The 10 Best Gifts Money Can Buy
10. A Gold Bar
This is not a joke. I actually think getting someone a bar of gold is a wicked cool gift and also a great teaching tool. A 1-ounce bar will set you back about $1,300, but a gram goes for about $50 these days. Show the recipient how to track the price of gold for a valuable investing lesson.
9. Give to a Good Cause
Show someone you care about making the world a better place and make a donation in their name to a cause you think they will care about. I like the Purple Purse foundation that helps women get out of financially abusive relationships. Plus, your donation is tax deductible.
8. Buy Bitcoin!
Though it’s an incredibly volatile and speculative investment, bitcoin is a killer teaching tool to get a youngster interested in finance. Buying bitcoin isn’t exactly easy but there is a site that will mail you a bitcoin gift card.
7. Buy a Budget
This one you may want to save for someone you know really well. You Need a Budget has changed the lives of thousands of spenders and savers. YNAB turns traditional budgeting on its head and the results are dramatic!
6. US Treasury Bills and Bonds
Loan the government money through an electronic savings bond. Savings bonds are cooler than cash because you have to wait for the bond to mature. You can buy bonds, notes, and treasury bills directly from the US government. If you were born before 1990, you may have at one point received a savings bond certificate from an older relative, well sadly those no longer exist and it’s all done online. You can still get paper certificates with your tax refund by filling out form 8888, so add that to next year’s list.
5. Buy an Individual Stock
Instead of trying to explain the stock market hypothetically, give someone the gift of owning stock. Stockpile lets you purchase a gift card for a single company like Apple, Nike, or Netflix. Or, you can let the recipient choose where to invest.
Illustrate the power of crowdfunding and microlending by buying Kiva gift cards for coworkers. With just $25 the recipient can choose to loan money to thousands of individuals in need: from a grocer in Uganda in need of stock to mobile phone dealers in underbanked areas looking to expand their inventory.
3. Set up a Roth IRA for your Kids or a 529 College Savings Plan for a Relative
Every state has its own different 529 plan so start with this directory at savingforcollege.com. These tax advantaged accounts allow your money to grow until the child is ready to go to college. The rules are a little sticky so make sure you do your homework. If you’ve got kids already and want to get a head start on their retirement savings, set them up with a Roth IRA (up to $5,500 if they have earned income) and have them contribute any extra money they make from summer jobs or babysitting. It’s never to early to teach someone about the huge bummer of saving for retirement.
2. Open Up the World of Online Investing
Want to teach a younger family member how to invest? Set them up with their very own mutual fund account. Wealthsimple’s easy to use online investing platform lets you set up a balanced portfolio of ETFs and mutual funds in just a few minutes. You can choose one of their socially responsible portfolios and only invest in companies that pledge to reduce carbon emissions. With no minimums, you can start with just a $50 gift card.
1. Buy Someone a Book That Might Change Their Life
Dave Ramsey is the reigning king of personal finance advice. His get out of debt books are extremely powerful and have helped millions of people get out o debt. If you know someone with crushing student loan debt or credit card debt, grab them a copy of The Total Money Makeover.
Everyone in my family will be getting one of the following books. These are books that have changed my outlook on money and now inform my relationship to money.
Vicki Brown’s Your Money or Your Life is about being mindful of your money and not afraid of it. She advocates for a holistic view of your finances as a way to live your best life.
Thomas J. Stanley’s The Millionaire Next Door. This is now a personal finance classic but it’s one of the only page-turners I’ve come across in the personal finance literature space. If you’re looking to change someone’s entire outlook on life and take them off the path of conspicuous consumption, this is the book.
The Millionaire Teacher by Andrew Hallam. There’s a tendency to say that investing and wealth building is out of reach for so many because the system is stacked against them. Andrew Hallam tells a fascinating tale of how he built significant wealth on a very modest teacher’s salary.
The Unbanking of America by Lisa Servon
Everyone should read this book, period. Buy this for your boss, your mother, your best friend or your dry cleaner. Servon highlights alternative financial systems that have sprung up because the traditional banks have failed and taken advantage of so many lower income individuals.
Here’s how to order a book from your local bookshop instead of supporting a corporation actively trying to kill small business: Indiebound.org. Type in the book you want to buy and select your local bookstore. You’ll be taken to the store’s website. Most local bookstores use the same inventory tracking system so they have pretty sweet websites. Your bookstore will place an order for the book and you’ll have it pretty fast. Depending on which day you order you could have it in two days!