Ask Doug

Can I Buy Stock in Coke If I Don't Have a Broker?

Q. Do you have any insight as to how I can make a $1,000 investment in Coca-Cola stock? This will be my first time investing in stock and I currently do not have a broker.

Coca ColaA. More than 1,000 companies now offer Dividend Reinvestment Plans, whereby all dividends are automatically reinvested for you in additional shares of stock by the company itself. The catch is that you have to be a shareowner of at least one share (typically) before you enroll in a company's DRIP.

Approximately 400 companies make it easy to purchase their shares by offering a Direct Stock Plan (also known as no-load stocks). These plans sell their shares directly to individuals. Unfortunately, Coca-Cola does not appear to offer a direct stock plan (as of November 2007), so you'll need to use a DRIP-starter service.

To help you buy that first share, use a service such as First Share. First Share is a program where members sell each other the initial shares needed to get started in a DRIP and First Share takes a small fee for setting up the arrangement between the investors.

You can also purchase a framed share of Coca-Cola stock through OneShare.com. You'll be the registered owner of the stock, and you'll have a memento to hang on your wall, as well.

Once you own your first share of Coca-Cola stock you can enroll in the company's Dividend and Cash Investment Plan, adminstered by ComputerShare, and make additional purchase through them directly.

Be sure to check out the No-Load Stocks web site for more information on investing without a broker.