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Stockpile Review 2020 – Should You Give the Gift of Stocks?
Commissions & Fees – 6
Customer Service – 8
Ease of Use – 8
Tools & Resources – 5
Investment Options – 3
Account Options – 3
Stockpile is a great way to get young people interested in stock investing by purchasing fractional shares of stock through gift cards. It requires a low minimum investment and low fees. However, its limitations may turn off more sophisticated investors.
CEO Avi Lele created this unique service. The story goes that he was looking to buy Christmas presents for his nieces and nephews. He wanted to give them something more substantial and longer-lasting than toys. He thought that stocks would be a good idea but found the process too frustrating and pricey. He gave up on that effort and bought some toys anyway.
But the idea never left his mind. And thatвЂ™s how Stockpile came to be. Individual stocks can be too expensive and cumbersome to purchase one share at a time. So Stockpile offers gift cards toward the purchase of stock.
Those gift cards can now be purchased through the Stockpile website. They are also available at select retailers, including grocery stores.
|Investment Types||Stocks , OTC/Penny Stocks , ETFs , Mutual Funds , Bonds , Options , Forex , Cryptocurrencies , Futures|
|Access||Web Based , iPhone App , Apple Watch , Android App , BlackBerry App|
|Broker Assisted Trade||N/A|
|No Fee ETFs||0|
|Customer Service||Phone: M-F 9A-6P ET; Email|
How Does Stockpile Work?
By offering small amounts of stocks — commonly referred to as “fractional shares” —
and making investing in household-name companies accessible to a broad audience, Stockpile fills the gap left by Loyal3, which shut down unexpectedly in May 2020.
There are two parts to Stockpile’s gift card program. The first is buying the gift cards, and the second takes place when the recipient exchanges the card for stock.
Buying Stockpile Gift Cards
Stockpile gift cards are available toward the purchase of stock in hundreds of well-known companies — including Google, Amazon, Apple, Berkshire Hathaway, the Bitcoin Investment Trust, Disney, Cisco, McDonaldвЂ™s, Microsoft and Netflix.
The cards are issued by Stockpile Gifts, Inc., and can be purchased either as e-gifts or as physical gift cards. They have no expiration date so that they can be redeemed at any time.
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When youвЂ™re on the Stockpile website, click вЂњBuyвЂќ at the top of the page. This takes you to the stock selection page.
Once there, you can check the stocks that you want to purchase gift cards for. After choosing the stocks, click вЂњNextвЂќ at the bottom, and youвЂ™ll be brought to the Choose Amount page. ThatвЂ™s where you select the dollar amount you want on the gift card.
Now you select the amount of the card: $25, $50, $100 or another amount. Once youвЂ™ve done that, click вЂњNextвЂќ and youвЂ™re brought to the recipient page. Here, you provide the recipientвЂ™s name and email address and also add your name as the giver. You can also leave an optional gift message. Once you have completed the page, you can click the вЂњCheckoutвЂќ button.
At the checkout page, youвЂ™ll have the option to pay by credit card, debit card, or PayPal. You will pay for the cost of the gift card, plus the gifting fee, which covers the trading commission and the credit or debit card fee. Your payment of these fees at purchase means that the recipient will get a gift card for the full amount.
In addition to the purchase of cards, the Stockpile website also has some excellent educational material. The material is presented in simple terms that can be easily understood by an investment novice or even a child.
The cards are also available in select stores. These include major retailers, such as Kmart, Kroger, LoweвЂ™s, and ToysвЂњR”Us. (Check availability at specific stores, as not all stores in the same chain will carry the cards.)
As easy as it is to purchase a Stockpile gift card, redeeming it for actual stock isnвЂ™t nearly as simple.
In order to redeem a gift card, the recipient must open a brokerage account with Stockpile. Since the recipient is often not of legal age, the parents will have to open a custodial account in his name. Since the gift cards never expire, the recipient could simply wait until he turns 18 to open an account. But that may be far in the future. In the intervening years, the gift card may be lost or forgotten. Or the company may even go out of business or discontinue the program.
Anyone can purchase a Stockpile gift card. But only U.S. citizens and residents can open a Stockpile brokerage account and redeem the cards for stock. Fortunately, if the recipient canвЂ™t redeem the gift card for stock or chooses not to, the card can be swapped for a retailer gift card. The gift card can also be used to purchase a stock other than the one actually listed on the card.
