Holiday Gift Guide: Great Financial Wellness 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.

financial gift

Whatever You Do, Don’t Overspend

Before we get into some of the extravagant and affordable gifts below, let’s talk a bit about spending.

This year, nearly 7 out of 10 shoppers expect to overspend, according to a September survey of 2,408 Americans conducted by YouGov for CNET Money.

Spending will be focused on close family members.

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! Use the NewRetirement Planner to help you assess how today’s spending will impact your future security.

Great Gifts for Kids of Any Age (2-102)

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, with the markets in a slump this year, it is possible that your investment could grow more meaningfully.

Best of all, 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 Earnings in a 529 plan are not taxed currently and may be withdrawn if they are used for qualified colleges, universities, and graduate schools in the United States.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!

NOTE: NewRetirement does not currently have a way to manage user ids and passwords to make “gift subscriptions” available. However, quite a few people have printed images of the Planner along with the money to fund PlannerPlus as a gift.

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.

Share Values, Memories, Your Legacy

Estate planning experts advise that the best thing you can pass on to your heirs are your values. Explore ways to share meaningful conversations about your beliefs and what you think made you successful.

The Essential Questions: Interview Your Family to Uncover Stories and Bridge Generations by Elizabeth Keating helps you to share or uncover the your unique memories and to create a lasting connection with family members.

What to Give the Kids – 10 and Under

Monopoly

The classic real estate building empire game is going strong. You can go with the classic game. Or, try the Fortnite, Star Wars, National Parks, Elf or almost limitless other variations.

Pay Day

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

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:

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

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?

Experiences

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.

Some of Our Favorite Books About Personal Finance

There are so many great books related to effective investing, retirement planning and living and aging well.

The Simple Guide to Wealth , by J.L. Collins: This book has fast become a classic. It is written by a financial advisor for his daughter.

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.

The Bogleheads Guide to Investing: The ultimate guide to keeping investing simple and consistent with low costs.

A Random Walk down Wall Street: The Time-tested Strategy for Successful Investing by Burton Malkiel: This is considered the one book you really need to read if you want to manage your own investments. It was reissued in 2022. Listen to Malkiel talk to NewRetirement founder on the NewRetirement Podcast.

Retire Before Mom & Dad: The Simple Numbers Behind a Lifetime of Financial Freedom by Rob Berger: For anyone hoping to FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early), this book is a great guide.

Favorite Books About Living a Good Life

The Good Life: Lessons from the World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness: This book documents findings from the longest scientific study of happiness ever conducted. Authors Robert Waldinger, MD and Marc Schulz, PhD currently lead the Harvard Study of Adult Development , a research project started in 1938 with the aim to find out what makes for a good life, what makes people thrive, and how to achieve happiness. 

Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How It Can Transform Your Life, by Dacher Keltner: That feeling you have when looking at the night sky filled with stars, marvel at the tininess of a newborn’s fingernails, or hear your favorite music: that is awe. And, Dacher Keltner, a bestselling author and psychology professor at the University of California, Berkeley, believes that finding awe is the real secret to happiness (and better health too). 

The Fun Habit: How the Pursuit of Joy and Wonder Can Change Your Life, by Dr. Mike Rucker: Author, Dr. Mike Rucker, is an organizational psychologist and charter member of the International Positive Psychology Association. He cites endless research that show the varied benefits of fun.

Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman: Time is our most precious resource. Drawing on the insights of both ancient and contemporary philosophers, psychologists, and spiritual teachers, Oliver Burkeman delivers an entertaining, humorous, practical, and ultimately profound guide to time and time management.

Atomic Habits by James Clear: An easy and proven way to build good habits and break bad ones.

How to Know a Person by David Brooks: As David Brooks observes, “There is one skill that lies at the heart of any healthy person, family, school, community organization, or society: the ability to see someone else deeply and make them feel seen—to accurately know another person, to let them feel valued, heard, and understood.”

