The holiday season and the run up to Christmas bring not only family get-togethers, parties, fun time, and gifts to the forefront, but also the awareness of the cost of these activities. Whether you are a concerned parent, grand parent, uncle, aunt, or sibling who desires to instill sound financial values or somebody who feels that Christmas has been over commercialized, you can provide financial gifts that will be treasured over the long term. There are plenty of financial gifts that you can choose from depending on the age and needs of the recipient.

1. Piggy Banks

Very young children will love to receive a piggy bank as a gift. Children who are old enough to receive an allowance will benefit from a piggy bank that enables them to save for longer term goals. Depending on your budget, you can choose from a basic piggy bank, a transparent model, or a piggy bank with four compartments for spending, saving, charity, and investing. This gift will encourage young children to learn the basics of budgeting as well as appreciate the benefits of delayed gratification. The hands-on and visible savings system will appeal to very young children who cannot yet think in the abstract.

2. Savings Account

Parents of older children should consider opening a savings account and explaining the concept of interest – money working for you. Parents can open a checking account, an account that enables online transactions, and so on depending on the age and maturity of the child. Older children will be thrilled to be admitted into this world of real finances and have their name listed on a bank account. If your child has started earning some money through part time jobs, such an account will help them save for sizeable and big ticket items.

3. Games

Most children are fascinated by money and you can encourage this interest to help them understand every aspect of this tool. Games that help children understand the value of money include the classic Monopoly as well as newer ones such as MoneywiseKids and Cashflow. These games will help the budding entrepreneur. Before you purchase board games that require multiple players, consider the situation of the child and ensure that the game will be used.

4. Toys

The Teaching Cash Register is an outstanding and tremendous toy that can be used to help young children identify the various coins and also their relationship with each other and currency bills. This toy will also help improve their addition and subtraction skills. Their math teacher will be impressed and proud.

5. Movies

Tweens, teens, and young adults will enjoy movies that have a financial theme. Depending on the message you want to convey you can consider It’s a Beautiful Life, Boiler Room, Confessions of a Shopaholic, or one dealing with Wall Street or the riveting movie of that same title or the sequel. Such movies can be a fabulous introduction to difficult ideas and concepts about money.

6. Books

If the recipient you have in mind is an avid reader, you should consider gifting a book that deals with personal finances, money management, investing, or budgeting. There are plenty of books on these themes available, giving you a choice of topics, writing styles, and for different age groups. By picking a book that meets a need in the recipient, you will be gifting something that helps them in the long term. Some of the books along these lines are books written by the great Steve Forbes, Peter Lynch, and any book from the Motley Fool.

7. Online Courses

If you are aware that your child, sibling, spouse, or friend is struggling from specific personal finance issues, consider gifting them an online financial course that will help them deal with it. In fact, such a course can be gifted to teens who have just started working or are planning to move out of the parental home as well. By educating the person before they make mistakes, you will be able to ensure that they have a fantastic and strong financial future. You can choose from debt management courses, budgeting courses, and investment courses or retirement planning courses depending on the requirements of the recipient.

University of Phoenix offers outstanding financial courses although these could be a little rigorous and expensive.

8. Time with a Financial Planner

If you are looking for a financial gift for an older teen or young adult, you can also gift them an hour or two with a certified financial planner. The advice and suggestions they will obtain will help them throughout their life, making this a truly life-long gift. The planner can help them by providing impartial and unbiased financial insights.

9. Budgeting Software

Many busy young people do not have the time to track their expenses or manage their personal finances, leading them into debt. If you need to find a financial gift for a young, financially independent person, consider gifting an online budgeting software. Such programs and applications make it easier for the busy executive, mother, or multi-tasking person to keep track of their personal finances. By providing them with an easier way to track expenses, investments, and income, you will help them meet their financial goals.

10. Stocks

Almost anyone would like to receive stocks in companies that manufacture their favorite products. Whether you decide to gift stocks in a company such as Starbucks, a fashion company, Disney, an IT firm, you will be assured of the recipient’s appreciation. These gifts need not be very expensive and can yet help start the portfolio for the recipient. You can make this gift more appealing by combining a stock certificate with a gift certificate or small product from the same company. This combination of short term and long term gifts will be appreciated by recipients of every age group. Consider including a brief analysis of the company’s performance so that the recipient understands the basics of investing in stocks.

Imagine if you bought your 6 year old 5 shares of the next The Home Depot, Google, Baidu, Halliburton, or Lululemon!

11. College Savings Plan

Parents, grandparents, uncles, and aunts can help ambitious school going students by contributing to their college savings plan. Do not worry, if they decide to enter the military or learn a trade rather than attending college, that money can be rolled over or still used in trade school. Moreover, a contribution to their 529 account will motivate the students to study hard and plan for their future even as they realize the importance of financial planning.

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