The average consumer expects to spend $1000 this year on holiday shopping, up 4.1 percent from last year, according to the National Retail Federation. If you’re a parent, it’s a good bet that much of that money will be spent on toys, games and other things your kids have asked for. It’s not a bad thing to want to give your children everything on their lists, but that doll or action figure they want so badly now may be sitting at the bottom of the toy bin in a few months. A gift that does keep on giving? A financial one. If you want to set your child up for a bright financial future, here are some gifts to consider this year. (And yes, you can still throw in a couple of toys, too.)
Only about half of the US population (54 percent) is invested in the markets, according to a 2017 Gallup poll. Get your child started early by gifting a share on a company that they’re familiar with says Robin Taub, CPA, CA and best-selling author of A Parent’s Guide to Raising Money-Smart Kids. ”When my daughter was born, my brother bought her one share of the Walt Disney Company. She receives a tiny amount of dividends every year, and the annual report. It’s a fun and tangible way to introduce a young person to the world of investing,” says Taub. When gifting your child with stock (which you can do through sites like Stockpile.com and GiveAshare.com), you can explain what it means to own a piece of a company, what dividends are and how you make money when the price goes up. Having some skin in the game will spark their interest.
If you want to give the gift of education, consider opening a tax-deferred 529 college savings plan. Anyone can contribute to your child’s 529, which makes it a great gift-giving option for any occasion like birthdays, and not just around the holiday season. Sure, your child won’t be able to “unwrap” their 529 under the Christmas tree (which, warning, may leave them a little bitter), but give it 10 years and they will greatly appreciate it when the tuition bill appears in the mail.
Giving your child something tangible where they can learn about and build money to become financially literate is one of the greatest gifts, says Jeannine Glista, executive producer of Biz Kid$, a TV series and financial literacy initiative. She says if your kids are elementary school age, you should get them started with a savings container like a Moonjar money box or a Money Savvy Pig where they can learn how to to save, spend and share.
You can also consider gifting your child with a savings account at the bank. A good option would be a certificate of deposit (CD) since your child probably won’t be needing that money for awhile. CD’s usually come with higher interest rates than regular savings accounts, so while your child’s money stays in the account it’ll be making a profit (and is designed to remain hands off). This will make a nice bonus when and if they need that money for a study abroad trip or a car payment down the road.
With Hattie Burgher