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There is no better way to build real wealth than to find ways of raising up the children in our lives. Whether it’s the young people in our families—children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, cousins—or those in our personal networks, such as godchildren, or children in our faith—and school communities and in our community at large, many opportunities exist to support our children to learn, grow, and prosper.
At a time when bank deposits and investing in the stock and bond markets offer limited opportunities for significant current returns on investment, and the risk of loss on even traditionally low-risk securities is real, meaningful gifting to the next generations can provide bountiful dividends far into the future.
Gifting to children is something we can all do, no matter what our financial circumstances are. I started out thinking in terms of a maximum annual monetary investment per child of $13,000 (for a single donor) or $26,000 (for married-couple donors), which reflects the maximum annual U.S. federal gift tax exemption (see section on tax issues below). The more I explored gifting opportunities, however, the more I realized how many ways we can gift with much less money than that—even at little or no cost.
Various gifting options can be evaluated on a continuum of time and money allotted, providing multiple opportunities for family members or friends to “conspire” to gift together. And the number of opportunities expands enormously when those who have time and those who have money pool their resources to help the children they love. Indeed, we can not only help our children to learn and grow, but we can also create important volunteer and paid positions that help provide purpose and income for those of us who find ourselves unemployed or underemployed.
This review focuses on gifts designed to help children build the knowledge, habits, and skills they need to understand and participate in our economy and the investment process, and to become financially independent. It also highlights ways for children to understand and relate to real assets and enterprises rather than financial speculation and manipulation.
Members of my Solari Circle were solicited for input on these topics. In the process of brainstorming, we realized that readers might be interested in participating as well. If you have ideas on gifting to the children you love or success stories you would like to share, I would be delighted to review these for possible publication to supplement this article. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and specify whether you would like them shared on a named or anonymous basis.
Gifting ideas and related issues have been organized as follows:
- Building Good Health
- Building Practical Skills
- Financial Literacy
- Arts & Music
- The Whole Family
- U.S. Federal Tax Issues
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