Check it out. Scroll through the terms of some of the plans available.
If you looking to put less than $250 or so into a given stock each month, I’d stick with the companies that charge $0 in purchasing fees for each transaction by clicking here:
Paying $2.50 in fees on a $1,000 monthly purchase is only a glorified rounding error, but paying $2.50 on a $100 monthly purchase is shooting yourself in the foot as you run the marathon of your investing life—you’re giving up 2.5% in your first year’s annual returns right away.
And plus, the companies that charge no purchase fees give you a good collection of offerings to choose from.
Want to own the most powerful energy supergiant that makes $35+ billion in annual profit across almost 40 countries and has returned 14% annually since 1965 while raising its dividend for three decades? You’re in luck—ExxonMobil charges no fees to build up a regular position in the energy supergiant for only a minimum $50 per month allocation.
Want a high earnings per share growth and a high dividend growth rate from a supersafe healthcare company not named Johnson & Johnson? Luckily, Becton Dickinson lets you contribute monthly without charge:
Want something close to Exxon with a higher starting dividend yield? Conoco, too, lets you build a position free of charge:
And then there’s Dr. Pepper. This is an intelligent company to purchase monthly because it rarely gets overvalued—the fact that it is not PepsiCo or Coca-Cola seems to put a semi-permanent lid on the company’s valuation multiple, and this is good news for a long-term investor that wants to add $50, $100, $200 worth to the soda company every month. The company makes all of their soda by my old house in St. Louis, and they outsource a lot of their distribution to Pepsi and Coca-Cola, allowing the company to keep capital expenditures reasonable and return cash to shareholders on an ongoing basis.
And then there’s some other high-quality companies like Aqua America, Lockheed Martin, Abbott Labs, Abbvie, Phillips 66, and so on that are worth looking at.
Also, once you become familiar with navigating around the Computershare website and analyzing the fees associated with various plans, you can find the companies that are running effectively free drips. For instance, Johnson & Johnson allows you to purchase stock monthly for free if you pay by check. Procter & Gamble charges a $0.02 per share processing fee, and Nestle and Clorox charge $0.03 per share in processing fees—a quick scrounging for loose change in your seat cushions could cover your fees there for the year.
These plans don’t get advertised all that much because there isn’t much of an incentive for anyone to tell you about them—after all, if you aren’t paying any fees, then that means no one is getting rich off of you. Banks and brokerage houses that charge $8.95-$75 per transaction don’t want you to realize you can invest just as effectively on a regular basis for a fraction of the cost.
If you dig hard enough, you could build a diversified portfolio on only $400 per month—establish a $50 per month drip in Exxon, Becton Dickinson, The Southern Company, Dr. Pepper, Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Nestle, Aqua America, and Lockheed Martin. For about $1 or so per year, you’d effectively be buying shares of an oil giant, fast-growing healthcare company, electric utility, blue-chip soda company, consumer product supergiant, diversified healthcare manufacturer, packaged goods and drink powerhouse, water utility, and defense manufacturer for a cost of about $0.10 or so per month. Stick to that plan for a decade or two reinvesting the dividends and adding fresh funds, and you’ll wake up one day wondering when you got so loaded.