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Smart gift ideas for kids (and grandkids)

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The holidays are a wonderful time… There are always lots of celebrations, laughs and smiles.

When it comes to giving, sometimes parents or grandparents focus too much on the hot toys or the trendiest outfits of the day. They should also be thinking about gifts that can make a significant difference in a child’s future.

Here are some smart gifts ideas to consider this holiday season:

An investment account
Set up an investment account and if you have the means, put in a reoccurring deposit. It will be better than a savings account, as the next generation can see the value of compounding, hopefully as they watch their investments grow year-after-year.

In 2015 the IRS will allow a person to give up to $14,000 to another person without tax consequences. A husband and wife can both give, so the total can be $28,000 per child or grandchild. (Note: The annual exclusion gifts do not count towards the lifetime gift exemption.)

College savings
The cost of college tuition has skyrocketed over the years. Those that prepare for eventual payments are in a much better place when the bills start coming in the mail. Talk to a financial planner about 529 college savings plans, educational savings accounts and other options you might have.

Financial planning education
When children are teens or have just graduated from college, it is important that they have an understanding of the economy, the markets and financial planning. We have had parents pay for us to work with their kids to make sure they have the strong foundation to manage their own future wealth.

Estate plan

Too often we see the older generation pass away without any plan in place for their heirs. It is important that things like healthcare proxies, wills, trusts, life insurance and more are considered and possibly set up. Kids and grandkids do not need to know every detail, but they will appreciate knowing there is something in place for the time it might be needed.

Family history
Depending on their age, kids and grandkid might or not appreciate information on your family, but if not now, they will likely be grateful for it later in life. Put together a family tree with important details of deceased family members (and those that are alive today.) Have pictures scanned in and old movies converted to digital versions. Write down stories that define the family and consider doing video (or audio) recordings of you sharing this information.

Family values
Probably the most important thing to pass to the next generation are strong family values. What is it that defines who you are and who you aim to be? How do you want your family to treat others? What do you want them to remember as the most important things in life? Put together a collection of ideals, advice and more. It can have a long lasting impact on the next generation and might even be passed down to those that are not yet born.

Hopefully these creative ideas are helpful.

I wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season!


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Barbara Shapiro is the President of HMS Financial Group located in Dedham, Massachusetts. She is a CFP®, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, a Registered Investment Advisor and a member of the FPA Massachusetts. Her firm specializes in comprehensive financial planning with a subspecialty in divorce that assists clients’ transition from marriage to independence with peace of mind and confidence. Learn more at HMS-Financial.com.

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