Holiday Gift Guide: Great Retirement and Investment Gifts for Everyone in the Family (Even the Kids)
Another gift guide? Yep! But, this one is focused on long term financial success and retirement happiness — not cool gadgets and warm sweaters — for everyone on your list, young and old.
Great Gifts for Kids of Any Age
Shares of an Index Fund
Let’s say that you have a child who is 10 years old, and you invest $2,500 in an index fund for them this holiday and are able to add $500 every year until they are 25. If they were to earn a 10% return (the long term average for the S&P) on that money, they would have accumulated $26,329 — a rather tidy sum — that could help them buy a house or just keep growing through retirement.
And, you would be teaching them valuable lessons about saving and investing over the long haul.
A 529 Contribution
A 529 college savings plan enables you to save for a child’s education on a tax-advantaged basis. Earnings in a 529 plan are not taxed currently and may be withdrawn if they are used for qualified colleges, universities, and graduate schools in the United States.
Some of the pros and cons to 529 plans include:
- The maximum amount you may contribute to a 529 plan varies by state
- 529 plan contributions will constitute a gift to the designated beneficiary. However, contributions of up to $15,000 ($30,000 if both parents make a separate gift) can be made without incurring a federal gift tax
- Withdrawals, when used for qualified expenses, are not subject to federal tax
- There are restrictions on investment choices
- Existence of a 529 can impact financial aid
Open a Roth IRA for Them
If your children or grandchildren have earned income and you want to give them money, it is really worthwhile to gift them the money into a Roth IRA account.
Sure, they are young and retirement is the farthest thing from their mind, but a Roth IRA grows tax free and most financial experts agree that a Roth IRA offers the best opportunity for increasing their long term wealth.
You are allowed to contribute any amount up to the total the child earned for the tax year. They must either have a W-2 or, if they work at odd jobs like babysitting, then they simply need to file their own tax return with the IRS.
Help Them Set Up a Retirement Plan
If you are reading this article, you are probably a user of the NewRetirement Retirement Planner. A number of users have said that they have sat down with their children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews and have helped them set up a retirement plan — as early as age 15.
One person said, “My 15 year old nephew created a retirement plan on NewRetirement. He ran scenarios on his salary at 25, savings rates, buying a house and more. I don’t know if he was dreaming big or being totally unrealistic when he input a $25k/month income at age 25, but he was clearly having fun and seeing the power money can give him.”
Make long term planning real for the young people in your life by helping them set up a real plan and encourage them to update it quarterly!
Allow Them to Lend Money to Good Causes
Want to spend as little as $25? Are you interested in teaching your loved one about money, the world and doing good?
You could give them a Kiva gift card. Kiva is a microlending platform that makes small loans to help people in developing countries improve their lives. With a gift card, you can browse the Kiva site and select a cause to support in hundreds of different countries and industries.
Over time, each lender is repaid and can use the money to make new loans to help fund other causes.
What to Give the Kids — 10 and Under
Pay Day is great for social interaction and a game that parents and children can play on a relatively even level. Simple and quick, a two lap game takes as little as 15 minutes. Players can make deals on property and earn money. They can save and make loans. The object is to have the most money at the end of the game.
Picture Books that Teach About Money
- Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday, Judith Viorst
- Isabel’s Car Wash, Sheila Bair
- Rock, Brock and the Savings Shock, Sheila Bair and Barry Gott
- If You Made a Million by David Schwartz and Steven Kellog
- Lemonade in Winter: A Book About Two Kids Counting Money
Financial Peace Junior Kit: Teaching Kids How to Win with Money
From guru Dave Ramsey comes Financial Peace Junior. It is a kit designed to help you teach your kids about money. It’s packed with tools, resources and step-by-step instructions for parents. The lessons of working, giving, saving and spending are brought to life through fun stories in the activity book, and kids will love tracking their progress on the dry-erase boards. “Financial Peace Junior doesn’t just give you the tools to teach your kids to win with money―it shows you how.”
Money Savvy Pig
The Money Savvy Pig is an award-winning children’s piggy bank that has four different slots — one for saving, one for spending, another for donating and the fourth for investing.
Cash Flow for Kids Board Game
Cash Flow for Kids is designed by the author of the popular self-help book, Rich Dad Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki. It is a bit expensive, but teaches real world financial skills in a fun way. Kids will catch on fast and they’ll soon be at ease with balance sheets, assets and liabilities.
What to Give the Kids — Tweens and Teens
A Debit or Monitored Credit Card — and the Time Each Month to Review and Pay it Off
We are big believers in learning through doing. And, by giving your teen or tween a debit or credit card, you will be teaching them as well as making you a great gift giver!
Just make sure that the child understands the rules associated with the card and be sure to set aside time each month to assess the purchases made with the card and to have them be involved in paying off the balance — in full — each month. However, do show them the amount of interest they would be paying if it were not paid off.
Needing control? Greenlight is a kids debit card that enables you to control where money can be spent and you get a notification immediately about all purchases.
Book: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
Want to encourage thinking about how to solve problems in the world for better financial lives for all? Try this book: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba. There is also a young readers and a picture book edition.
It is a remarkable true story about human inventiveness and its power to overcome crippling adversity. It will inspire anyone who doubts the power of one individual’s ability to change his community and kiva
better the lives of those around him.
