Stocks Dad Would Have Loved, And Why He Was Right

Even if a parent isn't an investor, there are stocks out there that could change his her mind.

My own father wasn't much of an investor. He worked for one company his entire life and had shares that performed well enough, but that didn't make him wealthy by any means. However, if he'd ever watched Warren Buffett at work or listened to the suggestions of many of the advisors that TheStreet consults regularly, he may have begun investing in the things he loved or those that held particular meaning for him.

My wife's father does just this. A lifelong investor, he has owned stock in the Craft Brew Alliance (BREW) for several years largely, because he enjoys its Widmer Brothers and Kona beers. However, he also owns equity in CBA, because he supports the idea that when you buy a product you invest in, you're essentially paying yourself.

If you can pay yourself for the things you love and put together a collection of them diverse enough to withstand downturns in any one sector, you have a decent plan for your portfolio. It's just a matter of determining which of your interests have a stock ticker attached to them and how much you'd like to invest.

Business touches nearly every part of your life. The company you work for funds your pursuits. The vacation you take is heavily dependent on airlines, cruise lines, hotel companies and various other hospitality companies. The entertainment you watch is brought to you by one publicly traded company and produced by another. The car you drive, the food you eat, the beverages you drink and even the house you own are all brought to you by businesses of one sort or another. You may prefer products or services brought to you by smaller companies without stock tickers attached, but it's becoming increasingly difficult to go about life in the United States without having shareholders impact your life.

They certainly had an effect on the good and services my father enjoyed. In fact, if you were to index the publicly traded elements of his life, it would make for a fairly substantial portfolio. Had he invested in these companies' stocks as tenaciously as he consumed their various wares, he might have put together a formula for success.

My father passed away six years ago, but this year would have been the first year of his retirement. As I look back on his life, here are ten stocks he would've loved and ten reasons why he would've made the right call by either investing in them or recommending them to someone else.

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Netflix
Netflix

My father was a fan of the big-tent action films and comedies that AMC (AMC) shareholders tend to love. However, toward the end of his life, he was also giving out Netflix (NFLX) memberships as Christmas presents and watching those same movies in airports and hotel rooms instead of AMC multiplexes. He wouldn't have been right about AMC's share price, which has been sliced by more than 50% this year after the MoviePass service reduced monthly membership to less than $10. However, he was ahead of his time with Netflix. When my father passed away in September 2011, Netflix's share price was roughly $16. Though it would also be cut nearly in half by September 2012, it trades for more than $180 now.

AT&T
AT&T

By the time AT&T (T) emerged from the ashes of the Bell Telephone breakup in 1984, my father had been with the company in various capacities for nearly a decade. While his days with Western Electric and Bell didn't have shares attached to them, he received shares shortly after the company went public in 1984. Those shares were all of $5 at the time and would peak at $58 by 1999, but he'd miss both that high and a pre-recession bubble that brought share prices to nearly $42. Still, they were worth more than $28 per share after my stepmother received them as part of my father's estate plan and have risen to roughly $37 in value today with help from AT&T's purchase of DirecTV. AT&T is the kind of old-school stock that long-term investment is build upon, and it served my family well after Dad's more than four decades with the company.

MSG
MSG

Being both a New York Knicks and Rangers fan has its moments. My dad saw Knicks championships in the 1970s and thought there would be many more to come, while the Rangers' history of playoff failure girded him for a lifetime of disappointment as a season ticketholder. Fans know how this one turned out: the Knicks continue to be a blueprint for dysfunction while the Rangers gave my father a Stanley Cup parade for his troubles in 1994 and multiple trips to the playoffs with help from the best Rangers goaltender he'd ever seen: Henrik Lundqvist (though he still made arguments for John Davidson). However, if dad had invested in the Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) in 2010 when shares were first offered, he would have seen share value climb from $20 in 2010 to more than $218 today. He can curse James Dolan as a team owner all he'd like, but as an executive, he would've made my dad a considerable return on his investment.

Toyota
Toyota

Before he became a Toyota (TM) man, my father drove cars into the ground. His first new car, a red 1980 Ford Fairmont, eclipsed 100,000 miles in just three years and was functionally useless by 1984. That year, he purchased a burgundy 1984 Buick Regal that he drove into the mid-'90s. I learned to parallel park with that car in Branch Brook Park in Newark, N.J., but paying for maintenance on that car helped my father embrace leasing. He began with a Toyota Camry shortly after I graduated college. From there, it was into a second-generation Toyota Avalon that became his signature vehicle. By the time he got into a third-generation Avalon in the mid-2000s, he loved the car so much that he bought it outright. He eventually willed it to my sister, who got another two years out of a car that was roughly a decade old by the time she sold it. Meanwhile, Toyota shares that were worth roughly $50 when dad leased his first Camry are worth more than $117 today.

