But if we really want to give our family and friends a meaningful gift we should stay out of the stores.
Instead of a gift that will sit in our closet, lose value and go out of style next year, we should be giving presents that will help build the wealth of the African American community.
We all know by now that African Americans are some of the biggest spenders and worst investors and savers. Why contribute to the trend by buying some more?
Giving gifts such as savings bonds and personal finance books will contribute to someone else’s financial growth. And you also won’t have to brave the crowds and congested parking lots at the mall.
Here are some gift ideas:
1. A gift certificate for a financial plan – A survey of 1,200 African Americans last year commissioned by The Smiley Group and Nationwide Insurance found that less than half of those surveyed say they are proactive about their financial future, while three in four say they do not have a written financial plan, and one in three say they don’t
know where to start when it comes to personal financial planning.
Why not help a loved one out by finding a financial planner that can look at their spending and help come up with a plan? My colleague Shanon D. Murray wrote earlier this year about how to find a good financial planner.
2. Personal finance books – A good personal finance book will help teach people the basics of increasing their wealth. Some go a little further by teaching about the different investment options. Others have worksheets that help people learn how to set up a budget and track their spending.
3. Savings Bonds – My grandmother used to give me $25 savings bonds as birthday and Christmas gifts as a kid. While they don’t have the highest rates of return, savings bonds are good stable investment vehicles that are good gifts for kids. It can teach kids about investing and savings and result in a nice bundle of savings for them later in life. My dad also used to be us a few shares in large public companies to introduce us to the world of investing. That is another option for kids.
4. Investment in a college savings plan – Got a godchild or niece or nephew that has every toy in the world? Give the gift of a college savings plan. (Read the next three tips)