I had $50 and bought my first stock


Patrick Gillespie, a writer at CNNMoney, just bought his first stock — Starbucks (SBUX).

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — “Coffee tastes like dirt.”

That’s what I told my mom growing up. I hated the stuff. That “frappa, cappa-whatever” wasn’t for me.

I only started drinking coffee two years ago while I was living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, a city of cafes.

And now, the first stock I am ever buying is Starbucks.

It only takes a few $$: I’m in the same boat as a lot of Millennials. Much like my childhood impression of coffee, many Millennials still have a foul taste in their mouth from the recession, and it discourages them from investing.

Call it a recession hangover. Between that, a lack of investing knowledge, low-paying jobs and/or student loans debt, many of my peers have held back from investing.

For me, my family has financially struggled through the recession and recovery. As my parents reminded me after college, “The money tree in the backyard isn’t growing new leaves.”

Starting in your 20s: Rent, groceries and students loans took up the majority of my cash flow during the last few years. There was little money left, let alone funds I could afford to gamble.

But I’m 25, and it’s time to start investing. I have a little extra “fun money” that I can roll the dice with. I already contribute to my 401(k) and make student loan payments, so this cash would otherwise just go to one of my vices — brisket, pancakes and pesto.

I’m not exactly blindfolded and throwing darts at a board, as famed economist Burton Malkiel of “Random Walk Down Wall Street” says about some investors. I took a personal and professional look at Starbucks.

Here’s why I bought Starbucks:

1) I now drink coffee daily — I understand Starbucks’ product. Warren Buffett says one of his guiding principles is simply understanding what the company does.

2) Leadership — Howard Schultz is often regarded as one of the best CEOs in America.

3) International growth — love or hate the chain, Starbucks is all over the globe.

4) Show me the money — Starbucks could make it rain Benjamins at its Seattle headquarters. They’re making a lot of money.

A look at the numbers: Starbucks stock recently hit an all-time high, and it’s up almost 30% this year. The stock is worth $52 — equivalent to a few nice bags of ground coffee (Colombian beans, please).

I’m only getting one share of Starbucks for now. I did say I only have a little extra “fun money.” (I also just signed a New York apartment lease, which drastically cuts down anyone’s spending ability — even Starbucks’.)

There is one caveat to my decision-making process. Schultz is no kid and he could retire soon. There’s speculation about who Schultz will pass the CEO baton to. Leadership is important, and a change at the top might spook some investors, especially newbies.

But I’m less concerned about his successor because Schultz has enhanced the company’s global profile since he returned as CEO in 2008. Starbucks has added 5,408 cafes around the world since then, bringing its total to 22,088 coffee shops worldwide.

On Wall Street, 21 out of 26 analysts who cover Starbucks recommend buying the stock. That wasn’t a game-changing factor for me, but it’s a nice reassurance.

So beyond my relatively short coffee career, I took a deep look at the company, looking at its leadership, strategy and earnings reports.

Another convincing factor: It’s Starbucks for crying out loud! Well known, living-room companies are a safer bet than the latest tech start-up filing for an outrageous, fairyland IPOs.

But what ultimately convinced me to buy was a conversation with a CNNMoney reader. I spoke with Doulgas Wood, a 65-year-old retired engineer in Kalamazoo Mich., for a story about investing. His advice to all Millennials:

“Get in the game and learn.”

By Patrick Gillespie

FOX 2 Newsletters

Sign up for a newsletter from FOX 2 to get updates about news and weather. We offer daily headlines, breaking news, severe weather, and forecast emails.


Latest News

More News