Kids may seem easy to please, but buying a gift that will last more than a few hours, or even minutes, can be quite the task for parents and loved ones. After all, you spend your valuable time and money picking something out, so you would want them to use and benefit from it for a long time.
Financial gifts are a great idea because they can help your children grasp the concept of money and learn about concepts like responsibility, money management, investment, and planning for the future. And you can rest assured that these gifts aren’t going to end up in the bin the same day!
Here are some financial gift ideas for kids:
Saving for College
Open up a 529 college savings plan for your child and they’ll be thanking you by the time graduation rolls around! After an initial investment into the account, you can encourage the child to make their own regular contributions as well. Not only is this a good gift to help them learn financial planning, but it also drives home the importance of education.
This is a gift better suited for children who have entered high school or even middle school as those who are younger than that may not be able to understand the importance of it. As a bonus, you can also take advantage of the tax advantages provided in different states for such accounts!
A Piece of the Stock Market
While the older generation used to focus on getting rich before investing in the stock market, kids these days are investing in the stock market to get rich. And they are getting started younger than ever before!
How better to teach a child about the stock market than to make them actual shareholders? There are several apps and websites where you can buy a stock, and these will help the child track it and watch the stock grow as well. To sweeten the deal, you can buy a stock from a company or brand that they are familiar with and love, like Disney or Target. You can get a frameable stock certificate to give them as a token of their first investment too!
This is another way to get kids involved in investments from an early age other than buying stocks. You can set up automated payments using a service like Acorns Early, which rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and invests the spare change into an account for your kids. Acorn then selects a mix of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to invest in, based on your financial interests.
Investing accounts are similar to 529 accounts in that it can only be accessed by the child once they reach the legal adult age, but they’re different in terms of what that money can be used for because a college savings account restricts the use of the money for education-related expenses only. There are no such restrictions with an investment account.
A savings account is basically a grown-up version of a piggy bank, and kids love to feel grown-up, don’t they?
A savings account is a great way to help them learn about banking. Make sure to find a bank that offers free accounts and doesn’t impose any restrictions or requirements regarding things like minimum balance requirements. You might even be able to find one that offers a pretty good interest rate!
Another similar option is Greenlight, a debit card for kids. The best part about Greenlight is that parents can control things like automatic allowance payments, determine where the money can be spent, assign chores for payment, and even establish a parent-paid interest rate. All this can be done very easily through their app.
“We want kids to be able to grow with Greenlight,” says founder and CEO Tim Sheehan. “Whether they’re young or they’re an older teenager in high school, they’ll still be able to get a lot of value out of it.”
Certificate of Deposit (CD)
Another great option to set aside savings for your child’s future is a certificate of deposit. CDs also come with a higher interest rate than saving accounts, and they come with fixed time periods which can range from a few months to several years. Typically, CDs with longer terms come with higher interest rates.
The only downside is that withdrawing the money before the end of the terms can come with penalties, although it can be seen as a positive in terms of removing temptations to do so.
Is there a better financial gift than money? It might seem a bit too easy for you, but which kid wouldn’t be excited to be given money?
However, instead of just handing over a $20 bill and asking them to buy what they want, you can help them figure out what they want to do with it. You can teach them to budget by helping them allocate parts of it for different purposes such as saving, spending, or even charity. Or you could help the child open up a bank account with their “own” money.
Cash is a great gift for younger kids who may not be able to understand the concepts of investing or saving for college. Kids as young as three or four can understand the importance of cash and even several concepts around it!
Kiva Gift Card
Giving your child the gift of charity can be a powerful and important lesson, and that’s why we think a gift card to a service like Kiva is a great financial gift. It is a microlending platform that provides small loans to help people in developing countries improve their lives.
Your child will be able to look through the website and choose which causes to support and decide how much to lend to each of them. Once their loan has been repaid over time, they can repeat the process and keep it going. You can even encourage them to make small contributions to their Kiva fund from time to time.
Money-Related Board Games
Thinking your child wouldn’t be impressed by any of the above or are too young to understand the spirit of most financial gifts? Board games are your best option!
Not only are board games fun to play with and help children learn about money-related concepts like management, banking, saving, investing, buying, selling, and more – they are technically “toys”, so score!
Make sure to pick board games that involved money-related concepts like Monopoly and Life. These games are classic and for good reason. You can play these games with them and take the time to explain the underlying concepts regarding banking, investing, and more. Make it more fun and engaging by relating the game to real-world situations.
Savings bonds are a great idea for kids who won’t be tempted to cash them quickly, so either very young or a bit older when they are able to grasp the concept. You can buy the bonds online on the government’s treasury website and they can be issued in the child’s name as well!
These are ultimately a type of loan you lend to the government. They can be redeemed after 12 months, but cashing them too early would mean you are going to lose interest or even incur penalties. Certain types of bonds can earn interest even up to 30 years.