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Here’s How You Can Educate Your Children About Personal Finance

Financial literacy is the gift that keeps on giving. When you help put a child or a young person on the path of financial learning, you’re giving them the opportunity to expand their knowledge about saving, investing, and developing financial independence down the road. Instead of giving today’s toy that will end up being tomorrow’s trash when your child’s interest wanes, consider the following financial gift ideas that include everything from board games and savings bonds to CDs and investing accounts.

Because when the presents have been opened, the wrapping paper is in the recycle bin, and that new toy has lost its short-lived luster, what’s more valuable than a gift that lasts a lifetime?

Photo: Flickr/GotCredit

Investing Accounts, Savings Bonds, and A College Fund

Automated services such as Acorns Early can make managing an investment account easy and less time-consuming. How it works:   Acorns Early rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar, then invests the spare change into an account you’ve set up for your kids. Once your kids are ready to understand and manage their own financial investments and choices, your account can be easily transferred to them.

Education costs are high, that’s a fact. And although your kids are too young to be preparing for college, you’re definitely not. Talking with them about the value of a good education will pay off in the long run, especially if you’ve made plans to pay for the actual education itself. Investing in 529 college savings plans, which are offered by states, comes with tax advantages while allowing you to either save and invest money set aside for higher education or to prepay tuition.

Savings bonds are like loans you make to the U.S. government in your child’s name. Although they can be redeemed any time after 12 months, cashing them too soon can mean not only lost interest and but also penalties. Series EE or I savings bonds will earn interest for up to 30 years, making them a stable long-term investment. To make savings bonds purchases, go to TreasuryDirect.gov.

Photo: Flickr.com/Mike Mozart

Kiva Gift Card

Money talks, so they say, and with a Kiva Gift Card it says volumes about making the world better a little at a time. The upshot: Kiva makes small loans to assist people in developing countries better their lives, and it’s not just for adults. A child can peruse the Kiva site and use their $25 gift card to support a cause of their choosing with the gift. Over time, each lender is repaid and can then use the money to make a new loan that will help fund another cause they want to support.

Photo: Unsplash.com/Aedrian

Money-Inspired Board Games

Old-school board games like Life and Monopoly have never become obsolete for a reason: They’re educational and fun all at the same time. They can help teach your kids about budgeting, banking, and investing under the guise of fun family time, and give them insight into how the game has real-world financial implications.

Photo: Creative Commons/FatBusinessman

Certificate of Deposit (CD)

They’re a win-win: CDs allow you to put away money for your kids, and they also usually come with higher interest rates as compared to standard savings accounts.

You can invest in CDs with terms ranging from a few months to several years; on average, the longer the term, the higher the interest rate. Worth noting: Penalties can be assessed if funds are withdrawn early.

Photo: Pikrepo

Cash

Your child opens the card from Aunt BettyLou and there it is: cold, hard cash. Sure, it’s not all bells and whistles and glittery delight, but a gift of cash can help impart a lesson about responsible saving and spending. Bills in various denominations convey the importance of spending power, saving plans, and understanding the difference between  wanting to buy versus wanting to wait until something better comes along. A coin counter, small bank, or budget book can help your child keep track of funds.

Photo: Needpix.com

Savings Account

The time will come when a piggy bank just doesn’t cut it anymore, and you’re looking to move your child’s funds into a real bank. Look for a credit union or bank that offers free accounts, and no hidden fees or minimum balance requirements. Whether you’re visiting a bricks-and-mortar bank or looking to conduct online banking, you’ll most likely be required to register as co-owner of the account until your child is old enough to manage the account on his or her own.