The brokerage account is held through Stockpile Investments, Inc., a registered broker-dealer, FINRA member and SIPC participant. All trades are settled and cleared through Apex Clearing Corporation, which is also a member of both FINRA and SIPC.
The account requires no minimum balance, and there are no monthly fees in order to keep the account active.
One other important point is that the gift recipient is likely to use the gift card to purchase fractional shares. He can hold the shares with Stockpile, but fractional shares cannot be transferred to another broker.
An easy way for young people to start investing in stocks
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- Account Minimum: $0
- Fees: $0.99 stock trades
- Best for: Young investors
Stockpile is an app-based brokerage that aims to make investing in the stock market more accessible and less intimidating, especially to younger people. A simple, streamlined interface makes buying and selling stocks and ETFs quick and easy, while gift card options encourage users to make shares of stock the gift of choice for birthdays, holidays, and graduations.
Stockpile’s trading fees are among the lowest in the industry at just $0.99, but the tradeoff is a limited product range and minimal research tools. This platform was built for those who might not otherwise try investing at all, so you won’t find in-depth charting tools or paper trading options. Stockpile is best for those looking to dip their toes into the stock market, as well as for people who want to give a gift of stocks or simply encourage younger generations to start investing early.
Simple, user-friendly interface
Low commissions on trading
Gift card options
Custodial accounts to help kids and teens learn about investing
Limited securities available—no options, bonds, futures, or Forex
Minimal research and analysis tools
No best price guarantee or order routing options
The Stockpile platform is incredibly simple. Stockpile’s gift card options make it easy for users to give shares to others (these are custodial accounts for those under 18), so the platform is set up to be as simple and user-friendly as possible.
Upon login, the Dashboard allows you to quickly see your current holdings and overall performance. Just below this is a quick link to the Buy Stock page, where you can select a stock or ETF to view from a range of icons featuring each ticker’s logo. You can also reach this page through the menu to the left.
Users can view tickers based on what’s trending, top gainers, or select specific industries. Clicking on a ticker’s tile automatically opens a pop-up window where you can select the amount of money you’d like to invest in the stock. A few more clicks, and the trade is executed. However, you can also find a simple chart, some relevant news, and some basic performance stats by clicking on the other tabs in the pop-up window. All in all, it takes just five quick clicks to go from login to purchasing a new stock.
Stockpile offers fractional share investing where a user chooses a dollar amount to invest, rather than a number of whole shares. This allows investors with low account balances to invest in big-ticket stocks like Amazon and Alphabet. Fractional share orders must be bundled before execution, which is why Stockpile only executes orders at pre-set times.
Stockpile’s platform is designed for basic trading functions: you can buy and sell shares of stocks and ETFs and do some basic research on each ticker. For more advanced investors, however, this platform likely won’t be the right fit. You won’t find real-time streaming data, order routing options, advanced order types, or basket trading.
Stockpile executes all trades at pre-set times, which could indicate that Stockpile prioritizes cost efficiency on the backend above price improvement for investors.
Stockpile is primarily an app-based brokerage, though the desktop platform offers most of the same functionality. Because this product is built to be an introduction to the stock market for new and young investors, there isn’t much in the way of research tools or raw data, which makes the platform simple to navigate.
Whether on the desktop product or the mobile app, placing an order can be done from almost any screen. Your user dashboard gives you data on the performance of your current investments. A menu on the left provides links to other functions including bank transfers, buying or redeeming gift cards, legal and tax documents, account history, and settings.
One usability issue to note is that data is delayed by 15 minutes or more. Charts also do not allow users to view any smaller time frame than the current day. Hour-to-hour or up-to-the-minute data is not available.
Mobile and Emerging Technology
The Stockpile app is available for both iOS and Android devices and has a few functionalities not found on the desktop platform. The most useful of these is the watchlist. While the desktop platform allows users to search and view limited data for any available ticker, only the mobile app allows you to add tickers to a watchlist, which is viewable from the dashboard upon login.
News relevant to your current holdings or tickers on your watchlist is available on the dashboard. The desktop platform provides a news tab on each ticker’s pop-up window, but it does not provide a curated news section upon login.
