With the holiday soon approaching, you are probably scrambling trying to find the perfect gift.

Before you buy Dad another tie, Mom another picture frame, or your kid another Apple device that they absolutely doe not need, consider the following options.

As a financial advisor, I see families waste this perfect opportunity to give a gift that keeps on giving.

Below are some gifts for the holidays that make “good financial cents” that this financial advisor approves of.

1. Earlier the Better.

Owning a toy or any other new gadget has its initial bliss, but what about getting a gift that allows you to have ownership for the rest of your life? Now, that is a real gift!

One way you could this is to buy a real share of stock.  Doing so will give the individual real ownership in the company and also be able to track how their stock grows.

A more diversified approach could be buying an ETF or a mutual fund.   It’s pretty cool then you can show the person that they own several companies all with one a very small investment.

2. The Power of Reading.

Getting a new iPad may allow you to become a master of Angry Birds, but what about mastering your finances? One of the easiest ways to do this is to buy a financial book as a gift. A good financial book can have a lasting impact on the gift recipient.

A few of my favorite choices would be Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover, David Bach’s The Automatic Millionaire, or Carl Richards’ The Behavior Gap. If you have someone that is in more of the entrepreneurial mindset, some of my favorites include Tim Ferriss’ Four Hour Work Week, Chris Guillebeau’s The $100 Startup, and Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad.  (Also check out my recap post on the best books for entrepreneurs).  Any one of these books will open horizons for the reader more than any other gift could.

3. A Gift for the Future.

Gift cards are an easy cop out when you have no idea what to buy.  Unfortunately, most gift cards are wasted on buying crap that the person does not need. Why not give a gift card that actually goes towards someone’s financial goals? Enter Betterment Gifts. Betterment has created an easy and a cheap gift registry that allows others to give gifts towards others financial goals. It’s such a neat idea that I definitely had to include it here.

4. Pay to play.

Most young couples are clueless when getting started with their finances. They often go to coworkers or friends for advice, which ironically these individuals are just as inexperienced as they. Most young couples would benefit from meeting with a financial planner to help them get started on the right track, but since most young couples think they can’t afford it, the meeting with the financial planner never happens.

One gift that would be incredibly helpful for this young couple would be to pay for a meeting with a financial planner. A parent could find a financial planner at either CFP.net or through the NAPFA a registry fee-only planners that could help this young couple out. The cost may be anywhere from $100 to $500 but will give this young couple the tools and resources they need to succeed financially.

A cheaper solution could be recommending or referring the young couple to Betterment. Not only do they offer super cheap investment portfolios, but they also offer advice on your financial goals. The best part is you don’t have to leave your living room to refer it or sign up. :)


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