I Will Never Sell This Stock -- That's a Promise

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Before the bears out there start screaming that buying and forgetting is the dumbest strategy ever -- and before the bulls out there begin clamoring for this amazing secret investment -- I have a cautionary word.

The investment I'm about to talk about has absolutely no financial benefit to you whatsoever. There will be no dividends, no capital appreciation ... not even a capital market in which to buy and sell shares. What this investment does have, however, is the possibility to bring a level of pride to your portfolio that you can't get anywhere else.

So before I tell you about this investment, let me ask you a question:

Are you proud of your portfolio?
There are lots of ways you could answer this question. Some people would be proud of a portfolio based on its returns on an absolute basis (averaging, say, 8% returns per year), while others point to their performance against the broader market (maybe an average outperformance of the S&P 500 by 4%).

But there's another group, championed by our own Alyce Lomax, which prides itself based on the types of companies it invests in -- namely, ones that add value to society.

I'm no saint, nor am I one to judge, but there are some investments I just can't bring myself to add to my portfolio based on what they stand for. For instance, judging by metrics alone, Altria (NYS: MO) looks like an excellent dividend stock, with healthy cash flow and good returns on investment. But how would I feel if my future child took up smoking at an early age because cigarettes were readily available at my yearly meeting?

My wife, in particular, takes a hard stance on corporate ethics. That's why she's happy to hold shares in a company like Nucor (NYS: NUE) , whose "pain-sharing" arrangement has reportedly ensured that no one gets laid off during tough economic times. Especially during times like these, it's that type of executive behavior that makes her proud to hold shares of Nucor.

Back to my investment that I'll never sell
Just this past month, the National Football League announced that the Green Bay Packers would be opening up to new investors soon. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Team officials say it is reasonable to say at least 100,000 [shares], and likely more, will be sold. Two hundred dollars is being considered as the price."

Most of you had probably heard that the Packers were a publicly owned team, but how many knew that the Green Bay Packers were also a nonprofit team? As fellow Fool Adrian Rush pointed out after their Super Bowl win this year, "Not only do the Packers lack a single, all-powerful owner, but all the team's profits go either back into the organization or to the charitable Green Bay Packers Foundation."

Believe it or not, this isn't the only way you could have grabbed a piece of a pro sports team in recent years. Consider:

  • Comcast (NAS: CMCSA) owns a portion of the Philadelphia Flyers and 76ers.
  • Though it has since sold its stake in the Anaheim Ducks and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, shares of Disney (NYS: DIS) would once have given you a small piece of ownership in each organization.
  • Madison Square Garden (NYS: MSG) owns both the New York Knicks and Rangers (and the house they play in).
  • Rogers Communication (NYS: RCI) owns the Toronto Blue Jays.
  • Video mogul Liberty Media (NAS: LCAPA) owns the Atlanta Braves.

But what do I get?
Shareholders are invited to a yearly meeting where the head coach, general manager, president/CEO, and board of directors are present. During the meeting, which is held at Lambeau Field, all shareholders get to vote on board membership.

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Not a bad spot for an annual meeting.

That may not sound like a lot, and to some -- it's not. But as anyone from Wisconsin (born and bred, myself) will tell you, this isn't so much a sport as it is a religion that holds the community together. Going back to Adrian's previous article, consider this:

The city of Green Bay has absolutely no business having a professional football team, let alone one that's on equal footing with the teams in New York and Chicago. Green Bay isn't just a small market; it's downright microscopic. Boise, Idaho, has more than twice the population of Green Bay. The number of people who attended this year's Super Bowl (whether you count the folks who were displaced in Jerry Jones' overflow seats or not) exceeded Green Bay's entire population by almost 2,000 people.

Once this most recent round of shares have been purchased, I'll be able to count myself among the likes of the Rooney (Steelers), Kraft (Patriots), and (much larger) Packers families. To me, the benefits of ownership don't get much better than that!

At the time this article was published In the interest of full disclosure, Fool contributor Brian Stoffel's uncle was once the president of the Green Bay Packers, and was responsible for the stadium's renovation. You can follow him on Twitter at @TMFStoffel.  He owns shares of Nucor, and soon, the Green Bay Packers. The Motley Fool owns shares of Madison Square Garden and Altria. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Disney, Rogers Communications, and Nucor. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 - 2011 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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