questionsthoughts about stocks and mutual funds as wedding…

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If the couple had registered for their pick(s), yes I would.

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Not in today's market. Now, when the recession is over and the $100 will mature into something greater, I think that might be a great gift idea. Unfortunately, in today's market, that $100 will probably turn into $25 before it starts to mature

@tucnguyen: Thanks for your honesty and more importantly, your self-control to not spam the forums

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@capguncowboy: But remember, buy low and sell high. It's counter intuitive but now is a good time to buy. Problem is that you may not have time to buy.

If they selected a stock that they feel will go up, it's their choice. And if they're right, it should go up. Either way, you're only in for whatever you decide.

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i agree with @klozitshoper that if they already had a pool of stocks they would like, i'd do it. but i can't be trusted to choose a winning stock for another person.
when people register, they're already listing things they want or need. fancy shmancy formal plate sets? i'd rather have a GOOG http://www.google.com/finance?client=ob&q=NASDAQ:GOOG or equivalent. this type of gift would be good for people in financial careers IMO. like if i had a personal financial advisor and we were close, and they wanted to get me something, why not some stock? i'd trust them more with that where they can use their expertise in addition to just buying something

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I've seen people register at REI (and have, among other things, a kayak on their wish list). I'm almost used to the Target listings, and similar places. In fact, for fun, when my nephew married a few years ago, I bought most of the items they'd listed at Target, and had them delivered one at a time. The neighbors started watching for the trucks; it was worth every single penny, and an excellent time was had by all.

Still, I'm old fashioned enough that I think I'd ignore completely a card that said the bride was listed at (for example) Edward Jones.

I might consider giving stock (or shares in a mutual fund) to a bride and groom that seemed to have everything, but for someone so well off in life, I might also make a donation in their name to a charity.

[Edit] There's always cash. Newlyweds really like checks with their married names on them.

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@w00tgurl: Yes, we anticipated this concern. It's set up so that the couple can pick from 5 pre-selected portfolios - conservative, moderate, aggressive, socially responsible, and green. This takes the pressure off the couple from having to choose stocks and makes it more accessible to everyone.

Here's where the idea came from. I saw the demographic trends that people were getting married older. They had their own places or were already living together so they already had household stuff or were working on consolidating stuff and getting rid of redundant stuff. What they needed was more practical gifts to put toward a down payment for a house, car, kid's education, etc.

@shrdlu: Etiquette says you do not include where you're registered at in the invitations. The guests are supposed to find out by asking close friends or family. These days, people have web pages that announce their nuptials and where they're registered.

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@tucnguyen: You know, I do know about etiquette, as amazing as that might seem. I would still prefer to not to contribute to a portfolio. I point out that I'd mentioned a check, which they could then apply where they preferred to.

I'm old-fashioned enough to think that some things simply aren't done (the REI listing was an example), but realistic enough to know that it doesn't stop anyone.

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What kind of couple is asking for investment fodder as a weedding present? I'm OK with registries for young couples setting up a household who may actually need a toaster, etc.

But for other couples it seems pretentious to ask for anything. I've been married twice and I argued with my second wife about setting up a gift registry. It was a second marriage for her as well. I didn't think it was right to tell people we needed or wanted anything when we were both established and we owned a fully furnished and fully-applianced home.

I beleive wedding gifts should be at the discretion of the giver and should be personal. I wouldn't want to look at a statement, see a balance of $2800 and think $200 came from Uncle Joe. If a young couple needs cash to help them get started or use towards a down payment, fine, give them cash and let them invest it as they see fit.

(FYI, my wife lsited a set of china and we got the full set which we've used maybe a dozen times in 16 years. What a waste...)

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@shrdlu: Sorry. The etiquette comment wasn't about you but that the couple aren't supposed to include any registry info in the invite.

As for the tradition of wedding gifts, it used to be that guests didn't give gifts at all. Originally, it was just a wedding celebration and the couple would give little token gifts to the guests. Then the guests started bringing gifts, partly for the wedding and partly to cover the cost of the celebration. It was in 1924 that Marshall Fields then created the wedding registry.

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@tucnguyen: The tradition of giving wedding gifts has been around since (at least) the 1800s or so. Registries are a recent invention, certainly, but multiple cultures have long histories of providing gifts to the bride and groom.

For sport, look up Wedding Chest (popular in the 1700s), and the origination of the Dowry (in European history, of course). I have my grandmother's silver (incomplete, sadly) with her initial engraved on it, which was a wedding gift (of course). She married just after the turn of the century. One of her sisters received the gift of a coach and four, from her future in-laws.

I've bid on a few antique wedding chests (at antique auctions), but so far found other things I wanted more, instead.

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@shrdlu: I'm only giving you the evolution of wedding gifts. I didn't say wedding gifts were a recent thing, only the registry.

I've done a ridiculous amount of research in this area.

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@elforman: Maybe it would surprise you that a vast amount of wedding gifts are returned. The companies realize this and are accommodating, some more than others. Some will give the couple the cash value of the gifts and others store credit. A majority of the newlyweds I surveyed said they returned as many of their gifts as they could.

If one really want to help them for their future and setting up home, which is more helpful, a contribution to the down payment for a home or a toaster?

So it's kind of this game that everyone plays...couple registers for stuff they don't want. Guests buys stuff on the registry they think they is nice and within their budget. Couple sends thank you notes for the gifts while at the same time returning the gifts. And the thing is that the guests who are married likely did the same thing!

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Yes! Pick right and its the gift that keeps on giving. Pick wrong and you really aren't out anything except the regret of not making different picks. Ultimately this really isn't any different than registering at a place like Target or Macy's. The key difference is that with stocks and mutual funds there actually is a good chance it will grow in value instead of a guaranteed depreciation.