A few days ago I met my buddy Joe for lunch at the local McDonald’s. We haven’t gotten together in awhile so we took the opportunity to catch up and talk about our jobs, families, and side gigs. Of course we also talked a bit about investing and that’s where I got the idea for this article.
As we munched on french fries and Coke, Joe told me he was starting to get a little sea sick watching his Apple stock rise and fall like a roller coaster. Just a few months ago Apple was trading at around $700 per share, but as I write this the company’s stock is currently priced at $507.
Tech stocks like Apple, Facebook, Google and LinkedIn are popular due to the outstanding growth potential they represent. These stocks live in a fast-moving industry and their prices often soar to untold heights overnight. But they can fall back down to Earth just as quickly, leaving their owners with a case of the bends.
My investing style is a little different than Joe’s. While I wouldn’t necessarily avoid a stock altogether just because it is in the technology industry, I prefer more consistent (some people would call them boring) companies like Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and Exxon Mobil. These stocks might not offer the same potential for quick rewards but they have all proven they can stand the test of time and continue to grow at a steady pace. As a bonus, these are all stocks that pay dividends.
One thing that Joe and I have in common is that we both use the products and services provided by the companies we own. Joe uses his Apple iPhone to check his Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. I stopped at the Exxon station for gas on my way to McDonald’s where I had a Coke with my lunch.
While it isn’t required to use the products sold by companies you invest in (I certainly wouldn’t recommend you start smoking cigarettes just because you own shares of Phillip Morris!) it is a good way to show your support for the company. After all, if you owned a Dunkin Donuts franchise, you probably wouldn’t be stopping at Starbucks during your lunch break. Is it any different for a Coca-Cola shareholder to come home with a case of Pepsi? That’s supporting the competition!
Investing in companies that make the products you use everyday can make you feel like you’re doing your part to support the team. So how do you go about finding companies to invest in? Just pay attention throughout the day and see which products you use religiously.
In the morning you wake up and shave with your Gillette razor. You drive your Ford to the Exxon station for gas and then stop at Starbucks on the way to work. You swing by the McDonald’s drive-thru and then run to Costco at lunch. On the way home you stop by CVS and pick up a prescription that was manufactured by Merck.
As you can see, if you just pay attention you can find dozens or hundreds of products and services you use regularly. If you use a product day in and day out odds are that lots of other people do too, and that could be a great company to invest in.