5 Impactful Financial Gifts for 2023

Two children of military families attend a holiday party.
104th Fighter Wing Airmen and families participate in games and festivities at a children's holiday party Dec. 4, 2022, at Barnes Air National Guard Base, Massachusetts. The Airmen spent time with their families and thanked them for their continuous support. (Senior Airman Camille Lienau/U.S. Air National Guard)

Think about all the gifts you've given or received over the past month or even the last few years. What sticks out?

If you're like me, the answer is, surprisingly, very little. Sad, but true, given the amount of time, energy and, yes, money, that has gone into gift-giving. When it comes to gifts for our kids, it would be nice if we could create some long-term positive outcomes.

With that in mind, as we launch into 2023, consider shifting your approach. Here are five financial gifts that could make a real difference for your kids:

1. Help Them Buck the Student Loan Debt Trend.

Student loan debt is, rightfully, a hot topic. And while I don't have a macro-level solution, you can do your part to help your kids graduate from college without a heavy burden of student loan debt.

The Department of Defense delayed implementation of its plan to limit the transferability of Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to service members with fewer than 16 years. If you're eligible and plan on transferring benefits, do it today.

Beyond those benefits, skipping toys and instead contributing to a 529 college savings plan could help create an education fund to forestall loans. Anything you save represents debt your kids won't carry.

2. Start Their Investment Game.

Wouldn't it be much cooler if, in the distant future, your kids told their kids a "look what my parents began" story related to how you jump-started their interest in investments. For younger kids, this might mean a piggy bank that kicks off a lifetime savings habit. Older kids might like owning shares in one of their favorite companies.

3. Introduce Your Kids to Mr. Roth.

If your children report income from their efforts, part-time work or odd jobs, they could be eligible to make a Roth IRA contribution to the extent of that income. Think about it: At 8%, $1,000 into a 16-year-old's Roth IRA could grow to more than $50,000 at age 66. Talk about putting time on your kid's side. Unlike the many gifts I've forgotten over the years, this would be a gift your kids will remember right into their own golden years.

4. The Promise of a Matching Contribution.

Delayed gratification is a tough sell. If your financial situation allows, you can soften the blow by sweetening the deal. Offer free money to encourage your kids to save and invest -- as opposed to buying something now -- with a matching contribution. My parents did it for me, we did it for our kids, and maybe it will work for your family.

5. Become the Teacher.

We hold an influential place in our kids' world. And even though at times it may not seem to be the case, they value our input. Don't miss out on the opportunity to give the gift of time -- in this case, time spent with your kids to promote and encourage good financial habits. If you're not sure where to start, check out the FDIC Money Smart program. It offers lessons for kids of all ages.

Many of these gifts don't come with a big price tag, but they all hold the promise of an outcome we all value: a better future for our kids. Map out your gift-planning plans for 2023 today.

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