Forget Black Friday deals, and look here instead…

It’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but I’ve already been getting hit with "Black Friday" shopping deals for at least two weeks now and I imagine you are, too.

Obviously, I have nothing against deep discounts on electronics or bargain-priced toys. But I also try to focus on gifts that provide longer-term value and meaning whenever possible.

So as the big period of holiday buying gets into full swing, let me give you a few investment-themed gifts to consider giving to someone in your life …

Gift Idea #1
An I-Bond

As I’ve explained plenty of times before, I-Bonds are officially known as Series I Savings Bonds. And like their better-known counterparts — Series EE Savings Bonds — these bonds are NOT marketable securities. That means you can’t sell them on the open market, and as a result, their value doesn’t fluctuate.

In other words, unless the U.S. government defaults, you cannot lose any of your principal by owning I-Bonds.

But by holding these bonds you will earn interest — which is comprised of two components: a baseline interest rate and an inflation adjustment.

That baseline rate is currently just 0.1%.

However, the latest inflation adjustment brings the bond’s composite rate up to 1.64% through April 30.

And while today’s I-Bonds are probably not going to be big winners over the longer term, they’re still neat gifts for kids — especially since they carry special tax exemption when used for education purposes down the line.

You can buy electronic I-bonds from www.treasurydirect.gov.

Of course, you can also consider giving what I consider an even better investment gift to a child  …

Gift Idea #2
A share (or more!) of a solid dividend stock

It’s no secret that I love dividend stocks, especially for long-term portfolios. But giving stock as a gift might seem a little complicated at first blush.

Fortunately, there are websites out there that make it easy and economical to give even a single share of stock to someone else. Many will even send a nicely mounted stock certificate right to the person’s home!

That’s a great, tangible way to get somebody interested in investing.

Image Credit: The Walt Disney Company

Heck, I can still remember getting a paper stock certificate from Disney as a child. It was a real thrill to see — and hold — my ownership stake, especially when it was colorfully decorated with Disney’s famous characters.

Two popular sites for gifting stock are www.giveashare.com and www.firstshare.com. I don’t have any personal experience using either but they look like good places to start.

More of a hard asset kind of person? You can always consider…

Gift Idea #3
Something made of gold or silver!

While I’m not the resident expert on precious metals, and I’ve been openly bearish on them for the last several years, I certainly recognize their long-term allure … especially now that prices have come down substantially.

Plus, let’s be honest — it’s pretty cool to hold something like a 1907 St. Gaudens Double Eagle in your hand!

In addition to the most popular numismatic coins, you could also look at modern U.S. American Eagle coins, maybe even matching the date to the recipient’s birth year or some other special milestone.

Or, for the best value, it’s almost certain you’ll find the lowest premiums over spot prices on bullion bars, bricks or coins. One of my personal choices would be 1-ounce bars minted by a well-known producer like Johnson Matthey.

Last but not least, there’s always …

Gift Idea #4
A Good Investment Book!

There are thousands of titles out there to choose from … and your choice will surely depend on the interests of the recipient. But some classic titles that I always recommended are "The Intelligent Investor" and "Security Analysis," both by Benjamin Graham.

The father of value investing, and Warren Buffett’s mentor at Columbia Business School, Graham knew a thing or two about picking stocks. And these books are both considered must-reads for anyone who wants to approach investing with discipline.

Of course, I can’t exactly call those books page turners, which is why I typically point people looking for a little more entertainment value toward Michael Lewis. His titles like "Liar’s Poker" and "The Big Short" manage to give readers a real window into the inner workings of Wall Street with plenty of humor and insights along the way.

There are also countless books on the approaches of investing wizards from Buffett to Peter Lynch … one of my all-time historical favorites, "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" by Charles Mackay … plus some great books that cover the often-esoteric world of technical analysis.

And for anyone who could stand to do a little financial housekeeping, there are numerous titles that cover personal finance topics, budgeting and other basics … including the introductory book I wrote for McGraw-Hill 12 years ago.

Of course, these are just four of the many ideas you might come up with.

The main point is to look for gifts that can truly enrich their recipients’ lives for the better. And as far as I’m concerned, any present that can help someone achieve financial independence is a great choice.

Best wishes,

Nilus Mattive

Your thoughts on “Forget Black Friday deals, and look here instead…”

  1. Hi Nilus, thanks for telling people about http://www.GiveAshare.com . Giving someone one share of stock in a company they love is a clever gift for anyone but especially for kids. Imagine a kid getting a share of a company like Disney, Apple, Netflix, Nike, or GoPro. The framed stock certificate is the attention-getter and keeps it front and center hanging on their wall. Then each mailing from THEIR company (ie declared dividends, annual reports, invites to shareholder meetings etc.) becomes a learning opportunity. I received a share of Topps Chewing Gum Inc. as a youngster and it changed my life. We started GiveAshare.com in 2002 to replicate that experience for other kids to help improve their financial literacy.

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