Gift the key to more freedom, happiness and financial health.
It’s beginning to cost a lot like Christmas: The season of gargantuan money wasting on overpriced plastic toys that will soon be forgotten again is unleashed upon us. Nonetheless, the act of giving and sharing with our loved ones is what makes Christmas what it is.
People pursuing Financial Independence don’t necessarily enjoy shopping and try to avoid wasting gas driving around the city in order to hunt down Christmas gifts or spending money on stuff just for the sake of it. Most kids in our modern, privileged society enjoy already plenty of toys and stuff to “kill time” with. Stop wasteful behavior and focus on giving something with a deeper purpose instead.
Financial Intelligence is knowing that if you spend your life energy on stuff that brings only passing fulfillment and doesn’t support your values, you end up with less life.
Being a financially independent money nerd, a veteran banker as well as most importantly a dad of two and uncle of six kids between 3 and 11, I feel an inner calling to spread the mindset of financial literacy, financial intelligence and ultimately financial independence to our kids. Christmas is a wonderful opportunity to make an impact to the kids’ financial education while still having tons of fun.
Gift the building blocks of financial literacy and seed keys to financial independence as early as possible! Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. Help your kids creating their best version of themselves by unlocking their toolbox for building a dream-life at an early age.
“As your dad, I’m supposed to give you two things… roots and wings. Roots which is knowing that you have the security of a family who loves you and wings, which is the confidence to do whatever you want.”
This is my Santa’s Christmas List for Financial Imagineers, version 1.0
1. Ideas for new-born babies and toddlers
Time, the rarest of all investments. You get it for free, and spend it until it’s gone.
The magic of compound interest is most powerful the more time is available to let it work. As babies can’t make financial decisions yet, help them and gift them an all equity investment account with a maximum time horizon.
You can initiate this gift at birth and as the kids grow older and more mature, you will be able to start teaching them about this special account before they actually can lay their hands on it once reaching adulthood.
While an investment account is a very abstract and invisible gift which little kids can’t see, touch, feel or comprehend yet, gift the good old piggy bank. Small kids will be thrilled to “feed” their piggy bank over time. Going forward, the highlight will be to accompany your kid to the real bank and deposit the saved coins – and to invest it into their investment account. The older they get, the more you can explain and teach them about the investment part.
2. For kids from 5 years onwards
“The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see.” – Alexandra K. Trenfor
Monopoly Junior is a simplified version of the original Monopoly adjusted to be enjoyable for young children. Its somewhat smaller than the standard board and instead of street names the properties that can be bought are amusement facilities such as toy store, candy shop, arcade or cinema. Money matters are kept more simplified and kids learn basic math skills, negotiation skills and tactical concepts as to secure the best spots and how to win. Play with them and teach them how to improve. Then let them win and the valuable lessons will stick.
Similar to the adult version, the Junior version of The Game of Life allows players to simulate life from beginning to the end – every time your kids play it again, they hopefully will get smarter and play better as they have digested the lessons from past rounds. The Junior version comes with more fancy rides to play and is simplified as compared to the original game. The game lets kids rehearse life over and over again. I love it as kids try to amend their strategies as they repeat playing in order to get to the best possible outcome. Great game.
3. For kids from 8 years onwards
If you stop believing in Santa…. you get underwear.
The ultimate classic game to build your real-estate empire by buying and trading properties and developing them with houses and hotels. The original idea for Monopoly comes from “The Landlord’s Game”, a game originally intended as educational tool to illustrate the negative aspects of concentrating land in private monopolies. In 1935 Parker Brothers started selling their version as Monopoly and thanks to its great success, the game is nowadays licensed in over 103 countries and available in more than thirty-seven languages!
Since Monopoly was designed as an educational game, let’s look deeper into what kids can learn from it. First and foremost, the monthly salary is passing the “start” field. Kids will discover pretty soon that round after round, staying in the game will get more costly and the only way to stay afloat is to invest and develop their property. They will learn the numbers of their banknotes, they will be exposed to mathematical challenges, they will engage in trying to negotiations and making deals. They will learn to bluff and sell. They will discover that playing with different people will get to different outcomes. They will also learn from the more successful players and reveal mistakes of losers. The very best part: Every time you restart the game, there will be new scenarios and lessons to be learnt as every round of monopoly will be different.
We only have one life and it doesn’t come with a manual. This game will make kids think more about their life, their plans and their future. The game of life lets you simulate and choose the life you want. Go to college, take the family path, have kids, see what happens when unexpected twists change the game. Will you receive a fortune and lose it as quickly as you got it? Will you need a bank loan to pay a debt? Once all players reach the end of the game – retirement – everyone pays their debts and adds up their wealth. The player with the most money wins. It’s up to you to win the game of life. Every time you play, you can reset and experiment with different life paths, will you take student loans? Or join the working force and earn a salary? Will you end up bankrupt or earn millions with stocks and real estate? Anything’s possible with a spin of the Life wheel. Imagine the family table conversations you’ll have with your kids about their played experiences from this game. Kids will observe you and your life and try to decode with the puzzle pieces from playing this board game. Playing The Game of Life will make them think, inspire their imagination and let them get familiar with certain patterns about how to win at life – in real.
