Everyone likes free stuff, and as the success of Dansdeals
highlights, frum Jews are no exception to this rule. One unusual way to get free goodies is through shareholder discounts. Owning shares of stock in a public company makes you a partner and some companies offer shareholder freebies as a partner courtesy
. However, most either give out items with minimal value or require the purchase of 100s of shares making the perk useless unless you happen to like the stock as an investment. Examples of this include Starbucks mailing a coupon for a free beverage to all shareholders, not very valuable, and Radisson Hotels which offers shareholders discounts and guaranteed upgrades but only to those who own at least 200 shares which costs over $6,000.
GEICO: The Best Shareholder Discount Of All
Warren Buffett really tries to treat his shareholders as partners, and it’s not surprising therefore that GEICO insurance, owned by Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway
(BH), offers perhaps the best shareholder discount out there.
In 2017, GEICO gave me a $160 annual discount on my car insurance upon my producing a statement proving ownership of just one share of BH stock. Because Berkshire Hathaway’s B-level shares are pretty cheap
(about $200 at the time), the $160 in annual savings equals an excellent and return on my investment! Plus, BH is a fantastic investment to own anyways: Any extra growth of the stock Buffett earns for me is the icing on the cake. After writing about this hack in the Voice Of Lakewood
, many readers confirmed that they were also able to save about $150 on their car insurance on top of GEICO’s already low pricing. Setting up this discount takes just twenty minutes making the GEICO shareholder discount an excellent investment of your time too.
The GEICO Shareholder Discount in 20 Minutes Or Less
Call Geico to Confirm (3 Minutes):
While all shareholders are eligible for the discount, the savings vary based on the size of your policy and also the other discounts already applied. Most people who call seem to be saving more than enough to make it worthwhile.
Open A Brokerage Account (10 Minutes):
If you already have a brokerage account, you can skip this step. Otherwise, go to Fidelity
and open a brokerage account. There is no fee or minimum to open an account, and it’s a good thing to have anyway for future saving and investing. They both have 800 numbers and will walk you through the process. There’s also a newfangled brokerage alternative called Robinhood.com
. It requires a smartphone and has minimal functionality, but they do offer commission-free stock trades. Personally, I like to stick to the tried and tested.
Buy One Share of BH (5 Minutes):
Once the brokerage account is opened, you can buy the share online yourself for a commission of $5 to $7: If you call Vanguard or Fidelity to place the trade, the commission cost would be about $20 instead. The symbol for Berkshire Hathaway B shares is BRK.B.
(BTW: You can buy the BRK.A class shares
too but they will set you back hundreds of thousands of dollars!! They’re the same as the Bs, but multiplied by 1,500.)
Call Geico Back With Proof Of Ownership (2 Minutes):
GEICO makes it easy to confirm ownership. All you need do is call them to notify them of your new shareholder status and to prove it email them a screenshot of your brokerage statement or account.
Enjoy Your Discount… And Your New Investment!
Spending $200 once to save $150 every year is itself an excellent investment. But on top of that, BH has been a top-performing stock: growth equaled about 10% annually since 2000 and BH returns are way above the S&P 500 index. Some question how BH will do after Buffett passes on: He is now 93 years old, though, despite his diet of hamburgers, Coke, and ice cream,
he seems to have plenty of juice left. Even if some of the Buffett magic passes on with him, BH owns many strong and stable businesses
and is better diversified by itself than many mutual funds. With the GEICO shareholder discounts figured in, BH is a no-brainer investment.
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