Contributed by Gerald H.
The holidays have gotten so commercial: there is Black Friday where you can get the best deals on holiday gifts; a long list of toys needed in a letter to Santa; there are secret Santas at the office.  Soon your wallet is empty and your credit debt is through the roof.  Instead of giving products as gifts, why not give the gift of financial independence.
Piggy Bank/Savings Account. For small children a piggy bank is a great way for them to learn to save.  They get to touch the money, put it in the bank and watch it grow.  They can keep track of how much money they are saving and begin setting small money goals.  Older children can be taken to the bank to open a checking account. Don’t do it for them. Instead take them to the bank for the experience of opening an account and working with a bank. They may even get a lollipop. Noting like a piece of candy to reinforce saving.
Prepaid Credit Card.  The ramifications as consumer debt are evident yet there is a role for responsible credit card use.  Prepaid credit cards can be a great way to teach our children how to understand credit by giving them a prepaid credit card.  The first installment of money on the card can be a gift and then they can deposit more money on the card.  They will quickly see that money disappears quickly and that credit cards are not free money.
Stocks.  Investing in stocks is a great way to teach your kids about the stock market and the economy.  They can choose their favorite companies and you can buy some stocks for them.  They can then keep track of how their stocks gain and lose money. They will also understand that by owning stocks they own a piece of the company.
IRA.  If your child has already started working, you can open an IRA with them. Having an IRA will help them learn to plan for the future and understand the advantages of delayed gratification.
529 Plan.  Saving for college expenses is a smart idea.  There are tax advantages to a 529 plan as well as fixed income choices that are 100 percent insured.
Charitable Contribution.  Teaching children to give back teaches important prosperity principles. It shows children the value of money and how it can be used as a tool to make a difference. If you give your child three ten dollar bills, encourage them to spend one, save one and give one to a charity.
Financial independence is one of the greatest gifts you can give. What are other ways to give financial independence?  We invite you to share your ideas in the comment box below.