While the desktop platform does not offer any two-factor authentication, the app does allow for Fingerprint ID.
Range of Offerings
Available securities are limited to stocks, ETFs, and some non-U.S. stocks, also known as American Depository Receipts (ADRs). While users can indirectly invest in things like gold and lithium via ETFs built to track those securities, it is not possible to directly invest in cryptocurrencies or commodities through the Stockpile platform. Forex, options, futures, and mutual funds are not available.
News and Research
For experienced traders, the dearth of research tools on Stockpile will be the biggest drawback. While users can see basic price charts for various time frames, there are no studies or indicators to plot, no balance sheets to study, no analyst ratings to review.
The Stats tab on each ticker’s pop-up window offers some basic data, such as 52-week highs and lows, dividend yield, and P/E ratio. Other than that, the only information provided for any given ticker is a small selection of relevant news articles and a brief «about» section with basic info about the company or fund.
The Dashboard is the only place where your portfolio progress is viewable, with a single chart tracking your progress. Using the desktop platform, you can access your legal and tax documents, though these are not available through the app. The desktop platform also allows you to see your previous activity, but this is the extent of the information available. You won’t find detailed portfolio breakdowns, allocation options, or performance projections.
Customer Service and Help
Stockpile’s support staff are available only via email. There is no phone number available. Both the desktop and app platforms show a little chat icon in the lower right-hand corner, but this functions merely as a quick way to receive email support, not an actual online chat. However, a message sent through this «chat» function was answered via email within one hour.
The Stockpile website has a Help Center page, where users can find answers to most questions about how the platform works and investing basics. Since the platform doesn’t offer a wide range of securities or tons of «techy» research tools, there isn’t a lot the FAQ section needs to cover.
Education and Security
While the Help Center answers basic investment questions, the Stockpile blog offers more in-depth educational resources. Aptly named The Ticker, Stockpile’s blog is very clearly aimed at millennials with references to the TV show The Office and targeted articles like «5 Investing Mistakes Millennials Make.»
The «How To» section offers basic guidance on things like budgeting, and «The Campus» provides articles breaking down concepts like risk tolerance, dividends, and why diversified portfolios are a good idea. This section also offers downloads, quizzes, and videos to help users learn. «Stockopedia» offers a decent glossary, though entries are not in alphabetical order (and you can find better definitions on Investopedia). The blog also offers educational pieces on securities that Stockpile doesn’t offer, such as cryptocurrencies and IPOs.
All trades on Stockpile cost just $0.99. Gift cards for stock cost $2.99 for the first stock and and $0.99 for each additional stock. These are not shares of stock, they are gift-card denominated amounts of fractional shares, so if you buy a $50 gift card of Amazon.com Inc. stock ($52.99 total), your recipient will own roughly 0.03 shares of Amazon.
If you fund your account with a debit card, an additional 1.5% fee is charged to cover transaction costs. If you pay for a gift card using a credit or debit card, the transaction charge is 3% of the value of the gift card.
There are no other fees for account maintenance, withdrawals, incoming or outgoing ACH transfers, or account closures. There are no monthly account fees or minimum balance requirements.
What You Need to Know
Stockpile’s product is unique among online brokerages. With a focus on helping inexperienced investors learn the basics of the stock market, Stockpile’s platform isn’t built for advanced traders or those looking a broad selection of securities. Instead, Stockpile offers a way for kids, teens, and young adults to learn about investing in an accessible and user-friendly way. Gift cards, affordable $0.99 trading commissions, and credit and debit card funding options help users build investment literacy, regardless of age or account size.
Investopedia is dedicated to providing investors with unbiased, comprehensive reviews and ratings of online brokers. Our reviews are the result of six months of evaluating all aspects of an online broker’s platform, including the user experience, the quality of trade executions, the products available on their platforms, costs and fees, security, the mobile experience and customer service. We established a rating scale based on our criteria, collecting over 3,000 data points that we weighed into our star scoring system.
In addition, every broker we surveyed was required to fill out a 320-point survey about all aspects of their platform that we used in our testing. Many of the online brokers we evaluated provided us with in-person demonstrations of their platforms at our offices.
