When you think of what to get your loved ones for the holidays, your mind likely goes toward objects, whether that’s a video game, a sweater, a household item, or the ever-pleasing present of a gift card. But this holiday season, why not try something different? According to The Wall Street Journal, “wealth advisers say a financial-related gesture or present might be the best gift of all — the one that keeps on giving.”
A financial gift doesn’t necessarily mean just handing over some cash. Rather, you can craft a financial gift that’s tailored to the needs and life stage of the recipient, whether that’s a contribution to a 529 college savings account or an appointment with a financial planner. As the Journal noted, “even small financial gifts can help to position young people for success or help seniors to enjoy their retirement.”
Money towards a 529 plan
If you have a kid in your life who’s eventually college-bound, then either opening or contributing to an already-open 529 college savings plan is a great gift. “These tax-advantaged accounts allow the owners to save for costs like college tuition without paying federal income tax, and many times state income tax, when they withdraw the money (as long as the money is used for qualified education costs),” as Money explained.
And in the instance the child’s future path doesn’t lead towards college or they don’t need the money to cover their educational costs, “the contributions can jump-start retirement savings,” the Journal noted.
Another option that a recipient of any age might enjoy is a stock. But for older kids in particular, the purchase of a stock in their name can be a great way to start to educate them about investing. As CNBC Select put it, “even if they don’t earn a lot of money, your child can watch the stock’s value fluctuate with the ups and downs of the market and feel confident to invest on their own when they’re old enough.”
You might make the gift a little more exciting by choosing a stock “in an industry that your child is interested in, such as sports or entertainment,” noted CNBC Select, and ideally, you’d aim to select a company with “long-term growth potential,” Brett Tharp, certified financial planner and eMoney Advisor education consultant, underscored to CNBC Select.
A contribution to a Roth IRA
The gift of a Roth IRA contribution may be especially welcomed among young adult recipients. With a Roth IRA, “you pay taxes on the money you put into the account, but withdrawals are tax-free,” which is why “opening a Roth IRA may be a good idea for the people in your life who are earlier in their careers, as they are likely in a lower tax bracket now than they will be when it’s time to withdraw the money,” explained Money.
Make sure you understand the rules and tax implications before you move forward with this option though. As Money highlighted, “you can only contribute to a Roth IRA as much as the owner of the account earns,” and you’ll also need to note the contribution limits for the year.
An appointment with a financial planner
An appointment with a financial planner is another possibility. As CNBC Select noted, “working with a financial planner can be essential during times of great transition, such as starting or leaving a job, getting married, starting a family or making a major purchase,” though there is “no harm in doing a financial check-up” any time.
A financial planner could help the recipient come up with a plan to pay off debt, if they have it, or plan for a home purchase or retirement. Just make sure to find a professional who is well-suited to their needs, and ideally look for a a planner who is “a fee-only fiduciary who charges a flat rate, as opposed to someone who gets paid on commission or by how much their clients earn in the market,” advised CNBC Select.