If the thought of navigating the toy aisle in an attempt to find a cool and appropriate gift for a birthday boy or girl both bewilders and terrifies you, it may be time to try a new approach. Kids today are accustomed to being showered with gifts on birthdays, Christmas and any other time retailers can convince us to go shipping. Unfortunately, many of most desirable gifts are expensive electronics or cheaply made fad items with an absurd markup. If you’re willing to end the quest to give the coolest gift — which will likely be broken or forgotten in a matter of months — you can start concentrating on giving gifts that will last. Smart financial gifts will be valued for years to come. Here are five of the best gifts for kids to get you started and, maybe, help you build into a tradition.
Five Gifts for Kids That Will Mature as They Do
Savings bonds are pretty lackluster when it comes to curb appeal (so to speak) but in a decade or two they’ll be much appreciated. Cashing out bonds can help with defraying the cost of a wedding, increasing the down payment on a first home or any number of big life events. Cashing out bonds is simple, but it’s not so easy that the money can be accessed on the spur of the moment to be used frivolously.
Gold coins are both interesting and guaranteed to increase in value. Throughout the history of the world, gold has been the most reliable standard of currency. Bank notes and semi-precious metals are interesting for collectors but rarely appreciate value. The US Money Reserve is one of the largest national distributors of government issued gold, silver and platinum coins. Just be sure they know these coins are meant for saving, not spending!
If you want to actively engage your young recipient you can make them a shareholder in a publicly traded company. Websites like Giveashare.com and Oneshare.com offer framed shareholder’s certificates to add a tangible aspect to the gift. You’ll also have something to talk about beyond the latest teen-pop sensation or must-have gadget. Learning about the economy is much more interesting and engaging when you have a stake in a company!
College Savings Contribution
Higher education is expensive, but necessary to build a healthy career in most fields. Contributing to a college savings plan can help defray that expense and limit the amount of student loans needed. One of the most popular savings plans is a 529 plan. Contributions must be used for educational purposed by the designated beneficiary. Investment earnings accrue tax-free and gift tax rules don’t kick in unless a gift over $13,000 is given.
Anyone with an earned income can contribute to a Roth IRA. A limit of $5,000 or the total of their earned income (whichever is less) is the maximum yearly contribution. For teenagers with a job, then, you could offer to match their income to a certain level with the caveat that the gift is put into a Roth IRA. The gift of learning money management and savings is one that will keep giving.
Have other gifts for kids ideas that you’d like to see added? Leave me a comment below!
This post was brought to you by guest author Gretchen Deaver.
The branch manager of a banking institution, Gretchen loves to use new technology to carry business ideas and information globally. She recently led a conference on technology in the world of banking. She loves sharing ideas on how to save money and diversify portfolios.