2018 Spring Financial Gift Guide

by | Dec 13, 2018

If you’re reading this financial gift guide, presumably you’re interested in helping your friends and family get better at managing their money and making great decisions about their lives. That’s good.

When you give gifts like these, there’s a real danger that the recipient is going to receive it as criticism of what they’re already doing and evidence that you don’t understand or respect their choices. That’s bad.

So, if you genuinely care about the total wellbeing of the people you are giving gifts to, the first suggestion we have is to try very hard to understand where they’re coming from. Ideally you can do this by talking openly about it with genuine curiosity. (May we suggest listening to this episode of Because Money if you’d like a longer discussion on the power of real conversations and ways to get them started?)

When you’re sure that your financially-themed gifts have a good chance of being received in the spirit you intend them, here are some ideas from the Spring team to get you started:

(Note that Spring doesn’t participate in affiliate or referral programs as part of our conflict-avoidance policy, so no external providers have been or ever will be compensated for putting these ideas in front of you.)

Services

LastPass

Give the gift of secure password management to your loved ones for $24 USD and nag them until they activate it. Using different passwords for every online site is great; using LastPass (or a comparable service like 1Password or Dashlane) to encrypt and store them is better. Still better is setting up a digital contingency plan by adding your family members to the Emergency Access feature.

Onist

Even better than good digital hygiene (is there such a thing?), is to set up a family vault for $100 USD. Then you can start the tradition of keeping your parents, your partner, and your kids up to date about where your accounts are, what your important documents say, which key financial professionals manage what parts of their financial lives, and how to access all of them if there’s an emergency.

Insight Timer

Have friends or family expressed some stress or worry about their finances? You likely can’t fix their worries, but you can give them the gift of calm and presence. The app and all meditations are free (they believe that everyone deserves access to free meditation) but you can purchase the premium membership for $46.99 USD/year to access offline mode and high quality audio. Meditation does not answer financial questions or fix money problems but it will help you lower your anxiety.

A Financial Plan/Cash Flow Plan/Hour with a Planner

Yes, we’ve had people give the gift of financial planning and cash flow planning to their loved ones in the past. This is one of those tender ones though – you better be certain that this is something your loved ones want to receive. One of our clients has been sending her grandchildren in for one-hour sessions with a Spring planner in slow rotation over the last year. Every little conversation helps!

Account Deposits

RESPs

Do you have a grandchild who has everything? Help their parents out by giving a deposit to their RESP. No, it’s not as much fun to see them open up paper as it would be to provide a gift, however we know quite a few young adults (including Julia’s son) who were mind-blowingly ecstatic when they realized their grandparents had made it possible for them to attend post-secondary school. You might not get smiles that one holiday morning, but you’ll get a lifetime of gratitude from an adult who knows just what it means to graduate with reduced debt.

TFSAs

Is your young adult too old for an RESP but not making enough money to really start saving? Start them off with a deposit, and help them open an account with their local financial institution or a robo-advisor. Spend time talking with them about how TFSAs work, and get them a (free) copy of our Women & Money ebook – which is actually fantastic for everyone – to get them started on savings habits that will change their lives.

Books

Designing Your Life

This fantastic book by Stanford educators will help any adult of any age and stage really work through what they want out of life, and how they’ll design it. Give the gift of self-assessment, and even better, offer to read and complete activities with them. Change your lives together.

Worry Free Money

Our good friend Shannon Lee Simmons starts this book by alleviating guilt and shame around those dollar bills, and then moves you into the tools you need to get out of financial ruts. Insightful, funny, and kind – just like Shannon herself – this book is ideal for just about everyone.

Living Debt Free

The recently announced companion book to Worry Free Money is coming out on December 18, and is specifically written as the no-shame, no-blame guide to getting rid of your debt.

Soul of Money

Kathryn, our Director of Cash Flow, reads this book on the regular. It isn’t just about money, it’s about exploring your values, how you define money, and how you use it. We don’t like finger-wagging or “shoulds” and this book has exactly none of it. If your gift recipient is a little lost about what money means and how to connect with their own values, this is the right one for them.

Women & Money

Okay, it’s free, but it’s still useful. We released this e-book on International Women’s Day to answer the questions that young women were asking us on a regular basis – that we didn’t think warranted a fee. We’re in the midst of writing another one for new parents but unfortunately, it won’t be ready for the holidays. Next year?

Course

Practical Index Investing for Canadians

Our pal John Robertson teaches this thoughtful course for anyone who wants to manage their own investments. Even if DIY investing isn’t up their alley, your gift recipient will learn exactly how it works, and will have enough lingo to talk the talk in a room full of investment advisors.

Remember that for any financially-focused gift to be used effectively, the recipient has to be ready to receive it. Even if you are certain that this is something they need, be sure it’s something they want before you take the plunge.

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