The Best Christmas Present for Your Children

PUBLISHED: 5 December 2014
DISCLAIMER: The information in this blog post may be outdated and may not reflect current financial practices or market conditions

Christmas PresentType “unwanted gift” into eBay and see how many results you get. In theory it may be the thought that counts, in practice these days it’s far from unusual for recipients to turn gifts they would prefer to forget into cash via sites like eBay.

Some people might find themselves the unwitting donors of such items due to reluctance to give cash as a present. Ironically the end result of this may be that the recipient ultimately winds up with less cash than the donor spent on the original gift. A more modern take on the cash versus gift conundrum is for people to set up accounts on payment sites so that their nearest and dearest can make contributions to a large-ticket item they want to buy. Depending on the site, however, charges may be levied, which again obviously affects the value of the gift. With Christmas coming up, the thought of gifts and budgeting is becoming more topical and so it’s worth looking at the matter from another angle.

The most valuable gifts are those which make a real difference

The very best gifts are those that improve a person’s life in some way. There are lots of ways this can be achieved; for example a good book, some quality toiletries, or a theatre ticket, if well chosen, can all bring the recipient some quality “me time”. Some of the best gifts can be those that money can’t buy. These can include investing the time to pass on knowledge and skills to another generation. Looking back on childhood, memories of learning new skills such as cooking, gardening and cycling can be at least as important as any tangible gifts.

Financial skills can prove invaluable in adult years

For generations parents have taught their children the importance of managing the family finance, part of which involves having savings available for when you need them. Even in today’s world of electronic payment systems and (almost) instant transfers, a quick look on eBay will confirm that there are still plenty of old-fashioned money boxes for sale. Some of these are collectors’ items from bygone eras, but there are many which are newly manufactured. These can be ideal for giving very young children their first lessons in building personal wealth.

It takes more than pennies to support a child into young adulthood

Parents and other family members, however, will be acutely aware that putting pennies into jars, although better than nothing, is unlikely to cover the cost of raising a child to adulthood, particularly if they want to go to university. The expected arrival of a new-born can, therefore, be a very good time to seek advice from a financial adviser. Even if the child is already here, it can still be worth seeing what steps can be taken to prepare financially for their future.

Grow the value of your gift with tax savings

One option is to invest in a Junior ISA. These are currently available to all under 18s except for those born between 1st September 2002 and 2nd January 2011 as they have Child Trust Funds. Like their adult counterparts, Junior ISAs can be held either in cash or in stocks and shares. A child can have one cash and one stocks and shares Junior ISA. .