Our team of industry experts, led by Theresa W. Carey, conducted our reviews and developed this best-in-industry methodology for ranking online investing platforms for users at all levels. Click here to read our full methodology.
Stockpile Review – Is it the best fractional brokerage?
Advertising disclosure: All opinions expressed are our own. We may receive compensation for some of our partner brands in this article. However, we only promote brands we trust. Here’s how we make money.
We both know that trading stocks can be a complicated and confusing process. That’s why I decided to write this Stockpile review.
Many people are afraid to begin learning about investing because of the inconvenience, difficulty, and mystique surrounding the entire process.
In fact, most people are not introduced to the world of investments until they are ready to begin saving for retirement…
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…I think that is far too late!
So, it’s important to pick the right brokerage account. Today, I will give you all the pros and cons of Stockpile, then you can decide if it’s better than Robinhood.
BTW. If you are going to open a Stockpile account, use the link at the bottom and they’ll give you a FREE stock.
Trading stocks is something that I began in college, and have continued to do well after.
Investing in stocks can be challenging, fun, and above all, very important in meeting your financial goals.
Given the importance of investing, we have a responsibility to teach ourselves and the next generation the basics of this topic.
And since the holiday season is fast approaching, wouldn’t it be nice to kill two birds with one stone?
So, this year, instead of buying your loved one’s toys, sweaters, or even socks…
…wouldn’t it be great if you could give them the gift of stocks?
Well, now you can
…with a little company known as Stockpile!
It was Christmas and Stockpile founder, CEO Avi Lele, wanted to give his nieces and nephews something special.
Now, most kids have enough crap – but Santa don’t care – he just keeps bringing kids more crap.
Lele realized this phenomenon and became determined to give his loved ones something useful for the holidays. And, by something useful, we mean stocks.
But the stocks Lele wanted to gift – Apple and Google – were far too expensive.
The kids were good, but not that good. Lele wished that he could somehow purchase part of a share and give it as a gift.
Lele ultimately gave up and bought his nieces and nephews more crap.
But, he knew that he was on to something…
…and in 2020, the brokerage firm Stockpile was born!
Lele created Stockpile with the intention of gifting fractional shares of stock to other people.
Stockpile allows people to…
- Buy and sell stocks (like normal)
- Purchase gift cards that can be used to purchase fractional shares of household-name stocks and ETFs
These gift cards can be purchased on the Stockpile website and given to others as gifts.
Why do these gift cards make excellent gifts?
Because Stockpile has effectively created a way to…
…introduce people (especially younger generations) to investing.
But how can you possibly give someone a fractional share of a company?!
Stockpile’s CEO on Mad Money with Cramer
What are fractional shares?
Fractional shares present an excellent option for people that want to gift a valuable stock…
…but don’t want to pay for an entire share.
This form of investing is relatively new and has become a trendy choice for people with brokerages that offer this feature.
Here is how it works… (you can also read my fractional shares post)
Let’s say you want to purchase Amazon.com, Inc., which trades for around $1,500 per share.
You realize – that is way too much money for one gift!
However, with Stockpile, you can purchase a fractional share as small as $5!
You still receive a real ownership interest in your chosen company, but without breaking the bank.
Stockpile then collects these fractional shares and executes trades for entire shares, based on customer purchases, at the end of each day.
The owner of the stock will receive the same value increase (or decrease) in proportion to their fractional share – it works the same as if you purchased one full share of stock.
Also, you can purchase fractional shares of multiple companies and begin learning the value of diversification!
We particularly like Stockpile as a learning tool, mainly because of the option to purchase fractional shares.
Because it is a relatively risk-free way to learn the ins and outs of the market!
If you are more interested in robo-advisors, check out our review posts of Stash, Acorns, Wealthsimple.
Are there fees involved?
Short answer – yes, there are fees involved.
However, the fees with Stockpile are competitive compared to other brokerage firms.
Being a cheap investment option is not Stockpile’s value proposition – but it is an added bonus.
Instead, Stockpile’s primary selling point is that they give you the ability to purchase a gift card for tons of stocks on the market.
The purchaser of the gift card has the responsibility to pay the fees for each transaction.
The e-gift card fee for the first stock is $2.99. Additionally, there is a “swipe” fee for 3% of the purchase.
