Explaining Public Companies to My Son and Calculating How Much of Disney Does He Actually Own

by Evan

A few months ago my 9 year old son asked me a very interesting question, “who owns Target? they must be super rich and live in a mansion” and it led us into a very interesting conversation about publicly traded companies.

I started to explain that some businesses have one, two or 10 owners and being that he knows who I work for he completely understood the basic concept that some people own a company and some people are employees of that company.

Building from there I said that some companies choose to have many, many owners and that anyone in our amazing country could buy a piece of a public company. I said since you would be buying such a small, tiny piece of the company you don’t really have a say in how it is ran but if it is worth more than when you originally bought it you participate in that gain. I then blew his mind when I told him he owned .000000000000000000001% of Disney. While I have tried to explain to him that he basically owns nothing he proudly told The Wife that he was an owner of Disney.

We moved on, and it comes up every once in a while, but I thought it may be an interesting exercise to actually calculate how much of Disney he really owns.

Calculating How Much of Disney Does My Son Own?

Over the course of my son’s 9 years on this planet he has been fortunate enough to receive monetary gifts from friends, uncles, aunts, and grandparents. The Wife and I made a decision very early on that I would invest their money in Bonds and ETFs, however, after a few years of I decided to bail on the bond idea since they had decades before the money was needed and I moved them to entirely to equity heavy ETFs and a few stable companies. Kind of interesting that I wrote the linked post in 2012! My son was 2 and my daughter wouldn’t be born for 2 years – one of the coolest things about running a blog is the ability to take a look through the archives.

My best guess is that the aforementiond transition happened around 2014 since that is where his DIS holdings start:

I am not about to figure out how many shares he owns through the ETFs he owns because that seems like a massive headache! So for simplicity purposes let’s just say he owns 33.943 shares of Disney. The next question would then be how much of an owner of Disney is he?

A company’s outstanding share count can change quarter to quarter, however, according to MacroTrends in September of 2019 Disney had approximately 1,666,000,000 Shares (yes, that is 1.6 Billion with a B).

It is beyond the scope of the post, but I couldn’t help myself and I had to research that uptick. It had to do with the 21st Century Fox acquisition.

So now we know how many shares he owns and the amount of outstanding shares we can now divide the two numbers we know the outstanding shares and how much my son owns we can now divide and figure out the exact amount of Disney he owns.

My Son is a 0.00000203739495798319% owner of Disney.

Look at that he is doing better than I originally guessed!

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2 comments

Nick Mackintosh January 17, 2020 - 9:26 am

Hey Evan,

I can’t wait to explain this to my children! I have a 16 month old daughter, and another kid on the way. At the moment she just owns 3 index, 1 US, 1 Emerging Markets and 1 Real Estate.

We’re probably going to visit Universal/Disney again in 2023/2024 when “Epic Universe” opens. Once we’ve return I’ll probably buy 1 share of DIS and CMCSA each for the kids 🙂

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Evan January 21, 2020 - 1:35 pm

I got lucky, I went last year right and bought some options right before the recent pop – https://www.myjourneytomillions.com/articles/what-is-a-risk-reversal-options-strategy-entering-to-my-first-risk-reversal-strategy/

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