Photographs: Rediff Archives Ramalingam K
Diwali is less than a week away and you must already be busy thinking of what to gift your dear ones this year.
Sweets, crackers, gold coins and jewellery are some gifts that might come to your naturally. But do you want to surprise your parents, spouse, kids, and even household help?
Allow me then to unbundle some unusual gift ideas for this Diwali here.
Gift ideas for children
This may not seem like a great idea, but it can be tweaked. You could gift the piggy bank to a child with 90 Re 1 coins inside. Set a target for the child to make it Rs 100 in a month. This motivates the child to save Rs 10 extra to make it Rs 100.
Likewise you can set a target for a year. Also announce some bonus when the child achieves a particular target. Say when the amount reaches Rs 1,000 give the child a bonus of Rs 100.
The idea is not only to gift the piggy bank but also to encourage and motivate your child to save.
Savings account for kids
It is a greta feeling to get a bank account in one's own name, specially for kids.
Whatever cash gifts your child gets for Diwali, Christmas, New Year, birthdays and other special occasions can be deposited in this account. Whenever, the account balance crosses a particular limit say Rs 10,000 or Rs 25,000 it can be withdrawn and invested in mutual funds or FDs in the their name.
This creates awareness about savings and investments. You are laying a strong foundation of personal finance management for your child.
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh
Board games such as Trade or Business or even Monopoly are great to teach kids the value of money, buying assets, spending less, saving more, investing and the like.
There are also so many online games like these. These games can teach complete money management in fun-filled way.
Mutual fund SIP
Start a mutual fund SIP in your child's name. You can contribute only for the first month installment and ask your child to pay out of his or her pocket money for the subsequent installments. This way you teach your child about the stock market nuances also.
Gift ideas for your spouse
Photographs: Rediff Archives
How will your spouse feel when you give them a gift that assures their present lifestyle forever? You are here today earning and providing a lifestyle to your family. If you retire, can the same lifestyle be maintained? If you meet with any mishap can the same lifestyle be maintained by your family?
To protect your lifestyle after your retirement, you need to do a detailed retirement plan. I am not advocating unit linked pension plans here. I am talking about a comprehensive retirement plan.
To protect the lifestyle of your family from your premature death, take a pure term insurance plan. Calculate in detail your human life value and then cover that amount of value with a term insurance policy.
If you are planning to gift gold coin/s to your spouse, think about gifting gold ETFs instead. The are easy to buy and sell. No need to safeguard them in a safe deposit vault.
Gift ideas for parents
Monthly income scheme
Your parents will need monthly income when they grow old and retire. Gift them an investment option which gives them a monthly income. You can get monthly income by investing in FDs, POMIS (post office monthly income scheme), mutual fund MIPs and the like. Your parents may not be depending on you, but still, this extra cash flow out of your investment gift will allow them to enjoy their life more as senior citizens.
Most insurance companies cover senior citizens with an extra premium or with a co-payment option.
Co-payment is when a claim comes in the insurance company will pay some predetermined percentage of the claim and the balance will be co-paid by the claimant (in this case your parents or you on their behalf).
Gifting a mediclaim policy will relieve them of the pressure if paying high hospital bills, which are unavoidable as they age.
Gift ideas for friends
You can choose to gift a few good personal finance books to your friend/s or colleague/s. Instead of sending them e-cards, you can surprise them by e-mailing a personal finance article with your Diwali wishes.
Gift ideas for household help
Gifting a mediclaim policy to your maid is a good idea (they may think that buying a mediclaim cover is very costly and avoid investing in one themselves). Along with the mediclaim policy, you can add accidental insurance for your driver, too.
Gift ideas for others
Instead of gifting money or gold, it might be a good idea to gift blue-chip company shares. Even a single share can be gifted. Since it is a gift, people will not sell them immediately (hopefully) and keep it for the long term. A single share can grow with bonuses over a period of time.
Let us start surprising our loved ones this Diwali with these unusual gifts.