Gift Ideas to Teach the Little Ones about Money

Are you looking for gift ideas for the little ones in your family?

Crazy spending during the festive season adds up quickly; the average Aussie spends $492 on gifts at Christmas. Rather than fork over cash for gifts to be forgotten in a few months, make the silly season a chance to invest in your child’s financial future.

Sure, it might not be the most thrilling present they’ve ever received on Christmas morning (cue eye rolls and sighs) but they’ll come to realise that financial education really is the gift that keeps on giving.

Gift Ideas that make a difference

Open a savings account

A consistent savings habit is the foundation of smart money management and the sooner we start, the better. Encouraging your child to develop saving behaviour is one of the best things you can do to set them up for a bright financial future.

Open a savings account and make an initial deposit as a gift. Instead of giving them an open line of credit (aka – your wallet) for all those ‘have to haves’ encourage them to save for it themselves. Check out comparison sites like Canstar, Infochoice and RateCity to compare children’s savings accounts.

Money jars – invest, save and spend

A step up from piggy banks for the little ones, money jars are a great gift for older kids, to teach them more strategic savings strategies. It’s a simple way to help kids understand the importance of generosity too.

gift ideasLabel three jars with “spend”, “save” and “donate”. Ask your child what they’d like to set as the goal for their savings jar. Maybe it’s a video game, clothes, etc. Figure out the cost of the item and write the dollar amount as the goal on the savings label.

Give a small gift of cash for all three jars as a kickstarter and then it’s up to them to divide their pocket money or other gifted money between the jars. If you pay pocket money each week, give it in smaller notes or coins so it can easily be divvied up between the jars.

This is a simple but incredibly effective way to instil strong financial habits and motivate your child to save.

Buy stock in a company they choose

Get your teenager excited about investing and buy some stocks on their behalf this Christmas.

If you don’t already have a brokerage account, set one up and then spend some time helping them learn about investing by covering the basics.

Let them choose a stock by researching companies on the ASX website, or relevant index in your country, check out ones that they might be familiar with or interested in.

Over the coming months, check in together and see how the stock is performing. Use the check-ins as an opportunity to begin to cover more sophisticated investment education.

If all goes to plan and you spark some interest in investing, your teenager may want to begin to make their own contributions to the investment.

Books

“The truth is that money doesn’t make you rich, knowledge does.” Robert Kiyosaki

booksIf your kids love to read, a book about smart money management is one of the best gifts you can give them. There is a huge selection of age-appropriate financial literacy books on offer. A few recommendations:

Rich Dad, Poor Dad – For TeensRobert Kiyosaki

The classic Rich Dad, Poor Dad updated for a teen audience by personal finance guru Robert Kiyosaki. This book was one of the most influential on my obsession with learning about money and investing.

Financial Peace Junior Book Set –  Dave Ramsey

Champion of debt-free living, Dave Ramsey has created a series of books for kids based on his phenomenally popular Financial Peace University. Lessons include how earning money works, how to save and pay cash, the importance of giving and dangers of debt.

How Turn $100 into $1000000 – James McKenna

Aimed at young readers this book is packed with practical tips for kids to learn the basics of earning, saving, spending, and investing money. Written by the creators of Biz Kid$ and Bill Nye the Science Guy.

Start a micro-investing account 

‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now’ – Chinese Proverb

Raiz (previously Acorns) is a micro-investing app that allows you to invest virtual ‘spare change’ into a diversified portfolio of exchange-traded funds. The app has a feature, Raiz Kids, to help parents save and invest on behalf of kids under 18.

Raiz Kids sits within your main Raiz account and you invest spare change from everyday purchases or set up recurring deposit towards the Raiz account for your child.

Quite a few Christmases down the track, when you gift your child a tidy sum, you’ll be glad you got started now.

Cash…with a few strings attached

If your teenagers seem to burn through every dollar they have, incentivise them to begin a savings habit by gifting them cash… with strings attached.

cashLet’s say you give $100 you could agree to double the amount if they haven’t spent any of it by 1st of February and then again on the 1st of April.

Board games

Let’s all put down our screens for a while and get back to some good old fashioned fun; board games!

There are some great money themed board games to help teach your kids spending, saving and investing skills. Check out, Cash Flow For Kids, Act Your Wage, Stockpile or the 70’s classic PayDay.

Are you giving your child, or a little one in your life, a powerful money gift this Christmas?

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