There is arguably no greater present to a friend or relative at Christmas than the gift of financial security.
We’re not talking about handing out cash, but gifts that will help someone you love get their finances under control and build personal wealth. Be a catalyst to turning their financial life around.
Here are some great, maybe a little geeky, financial gift ideas.
We’re big readers of books that help us get a deeper understanding of how people achieve success, both financially and in life as well.
An inspiring book can really help someone improve their financial future, even if they only take on board one or two ideas that really resonate with them.
One of our favourites is The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder, which offers a unique insight into the life and thinking of America’s most famous investors. Or maybe Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, which gives a fascinating insight into what drove the founder of Apple Inc.
Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner is a very entertaining explanation of economics using a lot of pop culture examples
Liars Poker and The Big Short by Michael Lewis are great books about business that have been turned into Hollywood blockbusters. Anything written by Michael Lewis is always worth a look.
The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham is one of the greatest investment books ever written even if it was first published in 1948. The themes are still relevant today.
And for inspiration you can’t go past Youth Off The Streets founder Father Chris Riley’s biography Mean Streets, Kind Heart, written by Sue Williams.
It’s a good idea to check in a couple of months after Christmas to see what they thought of the book, and whether they learnt anything or put the ideas into practice.
Call us old fashioned, but there is something special about receiving a magazine in the mail or downloaded on to you Tablet. It’s perfect for a leisurely weekend breakfast or Sunday afternoon reading, and much more informative than plonking down in front of the TV.
Gifting a subscription to a top business or finance publication is a simple way to ensure that your loved one is always up to date with what’s going on in the world and the latest trends.
The Economist is far and away our favourite, but there are any number of great titles out there such as CNNMoney, Motley Fool and Kiplinger with fantastic content that’s sure to make the recipient a more financially informed and rounded person.
For the keen investor, there are a number of courses available which will improve their knowledge of different markets, how to invest and where. All capital city stock exchanges run lunch-time seminars throughout the year for a small fee. The Australian Investors’ Association also puts on seminars around the country on various investment topics.
Can we humbly put in a plug for Kochie’s 4 Week Money Makeover (www.moneymakeover.com.au) which is an online program which shows you how to take control of your finances in easy bite size steps.
Get your kids interested in money with a fun piggy bank for Christmas and a few coins to get them started. Explain what saving is, help them decide on a goal and encourage them to put some of their pocket money in their piggy bank each week to save to buy it.
We like Spriggy (www.spriggy.com.au) which is a money management app for kids and Money Savvy Kids (www.moneysavvykids.com.au) which uses a unique piggy bank divided into four sections as the foundation of its program.
As the kids or grandkids get older, buying them a small parcel of shares is the perfect way to increase their understanding of how the share market works.
You can explain to them about why you decided to buy them this particular share, its long-term prospects, supply and demand on the market, and the dividends they can expect to receive.
The minimum parcel of shares or investment in a managed fund is generally around $500, so this is a more expensive gift, but it’s a fantastic introduction to investing. Or look at an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) listed on the sharemarket.
A SENSE OF COMMUNITY
Something we have done in recent years is to buy a goat, a water well and a birthing kit for people in Third World nations on behalf of our kids for Christmas. You buy them through World Vision or Oxfam and give to your child instead of one of their presents. It has had an amazing effect.
They were stunned when they first received it but when we explained how the money would change the life of another individual less fortunate they were proud of how they could help … plus they were stunned by how a little money could make such a big difference to someone else.
PROTECT THE FUTURE
If your spouse hasn’t got around to making a will, stop nagging, give them one for Christmas.
Call a local solicitor for a gift voucher, which will probably cost $120-$2000 depending on the complexity of your partner’s affairs, or buy a basic Will Kit from your local Post Office for around $30.
There are always people who never seem to get around to doing their tax on time. They are doing themselves a great disservice because the Tax Office tells us most people are actually owed a refund.
So for the wayward taxpayer in your family, pay for their tax return to be completed by a professional. It can be done through a local accountant, tax agent or one of many tax return chains. They start at $150 to $200 for very basic returns … and the cost is tax deductible.
Originally published as The best Christmas gifts that keep on giving