As I have gotten older, the idea of receiving gifts has gotten less and less exciting. When you're young, really young, the idea of receiving any kind of toy is exciting. When you're a teen or young adult, you may have a few things you would like to have, but they are not obvious things. In other words, your aunt who you see a couple times a year would have a lot tougher time picking something out for a 19-year-old than a 9-year-old. At least in my case, if I want something I buy it, and would rather pick out my own clothes then have someone else give me a sweater I don't really like. Sometimes gift-giving can seem a little forced. Quite frankly, the best gift you could receive as a young adult is a check. But checks are no fun, just giving people money doesn't fit it with the contemporary, materialistic Christmas spirit.
One of my favorite podcasts Rule Breaker Investing did a show on giving gifts. The host broke down gifts into three categories:
Category 1: Material Things ex. toys, clothes, games
Category 2: Experiences ex. tickets to a show or game
Category 3: The gift that keeps on giving - I will explain later.
There is a time and place for every gift. Category 2 gifts are usually less obvious, but can be more valuable to those beyond the material age. You may play that new video game for two months, but you'll always remember when you and your grandfather went to the football game together, or when you took the family ice skating.
But this article is intended to teach you about category 3 gifts, the least known, yet the most valuable gift of all. Category 3 gifts are the gift of stock. It is like giving money but a little more appropriate. It is better than gift card as it appreciates over time. It can even be humorous if you give someone a stock of a company they love, or perhaps buy from too much. Does your friend abuse Starbucks? Why not buy them a share of Starbucks so they can be a part owner of that company. And most importantly, giving someone a stock is educational. Giving someone their first stock may be the spark that teaches them about savings and investing their money for the future. If you know how to save, and you know how to invest, your financial future is much more secure.
Category 3 three is the gift of money, experience, education, and even novelty. And it is a gift you can easily give online. Websites like stockpile.com make it easy to gift stock in affordable amounts. Stocks are truly the gift that keeps on giving as the vast majority of time stocks value go up over time. Next time you are unsure of a gift to give, consider the gift of stock.