4. For kids from 10-14 years
Doing what you like is Freedom. Liking what you do is Happiness.
Written in a concise but playful tone, “How to Turn $100 into $1,000,000” is an accessible, exciting and essential book for every kid growing into this world. Every parent who wants to raise a money-savvy, smart, confident and knowledgeable kid should consider it as a gift. It’s a practical, entertaining and inspiring guidebook covering topics such as earning, spending, saving and investing money. From earning a first $100 the book covers thinking like a millionaire, learning ways to get more money and letting money work for you – it covers compound interest and how to track your investments.
Even topics such as spending more than you make, ponzi schemes, wrong budgeting, or bad investing along with clarifying illustrations are making kids aware of the pitfalls in life.
While a ten year old kid will be able to comprehend, “How to turn $100 into $1,000,000” is also suitable for young adults and even people above 30 will find something useful in this book.
Besides money stuff, it also engages kids to think about achieving bigger goals, it makes them excited about making and saving money and it also suits readers with a rather short attention span as you can jump topics.
All in all, this book should be included in every elementary school curriculum as it’s the perfect resource charting the course for the ultimate goal: Financial Freedom.
Not only girls should be reading this book, it’s packed with 100 stories about extraordinary women and how they mastered life in fairy tale style. It inspires daughters and sons – who love to listen to the stories as well – to dream big. It covers scientists, engineers, judges, painters and many more female personalities who have lived a life worth telling the stories about. It’s most likely also the best bedtime book you’ll ever read.
5. For teenagers from 14 years onwards
Santa saw your Instagram: You’re getting clothes and a bible for Christmas!
This “Get-out-of-the-Rat-Race” -game made by Robert Kiyosaki (Rich Dad Poor Dad) is like a level-up Monopoly version. Players start the game in the inner circle – the rat race – and got to survive round after round by managing to cover their monthly expenses with a salary that’s derived from their profession. If they play well and take the right steps, players may escape the “rat-race” once their monthly expenses are fully covered by passive income! This is nothing else than reaching financial independence.
In the game, this step unlocks the fast track, the so called post-financial-independence life. Here, you can choose to chase your dream and further increase your wealth and your monthly cash flow with more ventures, such as businesses or real-estate.
In short, this game teaches its players not only how to make your money work for you, to reach financial independence, but in addition this investment simulation allows you to learn valuable lessons and gain priceless insights into personal finance without having to put your actual money at risk. The game is Robert Kiyosaki’s vision of an interactive tool for financial education and the fulfilment of his belief that we learn best by doing. This game makes learning accounting, finance and investing fun. You can try strategies for building wealth you might never dare to try in real life. If you’re a saver, try aggressive investing. If you’re a risk-taker, try slow growth. Win either way by learning! Expand your mind and start dreaming about the possibilities.
6. For adults including yourself
What’s the ultimate quantification of success? For me, it’s not how much time you spend doing what you love. It’s how little time you spend doing what you hate.
Robert Kiyosaki’s step-by-step handbook for parents who’d like to teach their children the fundamental principles of finance. It introduces a variety of financial problem-solving skills that help youngsters understand the importance of financial planning in their lives. Bring your kids to financial excursions, teach them hands on lessons and let them explore finance in a safe environment before they become adults themselves.
In this book, financial expert and best-selling author Dave Ramsey and his daughter equip parents to teach their kids how to win with money. Starting with the basics like working, spending, saving and moving into more challenging issues like avoiding debt for life, paying cash for college and battling discontentment. It’s a no-nonsense, common-sense approach for changing and positively impacting your family tree.
Hits you like a much-needed slap in the face from your best friend: Hilarious, vulgar and thought-provoking. Resilience, happiness and freedom come from knowing what to care about – and most importantly, what not to care about. This is a masterful, philosophical and practical book that will give readers the wisdom to be able to do just that. Besides, it’s a very fun read!
The perfect gift for indecisive individuals amongst us, this is the desktop dial that imparts unbiased wisdom to its spinner for making important business decisions. A spin of the chrome-plated ball empowers the paperweight with one’s fate as a red ball-bearing circles the base and lands on one of nine laser-engraved answers including “buy”, “sell”, “pray”, “ask mom” or “fire someone”. Unlike token “yes” men that always provide the same stale response, this item offers insightful advice and concrete answers to everyday questions that plague indecisive executives, parents, people and apprehensive investors. Best enjoyed with a grain of salt.
With these ideas I’d close for the day.
Merry Everyday and a Happy Always!
Well intended money nerds like us are not universally appreciated and whether or not your beloved giftees will appreciate a money nerds’ gift is up to your sales pitch: Best is to keep low profile, apply a sneaky “stealth-wealth-preach” and masquerade the obvious hidden-purpose of gifting these very items with profound heart-warming care and love as only Christmas could.
Further, as this blog doesn’t finance itself, please be made aware that the product links used above are affiliate links for which Financial Imagineer will receive a compensation.