Believe it or not, there was a time when Apple computer was not the behemoth it is today. People who used Macs were seen as quirky because it was a niche product destined to soon be a part of computing history.
My brother was one of the OG Apple supporters and was very convincing in arguing about the quality of Apple products. He even wrote articles for online magazines to foster support for his favorite company.
One day, he told me that I should invest in this failing company because Steve Jobs was coming back. As with all things Apple, he convinced me he was right and I decided I should invest. So, I grabbed the phone book and called Charles Schwab and asked how I could invest $1000 in Apple computer. The person on the other end of the line didn’t think much of me and didn’t treat me like I was a serious client. His uppity attitude bothered me, but I pressed until he walked me through the investment process.
I had to drive to their offices, write a check, and wait for funds to clear. Then, I had to pay a $29 account creation fee, a $10 trading fee, and my first annual $29 account maintenance fee. By the time the funds were transferred, the stock had already jumped on the news. I held onto the stock long enough to make it a profit and after a few $29 annual deductions, online investment firms were becoming available.
Because of the fees and the treatment I received from the original banker, I decided to move my money to Datek.com. Datek eventually became TDAmeritrade. As competition appeared on the scene, the cost of investing went down and trading became easier. Now there are no annual fees to maintain an account, and once you fund your account, you can easily make trades. There are even accounts that let you trade fractional shares to make it even easier for those who can only make small investments.
I think this is great for the younger generation. I’ve always felt a little intimidated by investing, and now it’s so easy. I would encourage every young person to give it a try. Even if you lose a small amount, there’s value in learning about how the stock market works and forming opinions about best business practices. If you start young, pick good companies, and don’t move your money around too much, you may be able to retire with a nice nest egg.
As with all things, there is a downside. Now, I don’t own a single share of Apple stock. Maybe if I couldn’t sell so easily with an app, I would never have sold. I remember when the first iMac sales reports came out and the stock shot up. My roommate would shout ‘sell!’ when I told him how much my stock was worth. I didn’t because, at the time, it was such a hassle.
Note: Had I never sold: the split-adjusted price of a share back in 1997 when Steve Jobs came back was around 21 cents, and now it’s $156. Had I never sold, I think I’d have about $741,000. I traded and don’t have that much now. I figure I was able to buy 38 shares at $25 each if my memory serves.