For example, if you purchase a $100 gift card, the debit card fee would be $3 plus the additional $2.99 making your purchase $105.99.
The physical gift card is more expensive compared to the e-gift card.
For the same $25, $50, or $100 gift card, the costs for each would be…
- $25 ($29.95 after fees)
- $50 ($56.95 after fees)
- $100 ($107.95 after fees)
Shipping is also charged for physical cards (but three or more cards ship for free!).
The fee to execute a trade is just 0.99 cents per trade.
This trade price is a bargain compared to other brokers that charge upwards of $6 per trade.
However, when you execute a trade, it is not “live.”
As mentioned earlier, the company makes trades with a delayed execution.
What markets can I invest in?
There are many different markets to choose from…
…but Stockpile operates exclusively in U.S. markets.
For this reason, Stockpile is limited to the options that they provide specifically when it comes to the number of investments offered.
However, the company does offer…
- Every stock in the S&P 500 (the brand-names you want!)
- Several thousand stocks from the NASDAQ
- ADR and ETF options
Stockpile does not offer any cryptocurrency (you can already buy fractions of those), bonds, or foreign market stocks.
However, we view this as a positive because beginners can avoid getting bogged down by too many options.
With that said, there are indeed no shortages of options to choose from!
Are these guys safe and legit?
When it comes to investing money…
…you need to know that your information and money are safe.
And while countless people find trusting brokerage firms difficult, there are governing bodies that regulate companies like Stockpile.
Stockpile is a member of both the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).
But why does that matter?
It matters because your deposits are insured up to $500K, and the company must follow all federal regulations.
Additionally, Stockpile uses 256-bit encryption to store and protect your data.
This level of encryption means all of your data is well-secured.
All sites – both public access and private accounts – are also protected with TLS 1.3. TLS 1.3 is one of the most reliable encryption tools available.
So, rest assured – you can rely on Stockpile to keep your information safe and secured!
How can I use Stockpile?
The platform that a brokerage runs can be one of the most critical factors for customers using brokerage services.
You have two options when using Stockpile’s platform…
Stockpile has an easy-to-use desktop platform that is great for new investors.
Everything, including account set-up, funding, purchasing, trading, and withdrawals are beginner-friendly.
Investors can learn the terms and navigate through the site quickly and efficiently.
The systems are not very complicated which is great for new users. Overall, the desktop version is very straightforward.
Stockpile also offers a mobile app that is compatible with Android and iOS systems.
This app provides the same features that you can get while using the desktop version.
In the app, you can check portfolio performance, make a deposit, request withdrawals, redeem gift cards, and even place your trades.
This feature gives users far more accessibility as Stockpile’s platform can be used anywhere and on virtually any device.
Can I learn about the stock market?
Understanding the markets as a beginner can be challenging…
…even experts have to be life-long learners of the markets.
Life-long learning is required because investing and the stock market are challenging and ever-changing subjects.
Fortunately, Stockpile has a downloadable app that can help users along the way.
The app walks users through different lesson plans and teaches them the basics of the stock market. These lessons range from beginner to advanced traders.
The app also provides market updates from Forbes, CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, and Consumer Reports.
These market updates can help people determine if they should purchase their fractional share or hold off.
This educational feature is something we love because it teaches users the risks of the market, the changes that can occur on a daily basis, and how their shares gain and lose value.
What are the special features?
Of course in this Stockpile review I will present some downsides.
So, unfortunately Stockpile does not come with many additional features that other brokerage services do not offer.
However, this is good because it prevents users from feeling overwhelmed.
Unlike many other platforms, Stockpile gives you the option to fund your account using credit and debit cards. Credit card funding is not typically available on most other online platforms (albeit for a good reason).
While using a credit card for investing can be risky, it does make this investment platform more accessible to a broader range of people.
Overall, Stockpile does an excellent job of not overwhelming new investors with too much information.
All of the information is easy to understand, which helps users decide what to buy based on their knowledge.
However, this could be a disadvantage for people looking to create a long-term portfolio because they don’t have the tools to forecast into the future. The lack of forecasting tools could force people to research other websites and then place their trades on Stockpile.
Here are some of the tools available on Stockpile’s website…
- Performance Chart. Provides necessary information on company performance.
- Company Fundamentals. Includes information like High and Low prices; P/E Ratio; Dividend amounts.
