Holiday Gifts to Teach Personal Financial

You aren’t alone if you are wondering what gift to get your friends and family this holiday season. Kids today are showered with toys, games and books from pre-natal days through adulthood. Adults in our lives tend to buy themselves the things they really want and need.

What you CAN do is to get gifts that your folks may not even realize they need or want. You can give gifts to help them learn personal finance.

Here are ideas for holiday gifts that teach personal finance, by age group.

Birth to Age 5

As kids grow into toddlers and pre-schoolers, they begin to learn to count and identify coins, and they love pretend play. They are beginning to understand that you can exchange money for stuff but usually don’t catch on to the value of money.

Gift Ideas:


  • Piggy Bank icon  – to start teaching them to save, spend and give.
  • Play money  icon – to use in counting, money identification and pretend play.
  • Toy cash register icon– to serve as a prop for pretend businesses.
  • Pretend store icon – to teach barter, exchanging money for goods, running a business.


Age 5 – 10
Youngsters this age are learning about wants vs. needs; saving, earning, spending and giving; buying/selling/ trading; earning money through working for it; as well as the actual concept of money – why we have it and the different forms it is in (cash, check, credit, debit and etc).

Gift Ideas:

Board Games

  • Monopoly icon – to teach them all kinds of things like counting, buying and selling real estate.
  • Cash Flow for Kids – to teach them banking, stock investment, real estate investment, balance sheet, income statement (cash flow), assets vs. liabilities, passive income, and entrepreneurship concepts as well as that babies are expensive and why people with big salaries aren’t always the richest.
  • Life icon  – to teach them banking, money and insurance concepts; that going to college can help and hurt your; that babies are expensive and life is unpredictable.

Bank Account – to teach them about saving by helping them get started with a bank account. Give them money, take them to a bank and open an account with them.

Trip to Epcot Center’s Innovention Center – to help them learn about entrepreneurship by taking in Opportunity City and The Great Piggy Bank Adventure with them. Play Disney’s Hot Shot Business and the Great Piggy Bank Adventure online games.

Enrollment in a summer money camp

Junior Achievement has some money related summer camps in some areas.  Each JA local area has different programs, to check out your area, start with Junior

An example from a midwest JA: “At the JA Biz Wizards Camp, kids learn about saving, spending, earning then will operate businesses, earn income, manage a bank account, have work breaks to shop, and earn a profit (or not). Ages 8-9 (after 2nd grade) $210″

Age 10 – 20 Tweens and Teens
This early to mid years in age group are in the sweet spot for learning good financial habits and for trying out entrepreneurship. Tweens and Teens are exploring economics (national-international flow of goods and services); investing; profit/loss; the role of government in business; types of money professionals (bankers, financial advisers and etc); use of credit; and budgeting and business concepts.

Gift Ideas:

Board Games

  • Cash Flow – see above for what this can teach.
  • Thrive Time for Teens – to teach banking, credit and debit, entrepreneurship, stock investment, balance sheet, income statement, asset and liability, passive income, and social responsibility concepts.


Enrollment in a summer money camp.
Junior achievement – again, each JA local area has different programs, to check out your area, start with Junior Achievement. Org.

For ages 10 – 12, here is another midwest example: “At JA BizTown Camp, campers figure business expenses, operate a business, manage savings and checking accounts, become responsible consumers, and more! $210”

For ages 11 – 13, yet another Midwest example: “Where can campers run JA BizTown for TWO DAYS? Develop a business plan? Learn about business innovation? At JA Young Entrepreneurs Camp $200”.

Venture Capital – to give the kid actual entrepreneurial experience and set the him or her up in a kid business. Let them decide what they will do to earn money, then help them identify what assets or supplies are needed to manufacture, service, and market their business. Provide them with enough capital to get them started in the business and help them use it to do so.

A computer and Quicken or Money software – as they start to earn, save and invest, give them the tools to track and manage their budgets and portfolios!

Investment learning sandbox – if you can afford it, give or loan them enough money to try out investment and stock trading concepts. Make sure they are taught the basics beforehand. Help them find online investing platforms that they can use. You will probably need to maintain the account in an adult name.

Age 20 – 30

Young adults are starting careers; learning self support; proclaiming their independence; buying a house; and learning about financial realities like getting their money’s worth and scams. They are taking on college and credit card debt and expecting to live at the same standard their parents maintained!

Gift Ideas:Trump the board game



  • Cash Flow – see above for what this can teach.
  • Trump the board game  – to teach real estate concepts and negotiation.

Secured credit card – to help them learn how to handle credit (you could actually do this while they are in high school too).

Consultation with your financial adviser – to introduce them to the roles and responsibilities of a planner and to answer any questions they have.

Financial tools and software – bill paying, budgeting, stock quotes, and etc financial aps for their phones; tax software – to help them learn how to deal with filing their own taxes; budgeting software and the like.

Avoid giving large sums of money at this age – young adults can be easily derailed in figuring out life choices if they have access to large sums of money.

Adults 30 +

Even the adults in your life can continue to benefit from personal finance learning gifts. We all have different levels of exposure to financial concepts when we are growing up, so some of the above items may also be of benefit to some adults.

Gift Ideas:



  • Cash Flow – see above
  • Trump the board game – see above

Part of their inheritance each year as annual gift – to give them practice investing and managing.

Family Investment Club membership – to encourage them to participate with family and learn how to research stocks.

Membership to research sites – such as Morningstar – to help them research investments.

Session with a financial planner – to encourage long term planning.

Readers – what suggestions do you have?

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