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Ditch the Gift Card! A Better Money Gift for Your Kids, Your Spouse, Your Friends, and Your Tribe

Give the Gift of Financial Responsibility

It’s crunch time for that last minute holiday gift. So you reach for the old stand-by: the gift card. You’re in good company: 67% of holiday gift-giving consumers do the same. Definitely not an original idea. Not only that, your money may end up being wasted. An estimated $750 million in gift cards will go unused this year. Lame.

There’s a better way to give someone money on a card that won’t be wasted, isn’t tied to a single merchant, and isn’t just a one-and-done proposition (or perhaps even a none-and-done proposition considering that $750M stat). In fact, there’s an alternative that can actually encourage good money habits for years to come.

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15 Quotes to Inspire Less Spending and More Giving

Make a heartfelt gesture on #GivingTuesday

Today is Giving Tuesday — an international day of giving that falls right on the heels of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which are apparently our unofficial national days of mindless spending. Giving Tuesday is a refreshing counterpoint to consumerism. That makes it the perfect trigger point for a family discussion about philanthropy.

Reading this after December 2? No worries. Any day is the perfect day to start a discussion about charitable giving with your kids.

Need a conversation starter? Try these 15 great quotes on spending wisely and giving thoughtfully:

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Why Is the Stock Market Your Kid's Friend? Family Finance Picks for November 2014

The Market Is Your Kid's Long Term Friend!

Are you stuffing your child’s savings in a bank account because you’re afraid of the stock market? If so, what do you suppose the annual return after inflation will be? Minimal. In fact, it may be negative.

Whether you’re a millennial or not, you might want to check out this excellent article in the Wall Street Journal: The Market Is Your Friend. Really: A Millennial’s Advice to Peers. First, it explains why the fear that millennials (and perhaps you) have about investing in the stock market is quite understandable. Second, it explains why they (and perhaps you) really need to get over it! The bottom line: 6.8%. That’s the average annual return after inflation that the stock market has earned since 1871, and that’s in the face of 29 recessions, 1 Great Depression, 2 world wars, and plenty more disasters. If you’ve got time on your side, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find a smarter long term investing strategy than a low cost US stock market index fund. And, fortunately, time is one thing your kids have in spades!