Buying stock without using a broker is relatively easy and there are a couple ways to go about it.
Dividend reinvestment programs (DRIP) is probably the most common and easiest way to invest without a broker. Not all stocks pay dividends so be sure to check to determine if the company that you are dealing with does indeed pay dividends. To find out if a stock pays a dividend you may go to a financial search engine such as Yahoo Finance or Google Finance. Enter the name of the company and you will see a chart that has a number of statistics including the one that indicates dividend and yield. If it says N/A in the dividend/yield column then it does not pay a dividend.
Most DRIP accounts allow the investor to also make cash deposits into their DRIP account to add to their purchase power. This is the easiest and most efficient way to buy stocks without a broker. You can build your portfolio slowly over many years through reinvesting dividends in this way. In order to participate in a DRIP account you will need to make an initial investment. Once you set up the account the dividends will automatically be deposited into your account and stocks will automatically be purchased.
Before you can enroll in the dividend reinvestment program you must own at least one share of stock.
Stock certificates are rarely issued these days. Generally stocks are issued as uncertificated shares as opposed to certificated shares. However, many companies participate in programs where an investor can buy a single paper printed (certificated) share of stock suitable for framing.
A company called OneShare is a popular place for buying a single stock certificate. OneShare has over 200 companies who participate in their program. The stocks on the OneShare site are divided into categories that make it easy to search for a framed stock to give as a special gift. You will find stocks like Disney, Starbucks, Nintendo, Harley and Mattel to match to just about any interest from kids to adults and gamers to motorcycle riders.
Keep in mind that stock certificates are just like money in that they have actual value and if lost or stolen they can be cashed in by the holder. If you own stock shares in certificate form be sure to register them with the company and keep them safe.
The best way to find out if a company has a direct purchase program is to actually go to the company website. The company home page will generally have links to Investor Services or Investor Relations and you will find information on investing directly with the company. There will likely be a service charge for your initial investment as well as a minimum dollar amount. The direct corporate purchases are not generally certificated shares but some may have that option. Once you own the stock you may then enroll in the company Dividend Reinvestment Program.
If you search online for “Direct Stock Purchase” you will see dozens of company websites that advertise their corporate buying plan. Major companies like Home Depot, Kraft, AT&T, Kellogg and many others have Direct Stock Purchase program with a Dividend Reinvestment Program.
You can start small and build your wealth slowly. This sort of investment might make a good annual birthday or Christmas gift for a young person.