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For my 13th birthday, I received a single share of AAPL, Apple Inc. I framed my certificate, and placed it up on my wall, but what else can I do?

I am aware of the basic mechanics of buying and selling, but because it is a share of a company, do I have a tiny share in decisions and things like that? If so, how would I take advantage of that?

  • I wasn't aware you could still obtain paper shares. But, yes, you'd have a small say in the decisions. Like you said it's tiny, 1 in 5.5 billion for Apple, but I'd imagine you'll get your proxy packages for voting and your share gets you in the door of the annual shareholders meeting. You should also receive your dividends, which will be nice. – quid Mar 1 '16 at 23:24
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    Depending on how long ago your 13th birthday was, you may own more than one current share. Apple had a 7:1 split in 2014 and 2:1 splits in 2005, 2000, and 1987. – Shawaron Jan 9 '17 at 17:21
  • January 2016 @Shawaron – OldBunny2800 Jan 9 '17 at 20:38
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Congratulations! You own a (very small) slice of Apple.

As a stockholder, you have a vote on important decisions that the company makes. Each year Apple has a stockholder meeting in Cupertino that you are invited to. If you are unable to attend and vote, you can vote by proxy, which simply means that you register your vote before the meeting. You just missed this year's meeting, which was held on February 26, 2016. They elected people to the board of directors, chose an accounting firm, and voted on some other proposals. Votes are based on the number of shares you own; since you only own one share, your vote is very small compared to some of the other stockholders.

Besides voting, you are entitled to receive profit from the company, if the company chooses to pay this out in the form of dividends. Apple's dividend for the last several quarters has been $0.52 per share, which means that you will likely receive 4 small checks from Apple each year.

The value of the share of stock that you have changes daily. Today, it is worth about $100. You can sell this stock whenever you like; however, since you have a paper certificate, in order to sell this stock on the stock market, you would need to give your certificate to a stock broker before they can sell it for you. The broker will charge a fee to sell it for you.

Apple has a website for stockholders at investor.apple.com with some more information about owning Apple stock. One of the things you'll find here is information on how to update your contact information, which you will want to do if you move, so that Apple can continue to send you your proxy materials and dividend checks.

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    Ben, dividends are mailed once a quarter. I once owned a fractional share in the remains of an ESPP. The broker would charge $25 to sell, so I kept it, and they mailed me 4 quarterly statements and 4 dividend checks per year for 10 cents each. 10 years later, the company was sold. – JoeTaxpayer Mar 2 '16 at 0:39
  • @JoeTaxpayer Thanks, corrected. We have a paper certificate of DIS, and we only get 1 check per year, but it looks like DIS only pays a dividend once a year. – Ben Miller Mar 2 '16 at 1:10

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