It’s never too early (or too late) to give the gift of financial literacy. Whether you’re shopping for a financial whiz or a complete newbie, we’ve got you covered.
Adopt Me! On Roblox
Sorry parents, but your kids are getting an excuse to play this game. While on the surface players just trade for pets or buy them funny outfits, the trading activity actually mimics much of what happens on financial markets. Pets have different trading values, so if you play it right, you can make sure you have pets that everyone wants, so you can get better ones in return. You also have to manage your cash flow and avoid getting scammed. While the game is on a free app, you can buy Robux (through the App Store or a physical gift card) to have more capital for pets and other in-game extras.
Nintendo’s Animal Crossing
This super popular game simulates life in a village filled with animal neighbours. It looks cute, but it’s all about negotiation and financial management. You get a mortgage that you have to pay off, take on debt, and sell or trade items. You even get to invest in the “stalk market.”
These sports video games include a team building component that lets players make teams, manage salary caps and bid on players to make teams, teaching them to budget and manage money to get the players or team they want. They’re in charge of the franchise, and need to make the financial choices required to build the team they want.
Money for Nothing: The South Sea Bubble and the Invention of Modern Capitalism, by Thomas Levenson
People seem particularly adept at forgetting the financial lessons of the past, especially when it comes to bubbles and panics. Thomas Levenson wrote about the South Sea Bubble of some 300 years ago, which caused thousands of people to lose significant amounts of money (including the likes of Isaac Newton and Alexander Pope). He not only takes readers through one of the first massive financial scandals in modern history, but also the birth of modern financial capitalism – and offers readers some valuable perspective on modern-day investing.
Capital and Ideology, by Thomas Piketty
In this follow-up to his bestselling book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty invites readers to consider new ways to think about history, politics and ideology, arguing the current systems support inequality, before proposing a more fair system. Since our economy and markets aren’t natural phenomena, but rather a human construct, he argues, it’s possible to craft a more balanced approach to sharing knowledge and power.
Stock Explore!, by Nicolette DiMaggio
Stocks Explore! Follows a 7-year-old girl on a journey to learn about her first stock. Throughout the book, Elle acquires five superpowers, which teach her the principles of financial literacy. It was funded through a Kickstarter campaign and meant to teach kids how to invest in stocks.
FOR THE SERIOUSLY FINANCIAL
Stocks and Bonds
This may not make you the most popular gift giver, especially with the younger demographics, but it’s 2020 so no one is expecting anything great anyways. What better way to teach your loved ones about finance than to actually help them buy stocks and bonds?
You can give them a small amount of money earmarked for investing and show them how to buy a stock online, or buy a savings bond for them and then follow its progress. Some sites even give you a frameable stock receipt or stock replica so you have something to wrap.
Sometimes it’s better to give than to receive – even if someone else is doing the giving for you. Donating to a person’s favourite charity or contributing to a cause that has a special meaning to them can be a great way to lend a hand, encourage empathy – and even get a tax break.
Another possibility is to opt for a gift card to Kiva or another microlending platform, which makes small loans to help people in mostly developing countries. They can then look through the site and select a cause to support.
It’s never too early to start saving for a child’s education, or to help a teenager save for college. Even if you’re not officially one of their RESP contributors you can still gift money to be deposited into their account and gain the tax benefits and government matching within these accounts.