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Give the Gift of Money this Season

As the holiday season approaches, think outside of the box for gifts that can truly make a long-term difference for those you care about. Many shoppers turn to gift cards, but studies show that nearly $1 billion in gift card value goes unused each year. As an alternative, turn to your community-focused financial institution for monetary-based gifts that will pay dividends down the road.

Financial gifts are a great way to help younger recipients, such as children or grandchildren, get a head start on long-term goals like college or help later in life when emergency financial situations arise. It may not be the most exciting gift right now, but they'll appreciate it later.

Here are some examples of gift money you can give:

1. Savings bonds

oklahoma credit unionYou may remember receiving a savings bond as a youth, and they are still a great way to introduce the world of finance and long-term saving to children. Bonds tend to grow steadily by earning interest – up to 30 years if the recipient is patient. Bonds are available in Series EE or Series I form, both of which accrue interest monthly and semi-annually on a compound level.

2. Certificate of Deposit 

If you are considering a gift of more than $1,000, look to a Certificate of Deposit, or CD. If the money won't be needed for a set amount of time, a certificate is a great way to earn a better guaranteed return for the recipient. As an example, a 60-month certificate offers a 2.15% annual percentage yield. Remember, there are penalties if the certificate is cashed in before the period ends, so make sure this gift is long-term.

3. 529 Account

oklahoma credit unionCollege grows more expensive by the day, so there's no better time to start saving than now. Over the last 30 years, the average tuition has increased by 213%. One of the easiest ways you can help newborns or young children achieve higher educational goals is through a 529 account. These state-sponsored plans allow owners to set up an account for beneficiaries to have tax-free funds to use for college tuition and expenses.

4. Savings Accounts

One of the simplest ways to get children and teens thinking about fiscal responsibility is by opening a savings account in their name. For instance, the Youth Club Savings accounts at Oklahoma Central Credit Union offer easy ways to set up accounts for kids, which give them the opportunity to earn interest and other incentives by making deposits.

5. Stocks

Stocks can be a fun gift for either children or adults, especially if the shares involved are from a product or company the recipient admires. Stocks are more volatile than other financial gifts, but can produce a substantial return over time. Certain online brokerage sites allow you to purchase stocks from popular companies to be gifted. If you are purchasing or transferring stocks as a gift for a minor, an adult will have to serve as custodian until the recipient comes of age.

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