Gifts That Keep on Giving
Financial education is a present that will never break down or go out of style. In fact, long after many of this year's presents have been donated or recycled, a gift that teaches the value of money could be seeding college tuition, an entrepreneurial endeavor, or even a retirement nest egg. Your gift could also help a young person start to develop good financial habits that will encourage a positive relationship with money and a higher Return on Life once they’re earning on their own.
Consider slipping one of these financial presents under a loved one's tree this holiday season.
1. Savings Bonds
Explain to the recipient that you've, essentially, made a loan to the government in their name. Then, go to TreasuryDirect.gov and show them the difference between cashing that bond in this time next year and letting it earn interest for a couple decades.
2. 529 Savings Plan
The earlier kids start thinking about college and its costs, the better. 529s are tax-advantaged plans that can be used to save and invest money for a child's education. You don't have to be a parent to start a 529 for the promising young scholar in your life. And recent changes to tax laws have made 529s more flexible. In many cases, funds can be used for K-12 expenses, not just college, as well as paying back student loan debt. Starting in 2024, a portion of unused funds can be rolled over into a Roth IRA. And seniors who open 529 accounts for their grandchildren will also be giving themselves a little gift as contributions to a 529 are tax-deductible in many states.
3. Individual Stock Shares
During the "meme stock" craze, many young people treated investing like a game and lost big time. A better way to teach kids how the markets work is to buy them individual stocks in companies they know and use, or whose mission is important to them. Go shopping on sites like GiveaShare.com or UniqueStockGift.com, many of which sell shares with certificates that you can frame to make the gift a little more tangible. Then, help your loved one set up alerts for their stock on their phone or tablet, or show them how to look up individual stocks on a reputable website.
4. Savings or Investment Account
High-interest rates have made the power of compounding interest more visible on monthly savings account statements. Many online banks are offering very competitive rates right now, and, if you open a custodial account, you'll be able to monitor the account's progress no matter where you and the benefactor live. An online brokerage account at a major financial institution could also be an educational alternative to risky stock-swapping apps. If your loved one has started working, you could offer an "employer match" for a percentage of deposits into these accounts to teach them the value of paying yourself first.
5. An Appointment with Your Financial Advisor
We highly recommend wrapping this "present" with a gift card, cash, or a very nice meal. But we're always happy to talk to our clients' young relatives about their money and their plans for the future. Financial literacy just isn't taught in schools very much. We consider helping families preserve and grow their wealth from generation to generation an important part of our Life-Centered Planning process. We also have a suite of interactive tools that can help families visualize important milestones and demonstrate the importance of planning ahead.
The holidays are a great time to schedule your year-in-preview financial planning session too. Let’s get a meeting on your calendar and talk about how we can help you get more from your money in 2024.