Hidden Potential by Adam Grant: We live in a world that’s obsessed with talent. We celebrate gifted students in school, natural athletes in sports, and child prodigies in music. But admiring people who start out with innate advantages leads us to overlook the distance we ourselves can travel. We underestimate the range of skills that we can learn and how good we can become. We can all improve at improving. 

Build the Life You Want: The Art and Science of Getting Happier by Arthur C. Brooks and Oprah Winfrey: Drawing on cutting-edge science and their years of helping people translate ideas into action, they show you how to improve your life right now instead of waiting for the outside world to change.

Be Useful: Seven Tools for Life by Arnold Schwarzenegger: Arnold’s stratospheric success happened as part of a process. As the result of clear vision, big thinking, hard work, direct communication, resilient problem-solving, open-minded curiosity, and a commitment to giving back. All of it guided by the one lesson Arnold’s father hammered into him above all: be useful. As Arnold conquered every realm he entered, he kept his father’s adage close to his heart.

Excellent Advice for Living: Wisdom I Wish I’d Known Earlier by Kevin Kelly: On his 68th birthday, Kevin Kelly began to write down for his young adult children some things he had learned about life that he wished he had known earlier.  To his surprise, Kelly had more to say than he thought, and kept adding to the advice over the years, compiling a life’s wisdom into these pages. 

More Great Books About Personal Finance

Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon by Michael Lewis: Famed author of MoneyBall, Liar’s Poker and other great finance-themed reads, Michael Lewis, tackles cryptocurrency, taking readers into the mind of Sam Bankman-Fried, whose rise and fall offers an education in high-frequency trading, cryptocurrencies, philanthropy, bankruptcy, and the justice system. 

Advice from My 80-Year-Old-Self by Susan O’Malley: What advice would your 80-year-old self give to you? That is the question artist Susan O’Malley asked of more than 100 people from all walks of life – young and old.

Happy Money, The Japanese Art of Making Peace with Your Money by Ken Honda: Too often, money is a source of fear, stress, and anger. Honda teaches the reader how to treat money as a welcome guest, allowing it to come and go with respect and without resentment.

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.

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?”

Great Books About Aging Well

Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity by Peter Attia: A groundbreaking manifesto on living better and longer that challenges the conventional medical thinking on aging and reveals a new approach to preventing chronic disease and extending long-term health, from a visionary physician and leading longevity expert.

The Well-Lived Life: A 102-Year-Old Doctor’s Six Secrets to Health and Happiness at Every Age by Gladys McGarey, M.D.: Dr. Gladys McGarey, the centenarian mother of holistic medicine, reveals “a story that teaches as much as it inspires” (Edith Eger, New York Times bestselling author), filled with life-changing secrets for how to live with joy, vitality, and purpose at any age.

Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age by Sanjay Gupta M.D.: Keep your brain young, healthy, and sharp with this science-driven guide to protecting your mind from decline by neurosurgeon and CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta.

Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life: How to Finally, Really Grow Up by James Hollis: Jungian psycho-analyst James Hollis believes it is only in the second half of life that we can truly come to know who we are and thus create a life that has meaning. 

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 by 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 by 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.

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.

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.

Life Part Two: Seven Keys to Awakening with Purpose and Joy as You Age by David Chernikoff: What Carl Jung called “the second half of life” has the potential to be a remarkable curriculum for insight and awakening. When wisely understood, the changes inherent in the aging process become stepping-stones to the actualization of our best human qualities: wisdom, lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity.

More Books About Living Well at Any Age

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.

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 millennial 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.

About NewRetirement

For people who want clarity about their choices today and their financial security tomorrow, NewRetirement is a financial planning platform that gives people the ability to discover, design and manage personalized paths to a secure future.

Our goal is to make high quality low cost financial guidance available to everyone. More than 200,000 people representing more than $200 Billion in wealth currently trust the system to make the most of their money and time. The platform can be co-branded or white labeled for partners. Additionally, the company provides API access to companies who wish to embed planning functionality within their own site.

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