, he/she already have a stock they held for years and a large tree to climb on. And speaking of growing together, this idea also works nicely as a wedding gift.

So here are some idea for selecting stock and a tree.


Selecting a Stock Certificate

First of all, I am suggesting "stock certificate" instead of just shares of some company because, that way, the baby can actually see the gift instead of only hear about owning a stock. Now, for a stock selection, I am a terrible investor (that's why I need to keep my job), so I cannot give you an investment advice. However, I am an experienced gift-giver, so I can tell you some gift-giving ideas.

Select a company that will be around for years, because it would be nice if the company is still in business when the baby is old enough to know the meaning of "stock".
For a new baby, select a company that manufactures baby product such as Nestle for Gerber products and Procter & Gamble for Pampers and Luvs. The new parent will most likely be using their products, so they can feel like their spendings are a part of an investment.
For a newly wed, think of the things they do together such as their favorite restaurant, Southwest Airlines for frequent traveler, or GameStop if they like to play video games
Select a company that sends a shareholder perk. Although it is difficult to predict, as companies start/discontinue shareholder perks at any time, when they do send out a perk, it is like getting another gift!
Select a company that offers Dividend Reinvestment Plan. It will allow the number of shares to grow as long as the company pays dividend.
For a new baby, select a company that makes kid friendly products or offers services for kids (such as Walt Disney, Mattel or Hasbro).
Find a common theme between a stock and a tree. For example, give a share of Apple and an apple tree.
Selecting a Tree

Just a few suggestions and ideas about selecting a tree.

Select a tree that is easy to grow and care for. If you (or a recipient) is going to plant the tree in outdoor, make sure that the tree can withstand the climate.
Select a tree that would bloom or fruit around the time of the baby's birthday or the couple's anniversary.
Think of the recipient's favorite: Favorite fruit or nuts, favorite place (tropical beach = palm tree), or a favorite book with a tree in it (The Giving Tree = Apple)
Consider a tree that you can use as it grows. For example, with an oak tree, kids can play with acorn, climb on it, and eventually, build a tree house.
If the tree you want to buy/give cannot be planted outside (due to housing situation or the climate is just not right), consider planting it in a pot.
If there is any concern, avoid the tree that the recipient may be allergic to (such as nuts).
Some cultures have symbolic meaning associated with trees (from myth, history, the way it grows etc.), so for those of you who like history, myth, etc., it might help in selecting a tree.

If there is any question regarding the tree (planing, care, blooming season, size it grows to, etc.), employees at a nursery are always an excellent resources. You can also visit websites like GardenWeb, UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research, and Garden Guides.com for information and post questions in a forum.


All that been said, I truly believe only the thing that really matters is the thought. The thought of you wanting to give a gift that they can grow up with, and possibly have an access to a fund and a nice shade when they need. And if the stock and the tree survives the economy and weather, it'll just be an added bonus.

I hope your gifts survive, so the recipient can sit under the tree and smile as they look at the stock chart years from now.

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