4 Great Ways to Spread Investments Around!

by J. Money - Published February 5, 2020

gift ideas

Been tagging some great ideas from the community lately, and can’t keep them to myself anymore ;)

Today I’ll share some of the more financial/investmenty ones, and then tomorrow some of the lifestyley ones that really hit me.

Maybe you’ll find something that improves your life or someone’s you love?

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The “Dividends” Souvenir

Whenever we go on a family vacation (family of 4 — me, wife, and two boys 5 and almost 3), I buy a share of stock in something related to the vacation for each of the boys and then set dividends to reinvest.

So far, they each have 1+ shares of Disney (from a trip to Disney World), and 1+ shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. We’re going to Disney in late September, so they’ll each get another share of Disney then. It was meant to be a gift in lieu of souvenirs, but who am I kidding — there’s no way to resist cool Mickey Mouse merchandise when you’re at Walt Disney World!

My hope is that by the time they grow up/move out, I can gift them each a nice little portfolio of stocks related to all the travels/family vacations we’ve went on, and urge them to keep the tradition alive by (a) continuing to buy shares as they go on family vacations, and (b) pay for those vacations using the dividends.

– Chadnudj

[He already had me on the “stocks in lieu of souvenirs” idea, but to then one up it and USE those dividends later to pay for future vacations one day???! Brilliant!]

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The “Obsession” Fund

Every year for my gkids birthday I make a $100.00 contribution to their educational fund.

I have fun with it by including a document of sorts suggesting a college they might attend. I try to find a school that has a similar name as them, or relates to their current “obsession.”

For example – the 3 year old who adores purses and can’t get enough colored chap stick was given a acceptance letter from the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC this year!  I also get them something “fun”, but I know their parents appreciate the edu $ and look forward to seeing what school I come up with.

– Doris L.

[YES!! Edu $$$ is always much more appreciated over toys!!! Thank you for being good role models for all other grandparents out there ;)]

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The “Options” Game

This year for Secret Santa I got my dad, and instead of giving him something material I made a game of it.

I gave him 3 envelopes:

gift options
The first one had instructions telling him he had a choice between either Option A or B, and some hints. The instructions said he could only pick one, and he cannot change his mind later. Once he chooses, he can open that envelope and throw the other in the trash immediately.

Option A clue was a ‘cash gift’. It’s value is $100, and it will only ever be $100. (Inside that envelope I printed off a fake gift certificate to the Guitar Center, his favorite store. If he chose this, I would just switch it with a real gift certificate later)

Option B was an ‘equity gift’. It’s current value is $100, but may fluctuate. This gift pays a 3.88% dividend. (Inside the envelope I printed off some old school stock certificates as well as an investor package for the company ARES Management Corp (parent company of Guitar Center)). The stock (ARES) just happened to be $33 per share when I made the envelopes in early December, so I bought x3 right away. I was 90% sure Dad would pick that one and I wanted to lock in the price at ~$100.

Christmas came and he was so surprised! He loved the game and took all morning to think and make a decision, then he ended up choosing Option B.  We joked that now every time someone else buys a guitar at Guitar Center, they put a few cents into his pocket :)

Oh, the best part is, in the last 30 days the ARES stock had gone up about $4. So my Dad’s gift is already worth about $112. I didn’t predict the timing but it’s funny how it worked out. :)

5 am Joel

PS: I’m gonna do this from now on for birthdays, wedding gifts, etc. It’s like giving lottery tickets as gifts, but the chances of winning are way higher and it’s more fun to check the price.

[Already told him I’m completely stealing this idea too… even for cheaper gifts around $20! You can pick up plenty of stocks in that range! And btw – Joel’s daily emails are one of the only newsletters I’m subscribed to… Super motivational and *short*! 5amjoel.com/5am-emails/]

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The 529 “Building Blocks” Idea

I discovered this idea when I set up a 529 for my niece and nephew. I think there is a business opportunity here.

First donation to their 529, and the kid gets some starter blocks or a small doll’s house along with it or something like that. Then with each additional contribution you send them more blocks/houses so the collection grows as the assets grow!

It’s something the relatives can see and imagine the child playing with and enjoying.

– Jane

[That works too!! A lesson on compounding along with an investment in their future! This fellow parent – and uncle – approves :)]

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Hope you liked some of these!

Any other ideas out there that really work for you guys? Whether in gift giving or investing in general?

Here’s the post that elicited a couple of these ideas above: Saving up for something? Buy the stock first!

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cindy February 5, 2020 at 8:20 am

I usually gift money to kids, at Christmas or birthdays, because everyone else is giving toys or clothes. I almost always write a check though because it forces them to deposit the money. Once the money is deposited, it rarely leaves the bank/savings. I’ve heard complains from family members what a pain it is but in a course of a few years, that money adds up even if there isn’t a lot of interest/dividend. Power of savings!

