Northwestern Mutual: 5 Holiday Gifts That Last a Lifetime

Deciding what to give loved ones for the holidays can be incredibly challenging. But when it comes to financial education and empowerment, some gifts truly keep on giving. Here are six holiday gifts that last a lifetime and are options to consider for kids and adults alike. 
1. A Financial Education Class 
There are plenty of free online offerings these days that can teach someone everything from making a budget to ways to get out of debt. But there are also more in-depth courses that charge a fee, such as those offered at Udemy. Education has the power to change lives, so for someone struggling with getting their financial house in order, this gift can provide them with financial empowerment for a lifetime. 
2. Investments Toward Education 
A parent or grandparent can open an educational savings account (529 plan) for children at any age. In some states, the gift is tax-deductible, and the money will have the advantage of tax-free growth and tax-free withdrawals for qualified educational expenses. And that means the gift itself will have an outsized impact when considering how much it can grow over time. 
3. A Life Insurance Policy 
Grandparents may want to give a gift that will protect children financially in the future but that they can’t spend right away. And a whole life insurance policy is a gift that fits that criteria. This kind of life insurance will protect a child’s insurability with permanent coverage and also offers the ability to accumulate cash value. 
A policy purchased today could accrue cash value that enables grandkids to one day use the money for a home purchase or education. And while a whole life insurance policy is typically inexpensive for young children, keep in mind that it may require many years of payments before the policy is considered paid in full. 
4. Personal Finance Books 
The education obtained from personal finance books can impact loved ones for years to come. And since the core lessons of financial education don’t change frequently, any books given can likely be referenced again down the road. Bestsellers like Think and Grow Rich or The Richest Man in Babylon might be a good place to start for beginners. 
5. An Extra Payment Toward Debt 
If a loved one is working to pay off a student loan, mortgage, or auto debt, offering to make an extra payment toward the debt can be incredibly impactful. Keep in mind that depending on the kind of debt, this could be a costly present. But helping family members and friends reach debt-free status is a gift they’ll cherish forever. 
The Bottom Line 
Instead of giving another plastic toy this holiday season, why not shift focus to holiday gifts that last a lifetime. Financial education classes, investments into college savings plans, life insurance policies, books, a meeting with a financial advisor, or an extra debt payment can all have a tangible impact on friends and family. And with any luck, that initial gift can help create financial changes that will last a lifetime. 
Source: Northwestern Mutual