At The Motley Fool, we often suggest that giving your kids the gift of stock is a great idea -- the longer a person can let their holdings grow, the greater the impact of compound growth will be. But for listener John, the Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) stock his family bought him when he was six months old now leaves him confused. It added plenty of value during the company's higher-growth period. But that's apparently over. He could sell, but it pays a nice dividend -- and with his low cost basis, that's a lot of capital gains to consider.
In this segment from Motley Fool Money, host Chris Hill and senior analysts Ron Gross, David Kretzmann, and Jason Moser weigh John's options.
A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on Oct. 12, 2018.
Chris Hill: From John Sheffield, "I listen to your Market Foolery podcast every morning while getting ready for work." Thanks, John!
David Kretzmann: Appreciate it!
Ron Gross: Love it!
Hill: He didn't have a question, I just -- no. He goes on to write, "My family bought me shares of Coca-Cola when I was about six months old, set it to reinvest, and left it there. I moved it to my own trading account a few years ago. Now, at 23 years old, it has grown to quite a large position. I've been investing for a few years now with my own money, but I've never known what to do with this massive position that has a very low cost basis. Do I sell some of it down and put it to work somewhere else? Do I let it sit and continue to reinvest? There's not a ton of growth opportunity, but Coca-Cola pays a nice dividend every quarter. Thanks, and keep up the great work."
First of all, John should be taking his family out to dinner. But, we get a version of this question from time to time. We love to see this. It's a nice problem to have, Ron, but it's still a problem.
Gross: It's still a problem. It's a problem for a financial planner, but I'll take a shot at it. If it's too big a portion of your portfolio, and it probably is at 23 years old, it probably is wise to sell some of it down as you get older and put it to work in other things. It doesn't have to be done immediately. There's no rush. Coca-Cola is not going anywhere. As you mentioned, it pays a nice dividend. Cap gains tax rate 15%, not too bad, not too punitive. You can take it and put it somewhere else that will earn you more money, hopefully, than you're going to pay in taxes.
Eventually, one day, you could let your heirs take that stock, and the cost basis will step up, and there'll be no taxes associated with it. But at 23 years old, you're probably not thinking about your heirs that much.
Kretzmann: Coca-Cola's probably going to continue to be one of the more stable companies you can invest in. It's not going to be a high flyer, but like John said, you get the reliable dividend. I think part of it is, how confident are you in Coca-Cola shares five-plus years from now? In the meantime, I agree with Ron, it can't hurt to sell bits and pieces, sell in stages as you have other ideas that you want to diversify into.
Gross: Quickly, I would say, don't reinvest the dividends. Take the dividends in cash and put them to work in something else rather than accumulate more Coke.