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2 J. Money February 5, 2020 at 2:06 pm

So smooth!!! Haha… I say you keep going with those check writing skills ;)

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3 Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life February 6, 2020 at 1:57 pm

I gave my younger cousins checks for big milestones and had to laugh when I found out why they wouldn’t deposit it. Back in the day, you had to hand over the check to the bank, and they didn’t want to give it up! Yay for mobile banking these days ;)

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4 GJ February 6, 2020 at 5:00 pm

I’m actually the complete opposite! Haha! I only physically go to our credit union a few times a year. I can mobile deposit a check in 30 seconds, but cash sits in our office for what feels like forever until I finally make myself drive over and deposit it.

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5 J. Money February 7, 2020 at 11:44 am

Plenty of time to stare and smell it all :)

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6 Working Mom February 5, 2020 at 10:03 am

My sister decided that it doesn’t make sense to still give niece/nephews birthday gifts when they reach age 12 because there’s not much they want in the $25 range and we end up just trading gift cards (Her kid hit age 12 first, so at least she made this decision when it would affect her kids, not ours!) I didn’t love the idea, but thought she might just be trying to stop the gift train down the road. I decided privately to still “gift” $25 each year from when they are 12-18 and have a minimum $175 to give them at their HS graduation. Right now it’s just a category in my checking account, but would actually love to do this in stock, inspired by todays posts. $25 of stock each year, maybe according to their interests. I don’t do ANY individual stock purchases, so have no idea where to start with this.

My 10-year-old has also shown interest in investing and i considered gifting him $100 to start investing if he read certain books (like How to turn $100 into $1,000,000) but don’t know the best way to have him put it in an individual account that’s just his, not tied into my accounts.

Maybe you could do a follow up with step-by-step “investing for dummies” instructions on how to open and start a Vanguard account for a kid or how to buy individual stock to commemorate occasions?

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7 Yanira February 5, 2020 at 11:03 am

I started a Stockpile account for my now 14 y/o when she was 12. It’s an app, to which she has access. She loves putting money in there, and she’s learning to research stocks, and watch her investment grow. The great thing she can invest in stocks such as Disney, or other brands she is familiar with, but doesn’t have to buy the entire stock, she can buy a portion. Good luck!

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8 J. Money February 5, 2020 at 2:09 pm

yeah – that’s a good one!!

I haven’t actually done any of this for my own kids since all their $$$ goes into their 529 accounts that I control, but at some point I know I’ll need to do it once my kids get as obsessed with this stuff as we are :) And something tells me index funds won’t nearly be exciting enough to do the trick, haha…

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9 Tina February 5, 2020 at 4:23 pm

Stockpile looks awesome! My daughter (14) has her savings in my investment account for convenience and we often talk about the amount, but I don’t think it’s real to her. She is learning a little about retirement accounts and compound interest in one of her classes this year and (FINALLY!) has showed some interest. I’m thinking I may open a stockpile account for her, buy $100 worth of my preferred index fund and let her do what she wants with another $100. She can get the experience of curiosity while have the performance comparison against the oh-so-stable index fund! Thanks for the idea!

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10 J. Money February 6, 2020 at 9:33 am

YES!! VERY SMART!!! Will be interesting to see if she becomes a convert later on or grows up to be a day trader ;) Either way I hope this blog is still around so you can let me know! Haha…

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11 Abails February 6, 2020 at 12:27 am

These were very sweet! Thank you for sharing. We live far from our family, so my kids receive money pretty often as gifts. They will get $20 to spend as they choose, along with other “real” money if someone also wants to contribute to their 529s. That way they can still buy the Legos they desperately need, and we save for the future too!

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12 J. Money February 6, 2020 at 9:34 am

I’m okay with that :) Everyone wins!

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13 SpaceySteph February 27, 2020 at 4:38 pm

Depending how the first poster is buying the stock as souvenirs, they’re likely making a big hassle for their kids in the future. I had a smattering of gift stocks (including Disney), and getting them converted from UTMA to a regular holding is nearly impossible (requires excessive documentation and for both my father and I to be present and sign a form in front of a notary, except we live in different states now).

In the meantime, even though they were filed under my SSN and I was a legal adult, I still had to get my dad to call them to update the mailing address etc. I eventually just sold them all rather than bother trying to do that. Also that Disney stock netted about $4 a year in dividends, so they wouldn’t go very far in paying for a disney vacation.

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14 J. Money February 28, 2020 at 3:38 pm

oh man, yeah – that would be no fun haha… I’d cash out too and then just re-invest, smart! (although isn’t that stock better than nothing at all or junk you would have gotten in its place and no longer have?)

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