Mississippi Money: Giving Your Values
By Ryder Taff
When I was 8, a cousin gave me my first set of garden tools. With my new shovel and rake, my dad and I built a raised garden bed that I continued to use even after graduating from college! My cousins shared with me their love of gardening and made a lasting impact on my life and habits. We often strive to give meaningful gifts – we want our gifts to bring joy in the moment, but also leave a lasting impression. Is it possible for money to carry the same value and memories that a sentimental object possesses?
A matching gift of $18 from my dad helped me open my first bank account at age six. After my first full-time summer job, my mom matched my earnings to open an investment account for me. With both of these gifts, my parents showed me not only that they valued the work I had done, but gave me the means to continue being a good steward of my money. As a child I continued to put extra money in the bank when I could and today I set aside money from every paycheck for investments.
I was fortunate enough to have grandparents who valued education and gave generously to help pay for college. While I knew that there was money there, I was never included in the conversation. Now, parents have the option of a 529 plan account that is a simple, tax efficient and transparent way to save for a child’s college.
If giving to charity is something that drives you, enlist your children’s help in selecting where to give. If you give in their name, it will be exciting and instructive for them to see their name in a list of donors, or to receive a token of appreciation.
If you still just want to give cash, do it creatively! Make gentle suggestions about how the money should be used. Use the “spend – save – share” buckets to encourage good stewardship of the gift.
Giving money as a gift can be easy, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be meaningful. Money can still guide the recipient on an inspiring path without coming with heavy strings attached. Make the gift a conversation about money, and you will be sure to make a lasting impression.