Teaching your children how to save is extremely valuable ["6 Great Financial Gifts for Children," usnews.com]. My parents started a savings account for me when I was only 8 years old. I would receive allowance monthly which they would directly deposit in my savings account. As I got older, my parents would reward me for doing well in school by giving me $10 for every A I received on my report card. All the money went straight to my savings account, along with the money I made working during the summer. To this day, I still have a lot of this money in savings, and I add to it whenever I can. Today's scary economic climate shows that it is never too early to start saving so you have a cushion, if needed, when times get rough. Teach your kids this valuable lesson early!
Comment by Jeanne B. of VA
The fifth suggestion, financial advice, trumps all the others. It doesn't depend on some government entitlement plan that can be discontinued or changed anytime. It doesn't even require any cash outlay, so is ideal for those of us who don't really have the means to finance the other suggestions. Teaching kids to live within their means is the first step toward saving for the future, and is not easy, because they are bombarded constantly by propaganda on TV and elsewhere exhorting them to buy everything now, put it on a credit card, and don't give a thought to ever having to pay for it.
Comment by Chuck S. of OR
My parents started buying savings bonds for my children from the day they were born. We also added to them as the years went by. This was well before the 529 plans, etc. They came in handy when it was time for college, books, etc. Now that my kids have children of their own, we have continued the process. For every special event, they will get the fun present and attached to the package will be the savings bond. Now they look forward to it. It is as much fun for us as for them—especially knowing that someday it will do something good for them even if we are not around. We have also started the college funds.
Comment by Sherry Lowinske of WI
My thoughts on gifting for all children begins with self-esteem and handling a checking account (personal finance). I really wish schools would teach both subjects. It should be mandatory as both are necessary to be successful in life. What good is a savings account for a child when they do not realize the worth or how to spend the money effectively? Gee, I wish they would invent a video game for this concept. Our children think money is a plastic card and you withdraw it anytime you wish from the metal contraption that feeds money. Our children who are not bilingual are also at a major disadvantage. If children were taught another language in preschool and elementary, they would be given another major advantage in life.
Comment by Patricia of OH