In last week’s column, I provided some holiday gifting ideas for children, ranging from 529 accounts to gift cards for $5 worth of shares in almost any company from Stockpile. But what do you gift grownups, especially to those who already have everything? Or to millennials who already know everything? Consider the following ideas:
—Series I U.S. Savings Bonds. Savings bonds have long been out of fashion because of their low fixed rates. But the recent inflation has changed all that. Series I Bonds still carry a zero base rate for the life of the bond. However, the current 6-month inflation adjustment brings the current rate to 7.12%.
That rate will change in May, depending on the inflation numbers at that point. There is a catch. You must hold the bonds at least 12 months. And if you sell before five years, you’ll lose three months’ interest. So don’t just jump at the current high rate. Buy I-bonds online at TreasuryDirect.gov.
—A gold coin
Gold is out of fashion these days, but you can buy a one-ounce $20 U.S. American Eagle gold coin for just under $2,000 based on the current price of gold. And there are smaller gold coins, such as the one-tenth of an ounce American Liberty coin that you can buy in “proof” condition from the U.S. mint for about $345.
Always buy from a reputable dealer. To find one, go the website of the American Numismatic Association, Money.org. Or buy directly from the U.S. Mint at USMint.gov, where the offerings tend to be more expensive collector versions of various U.S coins and sets.
—Bitcoin. In case you are thinking that savings bonds and gold coins are a bit “retro” for these modern times, you can also buy a bitcoin as a gift – or at least open an account to buy a fraction of a bitcoin. And with the price of just one bitcoin trading over $65,000 per coin, this digital gift will have to be just a “token amount.”
You can open a Bitcoin account at one of dozens of bitcoin exchanges advertising everywhere. They are mostly unregulated, so I hesitate to mention any one place. And you’ll need personal info to open a gift account.
—A gift IRA. A Roth IRA, where money grows and compounds without paying taxes ever, is a gift that will grow over the years.. You can still contribute up to $6,000 for 2021 (or $7,000 if over the age of 50) as long as the IRA owner has earned income in that amount. The initial money can come as a gift, encouraging the recipient to set up an automatic monthly additional contribution from their checking account.
It’s easy to open the account online at Fidelity or Vanguard or Acorns with a starter gift that could create a retirement windfall many years down the road.
—Monopoly. Now, here’s a game the whole family can play, with a twist for the economics pros. The original board set is available on Amazon for $19.99. It comes with all the traditional tokens, including my favorite, the top hat. But if that is too “common” for your family, you can splurge on a “luxury” mahogany boxed set with gilt embossing and faux-leather board for $259.99.
Monopoly has always been the most fun money-learning game, as you save up to buy properties and then houses and hotels, which generate rent. But wait, there’s more! If the game is going too slowly, you can always turn yourself into a Fed Chairman — buying an additional packet of all denominations of Monopoly money for $13.99 on Amazon. Just distribute it when things slow down and watch the action you generate. Hint: Play it like real life, and let people bid on Boardwalk and Park Place. Then with new money, you’ll really see prices jump!
As a last resort, for those who still believe that money grows on trees, consider a gift from Harry and David, the well-known purveyors of holiday fruit boxes and other delicacies. You can add a live, desktop-sized “money tree” that comes in its own ceramic container. (HarryandDavid.com, $39.99).
A lot of money changes hands in the holiday season. These gifts make it more meaningful.