The Drip Port uses an investing style that most people could successfully utilize with very little change to their rock-em, sock-em (or very modest, as the case may be) lifestyle. A winning Drip investment strategy can be launched with less than $100. That's great news, because that's about where a majority of people stand: with less than a net $100 to their name.
Even today, when an estimated 50% of American households own stock, a majority of non-invested people don't yet realize that they can invest, too, using very little money. And, they certainly do not realize that they can use a company as their savings account, freely and regularly investing $10 to $10,000 in leaders like Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ).
We'd help others if we'd all print this column and share it, or send an email to coworkers or family members who aren't aware of the opportunities presented by Drips and Foolish investing in general. Tell them to become a Fool (it's free!) and tell them to read their new, free "13 Steps to Investing Foolishly" booklet that they'll receive when they do so.
Now, to help newcomers today and to remind old-time readers (hey, a Foolish shout out to all the old -timers!) what Drip Port is about, we'll review our background, strategy, and purpose today, early in 2001, as we do at the start of each year. First up...
We're regular investors, in fact Fools, investing to beat the market and the pros. Successful investors are created by investing in understandable (to them) and strong companies for long amounts of time, not by short-term, high-risk strategies. Our style is to begin investing small, with as little as one share of stock, in a strong company or companies, and then to buy more shares, typically commission-free through Drips, regularly. We suggest that you invest with at least a 10-year timeframe. We have a 20-year timeframe.
We began with $500 in July 1997, and we add and regularly invest $100 in savings every month. You can begin with less or much more money, and you can save and invest more or less each month, too. Our goal is to return at least 15% annualized on our investments for 20 years, growing our modest investment base to at least $150,000. We aim to do this by buying market leaders that are candidates to grow earnings per share in the double-digits annually, on average. We own Johnson & Johnson, Intel (Nasdaq: INTC), PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP), Mellon Financial (NYSE: MEL), and Campbell Soup (NYSE: CPB), so far. We don't plan to own more than eight stocks total.
We don't time the stock market and we don't mind whether it rises or falls in the near term. With our style of investing, we send more money to our investments regularly. Therefore, we're often actually pleased when the stock market declines, because it means that we can buy more shares of our companies at lower prices. Short-term stock declines don't worry us as long as our businesses remain leaders. Our outlook is long term, and we often use drips to buy more stock.
We publish a thrice-weekly column, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Our columns cover our current investments or potential new investments and also aim to provide (as a conduit) the shared knowledge of Fools everywhere who meet on the Drip boards linked above. We're currently undertaking a high-growth company study, including optical network companies. This is a new arena for us, and one that might ultimately have us consider pseudo-Drips.
We reiterate that you can begin investing with less than $100 and you can succeed with just a few Foolish investments. The heart of the Drip Port's message is that anyone can begin to invest successfully with very little money. The types of companies that we believe you should mainly buy are those that you already know by name: leading pharmaceutical, consumer goods, financial, energy, and technology companies. Aside from what we own, Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), Coca-Cola, and Exxon-Mobil (NYSE: XOM) have Drips that are popular with Fools, as do Lucent Technologies (NYSE: LU), General Electric (NYSE: GE), Enron (NYSE: ENE), Nokia (NYSE: NOK), and Home Depot (NYSE: HD).
The myth that you must own 20 or 30 stocks has been propagated (for decades) by brokers who want to earn higher trading commissions. In reality, the world's most successful investors have their wealth concentrated in just a few key investments. Eight to 12 stocks total has long been the Fool's mantra.
How do you begin Drip plans? It's pretty easy to start. We list ways to begin Drips in our Drip Info pages, which hold other background information, too. Also, George Smyth considered free Drips versus pseudo-Drips yesterday.
The purpose of investing? Surveys show that money is a primary, ongoing concern for most of us (shocking, isn't it?). Drip investing is a simple -- and fun -- way to begin investing any amount of money that you have into some of the highest-quality investments in the world. Investing Foolishly, one day you may not need to worry about money. Financial independence is our goal. Foolish long-term investing is our route.
Start here -- and help others do so, too.
--Jeff Fischer, TMF Jeff on the discussion boards.