We made a big fuss about my daughter’s first birthday. She had no idea what was going on. What I wish I had realized instead is that her birthday was a big deal for us, but just another day in babydom, for her.
Now that I’m older and wiser and my daughter is also older and more wise-cracking, these are the gifts I wish I had lined up for her on her first birthday instead.
Then, if I had served a cake and she had barely noticed, it could have been to celebrate her parents for being so smart and planning ahead. So, implement as many of these suggestions as you can by the time your child turns one. And if you have not implemented them by that first birthday bash, be sure to give them some serious birthday cake for thought.
Whenever you get money gifts from relatives, put half of the money in your child’s savings account. You will be so glad you did later.
Safety Deposit Box.
Savings accounts are a fairly vague concept for kids to understand. But all kids innately understand the concept of treasure. Take them to visit your family treasures and show them how you keep important documents there. And while you have their attention, teach them all the ways you use the bank to manage your money.
If you can put aside even just $50 per month, it will really add up over the years and make a significant dent in your future college costs. A 529 plan is a tax-advantaged savings plan designed to encourage saving for future college costs. 529 plans, legally known as “qualified tuition plans,” are sponsored by states, state agencies, or educational institutions and are authorized by Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code.
Name As URL.
We are living in the digital age and life is only going to become increasingly online and virtual by the time our little ones become big ones. So it’s nice to know that your future celebrity or entrepreneur has digital security in the form of their name reserved online. How will they use it? This is a lot less important right now than making sure that the possibility exists. Don’t worry about hosting. All you need to pay for is the URL itself and the privacy to keep your personal information offline.
Family Library Card.
Your child may be too young for a library card in your town, but make sure you have at least one library card for your family. Having one card actually makes it easier to keep track of what has been checked out than multiple cards do. Take your baby to the library regularly for story time and puppet shows and other entertaining, educational events. As your child grows, introduce him to the various age-appropriate sections of the library.
Your child is probably too young to understand personal economics. How about you? If you are one of the many Americans who feel overwhelmed, inexperienced or uninformed when it comes to money management, let your baby be your wake-up call. You can get yourself involved in money management coaching formally by searching for a certified coach online. Or ask your local banker for a little money-management advice based on how much you are earning and saving each month. Sometimes just having a neutral mentor to discuss savings strategies with can make a wealth of difference. Then, later, as your child grows, either coach your child on money management yourself, or call on your trusted mentor to help you do the job.
As parents, you can give thousands of dollars to your children each year without any tax consequences. Are you making sure that you are taking advantage of every tax-saving option available to your family? Furthermore, if you are overspending on taxes, that money could be going into your child’s savings or college accounts. Make sure you are working with the most reputable and vigorous tax professional you can reasonably afford to help your family legally save as much as possible on taxes.
Written by Christina Katz