- Users can create their own stock watchlists.
- Related News. Users can create a list of daily news articles.
- Curated Lists. Users can see the best and worst performing stocks.
- Users can search for articles on market movements, financial strategies, and more.
How is their customer assistance?
Getting answers to an urgent question can be a challenging task.
Fortunately, Stockpile offers a built-in chat function that informs a team member of your question. A member of the company will respond within 24 hours.
There are no physical locations where customers can go to for help with their accounts.
However, this is part of what keeps the cost of Stockpile so low. The company also does not offer phone services, which can make people wary of using Stockpile’s systems.
The company does not have active traders because they execute all trades at the end of the trading day. Therefore, there is not much of a need for live customer service representatives.
Lastly, Stockpile does have active social media accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter.
You can use these platforms to read about company updates and offers for new tools and features.
How to purchase a gift card
Stockpile seeks to make investing more accessible for all ages. This accessibility aims to reach children, teenagers, and adults.
The company provides easy account access and opening your account is a breeze. You can set-up your first brokerage account in three simple steps…
1. Open an account to purchase a gift card (use this link)
- You must be a citizen of the United States.
- You can choose to open a custodial or a taxable account.
- For custodial accounts, the primary user must be over the age of 18.
Pro tip: use this link to create an account and Stockpile will gift you a FREE stock.
2. Add your bank account information to fund the new account
- You can do this by linking your bank account or using a credit/debit card.
3. Purchase a gift card
- You can purchase gift cards online and in-stores (including Safeway and Target).
- E-cards have face values of $10, $25, $50, $100 or a custom amount, up to $2,000.
- You can choose an e-card or physical card (at an additional cost).
Of course, we recommend the physical card if being given as a gift.
Additionally, each stock, ETF, or ADR has its own gift card with a unique look.
What I love about Stockpile
- The gift cards are easy to obtain, and the platform is easy to use.
- You can purchase in-store or have the gift card shipped directly to your home.
- You can buy a fractional share for as low as $5.
- There is also no minimum balance to carry with your account.
Low trade fees
- Trade fees are small compared to industry standards.
- You can execute a trade for just 0.99 cents.
Ease of use
- The trading platform is easy to use for beginners.
- There is an app and desktop site.
- Stockpile has an app that works for both Android and iOS.
- The app provides the same functionality as the desktop site.
What I don’t love about Stockpile
- The company only offers select stocks, ETFs, and ADRs available in the U.S.
- The company cannot fulfill orders immediately.
- The company must wait until the end of the day to combine fractional shares and execute the trades.
Limited educational resources
- The ‘Learn’ section is primarily intended for people that are very new to the markets.
- There are not many educational materials for those that have an intermediate to advanced understanding.
Limited research tools
- There are no tools or charting that allow for a detailed understanding of a stock.
- These tools could include things like RSI, MACD, or moving averages.
Stockpile review Summary
New investors may find large firms such as TD Ameritrade, J.P. Morgan, and E*TRADE confusing.
Learning to invest by the dollar (instead of by the share) creates a simplified version of investing that new investors can use to learn quickly.
By investing small amounts, you can see the benefit of saving money early and often.
Additionally, you do not need to break the bank to learn this lesson.
The ability to save money makes Stockpile ideal for younger generations because it teaches them the basics of investing at a very low cost.
As a bonus, you can help get people interested in investing at an early age.
Stockpile is an excellent way to get young people involved and understanding the complicated, and sometimes downright confusing, world of investing.
Instead of discovering stocks in college…
…I could have been buying and selling in grade, middle, or even high school.
Unfortunately, nobody introduced me to the stock market until my sophomore year in college!
Learning this lesson early on could have helped me discover my passion at an earlier age.
This idea also reminds me of something from back in the 90s…
…when my grandparents would purchase bonds and give them to me as gifts.
I later used these bonds to help pay for college, but they barely kept up with inflation
Well, in 2020, you can give the gift of stocks!
Stocks have significantly more potential to increase in value compared to bonds. Heck, if you buy the right stock at the right time, maybe you can skip college altogether.
…but now I want to know what you think.
Is Stockpile a good idea? What will you be giving your loved ones for Christmas this year?
Ең жақсы екілік опциялар брокері!