More Books About Money and Entrepreneurship for Teens and Tweens
There are lots of great books for helping tweens and teens learn about money. Here are some great options for all kinds of readers:
- National Geographic Kids Everything Money: A Wealth of Facts, Photos and Fun (Ages 8 – 12)
- Show Me the Money: Big Questions About Finance (8-12)
- How to Turn $100 into $1,000,000: Earn! Save! Invest! by James McKenna, Jeannine Glista and Matt Fontaine (10-14)
- The Teenage Investor: How to Start Early, Invest Often & Build Wealth
- What All Kids Should Know About Savings and Investing
- The Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens: 8 Steps to Having More Money Than Your Parents Ever Dreamed Of
The Stock Exchange Game
Want the kids to learn about the stock market and risk? Try The Stock Exchange Game.
Think of each trip around the board as a year in your life. Investing with the goal of how to retire. Early in the game, purchase risky assets with higher returns, then later in the game sell the risky stocks for safer, more stable investments. “Wheel and Deal” buying and selling stocks to flip profit into more money! The investor to retire with the most assets wins!
Great Money Themed Gifts for Adults — Young and Old
Give Your Loved One a Little Extra Time!
We all talk a lot about money, but the really precious resource is actually time. Having more time to do what you really want to do is what improves lives! Showing your family this value is as critical as teaching them to save their money.
So, maybe think about a gift that could give the recipient more time? A monthly housecleaner? A meal delivery service? A baby sitter?
What is a task that they don’t love doing that you could help outsource for them?
On the subject of time, giving experiences is a great gift idea. What is something you can gift that they will enjoy? Is it something you can enjoy doing together?
Experiences are scientifically proven to be more emotionally engaging and memorable that something easily wrapped up and tied with a bow.
There are so many great books related to effective investing, retirement planning and living and aging well.
Here are some of our current favorites:
The Five Minute Journal: A Happier You in 5 Minutes a Day by Intelligent Change: Using the science of positive psychology to improve happiness, The Five Minute Journal focuses your attention on the good in your life. Improve your mental well-being and feel better every day.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey: Stephen R. Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, has been a top seller for the simple reason that it ignores trends and pop psychology for proven principles of fairness, integrity, honesty, and human dignity.
The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich: This book has been the guide to thousands who want to retire early, very early.
The Intelligent Investor: This is a classic that focuses on a strategy of loss minimization over profit maximization.
The Psychology of Money: Timeless Lessons on Wealth, Greed, and Happiness: Doing well doesn’t actually have much to do with what you know. People who are good with money have better habits, which are hard to teach, even to really, really smart people. Listen to Housel’s most recent interview about the book on the NewRetirement Podcast. (Or, tune into his first appearance on the show where he talked about millennials and a $30 trillion wealth transfer that may transform our future.
Mindset: The New Psycology of Success: After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In this brilliant book, she shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities.
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill: Think and Grow Rich has been called the “Granddaddy of All Motivational Literature.” It was the first book to boldly ask, “What makes a winner?”
The Bogleheads Guide to Investing: The fundamentals of sophisticated and smart retirement investing, kept simple.
Women Rowing North: Navigating Life’s Currents and Flourishing as We Age, Mary Pipher: Drawing on her own experience as daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, caregiver, clinical psychologist, and cultural anthropologist, Pipher explores ways women can cultivate resilient responses to the challenges they face.
I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts About Being a Woman, Nora Ephron: From the writer of some of our most beloved romantic comedies and numerous books comes an uproarious tale about life as a woman of a certain age.
The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100, Dan Buettner: Building on decades of research, longevity expert Dan Buettner has gathered 100 recipes inspired by the Blue Zones, home to the healthiest and happiest communities in the world.
Lifespan: Why We Age — and Why We Don’t Have To, David A. Sinclair: Through a page-turning narrative, Dr. Sinclair invites you into the process of scientific discovery and reveals the emerging technologies and simple lifestyle changes—such as intermittent fasting, cold exposure, exercising with the right intensity, and eating less meat—that have been shown to help us live younger and healthier for longer.
You Are a Badass, How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero: Twenty seven quick chapters with funny stories, sage advice, easy exercises, and the occasional swear word, helping you to create a life you totally love.
The Happiness Curve: Why Life Gets Better After 50, Jonathan Rauch: Research suggests that happiness slumps in midlife. Full of insight and data, The Happiness Curve features many ways to endure the slump and avoid its perils and traps.
10% Happier Revised Edition: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story by Dan Harris: The science supporting the health benefits of meditation continues to grow as does the number of Americans who count themselves as practitioners but, it took reading 10% HAPPIER to make me actually want to give it a try.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson: Maybe try the millenial self help guide from a superstar blogger who shows how to stop trying to be positive all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.
The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future by Ryder Carroll: Organize your thoughts and focus on what is meaningful to you.
A Random Walk down Wall Street: The Time-tested Strategy for Successful Investing: This is considered the one book you really need to read if you want to manage your own investments.
Successful Aging: A Neuroscientist Explores the Power and Potential of Our Lives by Daniel J. Levitin: Levitin argues that aging isn’t a process of decay but a third stage of development.
Whatever You Do, Don’t Overspend
Research indicates that consumers expect to spend less on holiday gifting in 2020.
And, while projected travel spending is down 41 percent; spending on home furnishings and holiday decorations are expected to be up by 12 percent as people make the best of a holiday season at home.
Whatever you do, be sure to think about your spending in terms of both the short and long term benefits. Every cent you spend on yourself and loved ones impacts your (and their) life now and all the way into your future.
Budget holiday purchases with an eye toward your monthly expenditures, but also your long term financial plan so that you can eventually have the ultimate stress free holiday — retirement!