I'm a chronic procrastinator, especially when it comes to getting presents. And since I'm sure you might also find yourself in need of a last-minute gift for someone in your life, I want to give you a couple investment-related ideas today.
The first is something I talked about a few weeks ago and I think it's especially good for a child in your life ...
Gift Idea #1:
As I explained back in October, 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.
As you might guess, that baseline rate — which sticks with the bond for its entire 30-year lifespan — is zero right now.
However, the inflation adjustment is determined twice a year in May and November ... and is based on changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the prior six months.
The rate determined on November 1 was 3.06 percent (annualized), which is far better than you'd get from a CD or just about any other ultra-conservative investment right now.
And while today's I-Bonds are probably not going to be big winners over the long-term, they're still neat gifts for kids — especially since the Treasury will no longer be issuing paper bonds after December 31.
It's very easy to buy paper I-Bonds as a gift for someone else — one of your local banks or other financial institutions is probably a dealer. Or, 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 in your life ...
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. 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.oneshare.com and www.giftsofstock.com. I don't have any personal experience using either but they look like good places to start.
Last but not least, what can you give a friend, co-worker, or adult family member?
How about ...
Gift Idea #3
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've recommended in the past 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 more recentThe 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!
Last but not least, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that many of your favorite Weiss Research editors and analysts — including Martin Weiss, Sean Brodrick, and yours truly — also have books out there on local bookstore shelves (or via Internet booksellers).
Of course, these are just three of the many ideas you might come up with.
The main idea is looking for gifts that can truly enrich their recipients' lives for the better. And any present that helps someone achieve financial independence certainly fits that bill!
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