by Jill Ciccarelli Rapps, CFP®
It’s hard to believe that the holiday season is nearly upon us! As we celebrate the festivities with our families and loved ones, many of us are searching for the perfect holiday gift for our children and grandchildren. While we may feel compelled to buy the latest tech gadget or a flashy new toy, you may want to consider the gift that lasts a lifetime: financial knowledge.
AN UNFORGETTABLE LESSON
Growing up in western New York, I remember going on “road trips” with my parents and siblings. We would visit a company and take a tour of their facilities, or spend time exploring a farm. Our experiences on the road with Mom and Dad served a valuable purpose: educating my siblings and me about saving and investing.
At an early age, we learned which goods were produced in the factories and farms we visited, and that the demand for those goods would go up and down over time. We learned that we could invest our money in the companies we visited – as demand for their products increased, we could earn money without actually working as a farmer or a laborer.
Above all, our parents taught us the importance of starting to save early in life, and to save a little bit of every dollar that comes your way. These simple but powerful lessons have had an enduring impact on our lives, leading us down the road towards financial success.
GIVE YOUR GRANDCHILDREN A JUMP START
Engaging your grandchildren in a financial conversation can pay dividends for years to come. Everyone can benefit from having this valuable discussion, regardless of their age or level of interest.
Imagine you are having lunch with your 8-year-old grandchild. You recently set up a mutual fund for her. How do you discuss this topic with him or her? The best approach is to keep it simple and build on their knowledge over time.
Start by explaining that there are many companies in the fund and that he or she owns part of these companies – which means they will make money when the companies make money. While your grandchild probably won’t remember everything you say, you will plant the seeds for further education throughout her life.
The next step is to provide your grandchild with a memorable gift that relates to their investment. For instance, if the mutual fund holds Tesla, purchase him or her a model Tesla car and explain that they own part of the company that builds those cars.
As your grandchild continues to grow and mature, you can introduce more detailed concepts. You can talk about how stocks work and why the prices fluctuate, and give him or her an update on the performance of her investments. To add even more value to your financial lessons, you can supplement your conversation with interactive financial tools (many resources are available online) or enlist the expertise of a financial advisor.
With adult grandchildren, I recommend starting a conversation about 401(k) plans. Many young people don’t understand how a 401(k) plan works; as a result, they don’t participate in the plan and miss out on the benefits. Emphasize the value of making regular contributions. Explain that most employers will match your contributions, and illustrate how their money will gain compounding interest throughout their entire career. This is the perfect opportunity for you to impart valuable lessons that can guide your grandchild towards financial wellness.
To reinforce the wisdom you share with your grandchild, you can give them tangible gifts that promote financial success. A powerful way to encourage your grandchild to save is to match their savings. Another idea is gifting time with a financial advisor, who will guide them in identifying their current needs and their financial goals for the future.
Books can also provide a wealth of financial knowledge that will benefit your grandchild. I highly recommend these books, which are two of my favorite reads:
- The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason
- Five: Where will you be five year from today? by Dan Zadra
It’s never too early to share your financial experience with your family. This holiday season, capitalize on the opportunity to help your children and grandchildren prepare for a lifetime of financial success. Give the gift that lasts a lifetime!
Jill Ciccarelli Rapps, CFP®
Ciccarelli Advisory Services, Inc. is located at
9601 Tamiami Trail North, Naples, FL (239.262.6577)
Jill Ciccarelli Rapps is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL
PLANNER®, a trained life coach and a partner of Ciccarelli Advisory
Services, Inc., a family-focused wealth management firm in
Florida and New York.
Investment advisory services offered through Ciccarelli Advisory
Services, Inc., a registered investment adviser independent of FSC
Securities Corporation. Securities and additional investment advisory
services offered through FSC Securities Corporation, member FINRA/
SIPC and a registered investment adviser.