Molson Coors
Molson Coors

I've written about the beer industry since 2009, but my father was fiercely loyal to exactly one brand: Coors Light. I could get him to taste a Samuel Adams Boston Lager if he made a trip up to Boston and he'd have a Bud Light or Miller Lite at a stadium in a pinch, but his love of the pale, mild Coors Light -- and his consistent mispronunciation of it as "Coos Light" -- never wavered. While Molson Coors (TAP) stock has leapt from around $10 a share in the mid-'90s to $86-per-share today, MillerCoors's $12 billion purchase of the global rights to the Miller beer brands last year has more than doubled share prices since my father passed away in 2011.

Dunkin' Donuts
Dunkin' Donuts

Every car my father ever owned had significant brown staining around the center console courtesy of my father's less-than-nimble handling of large cups of Dunkin' Donuts (DNKN) coffee. Ubiquitous near my father's home in Central New Jersey, Dunkin' Donuts provided my father's commuter coffee of choice despite numerous other options. While he wasn't opposed to QuikChek or Wawa coffee and would treat himself to a Starbucks (SBUX) mocha latte during holiday shopping trips each year, Dunkin' Donuts coffee was reliably sweet and typically found in the areas East of the Mississippi River that made up the bulk of his travels. It would've been nearly impossible for my father to invest in Dunkin' Donuts, as it went public just a month before he died, but share prices have risen from nearly $25 at the time to $53 today. Dad didn't care for the doughnuts, breakfast sandwiches or even the frozen coffee, but he would've been well-served by picking up a few shares.

McDonald's
McDonald's

Just about the only similarity between my father and Warren Buffett is an affinity for McDonald's (MCD) . My dad used to take my sister and me to McDonald's almost religiously as kids (the '80s were a vastly different time), but he'd also occasionally feed his dog a McDonald's chicken nugget or two during rides to and from his favorite park. Though my father's McDonald's intake decreased considerably in his later years, McDonald's shares have gone nowhere but up for much of their history. Had he invested in McDonald's at $5 a share in the mid-1980s, his shares would have more than 30 times their original value today. In fact, McDonald's share price hovered around $100 immediately after my father passed away, but has risen to $153 since.

United Airlines
United Airlines

By rights, my father's airline of choice should have been Delta (DAL) . His most frequent destination for business travel was Delta's hub in Atlanta. His vacations of choice were typically to Delta-serviced locations in Florida. But home was Central New Jersey, which meant lots of flights to and from Newark Airport on Continental and, later, United (UAL) planes. He wasn't a fan of many of the changes from his Continental flights -- and was wary of United's customer service long before this year's dragging incident. However, had my father bought United shares when the Continental merger was finalized in October 2010, the $29 he spent per share would've inflated to $58 today.

The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company

As I noted earlier, my dad loved himself some big-tent action movies and comedies. However, he also loved to watch Disney (DIS) and Pixar animated films long into his children's adulthood. He also loved as close to Disney properties in Orlando as he could, citing the ease of getting to the parks, the generous nature of the food plans and the fact that he could drink pina coladas by the pool. It also helps that, in recent years, properties including Marvel, Star Wars, Indiana Jones and the Muppets -- all staples in my dad's pop-culture portfolio -- have all been subsumed by Disney. Given how much cash he'd thrown at Disney over the year, it may have behooved him to actually put some money into Disney shares. When my sister and I made our first trip to Walt Disney World, Disney shares were $1.20 each. When my father began making trips without me and my sister in the early 2000s, shares were roughly $15 each. After he passed away, they were $37 apiece. Today, Disney shares are worth $98 a pop.

Marriott
Marriott

For years, my family lived as if there were no hotel chain other than the Marriott (MAR) Courtyard. My father was a Marriott regular and would stay at Courtyard hotels for business travel, for vacations and even for visiting me and my sister after we'd moved to Boston. We'd each had guest rooms for him, but sometimes dad just enjoyed comforts like full-time air conditioning, a broad selection of cable television channels and a bathroom of his own. As a result, he has enough Marriott reward points stored up after he died to book a Courtyard room in a major-market location for the better part of a month. Also, to top it off, he'd enrolled in Marriott's timeshare program and used it for his multiple trips to Orlando. Marriott went public fewer than 20 years ago, but its $15 share price swelled to $26 by the time my father died and currently hovers around $105.

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