Gift Ideas for the Financially Savvy

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Most of us find it hard to find gifts to celebrate special times. So I compiled a list of gift ideas for the financially savvy person in your life to help you plan for the holidays.

Of course, you can also just give people gifts as a way to make them feel special, even when there’s no occasion.


The best time to start a person’s financial education is when they’re still young. For young children, it’s best to keep it simple. Start by teaching them the value of saving their money. 

For this, you basically have two options: open them savings account or give them a fun piggy bank.

Open a Savings Account

Forget about which bank offers the highest interest for a kiddie savings account or which bank has the most benefits. The best bank to open for your child is the bank nearest your home or the bank they most likely to visit (with you).

Choose the bank near your home which you can easily visit with your child and open a kiddie bank account with them.

For kids, out of sight is out of mind. The closer and more visible the bank to your child is, the most likely they will become more conscious of the fact that they have money in that bank.

At this stage, the goal is to make the child be aware of the importance of saving their money. You can also slowly introduce them to the fact that a bank is an important resource and institution.

You can open a savings account for your kid for as low as Php 500.00. Some banks even issue an ATM. This is a great way to teach a child to use an ATM. (Trivia about me: I only learned how to use an ATM when I was already on my first job.)

gifts - kids

Piggy Banks

If the child in question is not your own (it’s hard to open a bank account for another person’s child), you can get them a fun piggy bank instead. There are all sorts of options you can choose from.

For example, you can get one of those cute stuffed electronic animals in a box that “steals” coins. Amazon has a variety of them, like this panda or even this Godzilla “stealing” and hiding their coin.

You can also get cute ones that double as room decor. I personally love this transparent pink Unicorn piggy bank from Amazon. It’s great because the child can see how much money is inside the piggy. And it doubles as a cute decoration.


Open an In-Trust-For (ITF) Account

For an older child that already has a savings account, open them an in-trust-for (ITF) online brokerage account instead.

An ITF brokerage account will be owned by the child but will be under your guardianship. The child can only have legal access and full control of the account once the child reaches adulthood. In the Philippines, the age of majority is 18.

An ITF account is usually opened so that an adult can invest on behalf of the child.

Since a minor cannot enter into a legally binding contract, an adult has to have control of the account. An ITF account is usually opened by a parent or grandparent, who provides funding.

The child can also put their own money in the account and trade in the stock market themselves, with their parent’s approval and guidance.

You can open an ITF brokerage account for a minor with most online brokerages in the Philippines.

I personally opened an ITF brokerage account for my child with AB Capital Securities and it was easy. What I like about AB Capital is that you don’t have to fund the account yet when you open it. The opening balance can be zero, unlike other brokerages that demand to know how much you will send them from the beginning.

To open an ITF account, indicate on the application form that the account will be an ITF. Submit a copy of the child’s birth certificate along with the other requirements.

For AB Capital Securities’ requirements for opening an ITF account, please visit this link.


Professional Clothing for Fresh Graduates

Professional clothes are perfect gifts for young adults about to join the workforce. Help the fresh college graduate in your life by gifting them clothes that they can use for job interviews and their first months on the job.

If you can afford it, be generous and have an entire suit made.

You know that in Manila, having a suit made to measure does not have to be expensive. You can visit Kamuning in Quezon City and have a suit made to measure for around Php 10,000.

If an entire suit is out of the budget, you can opt to gift them individual pieces instead. The best option is a tailored suit jacket, which always completes and elevates a look.

Choose one that has a proper lining, in a classic cut, and has a neutral color, like black or navy. Everybody looks good in navy. If it’s within your budget, buy a wool jacket because it’s more classy and professional.

gifts - professionals

Personal Finance Books for Those Seeking More Financial Knowledge

Here are some of the personal finance books I recommended to family and friends in the past:



The original financial independence and early retirement (FIRE) guide. It’s still very popular with the FIRE community more than 20 years after its initial publication.

Your Money or Your Life introduced the concept of calculating a person’s real hourly wage. In essence, the book helps you evaluate if what you’re spending your remaining time on Earth is worth it. It also provides practical tips on how to achieve financial independence.

I wrote about the importance of calculating your real hourly wage and provided some computations based on my experience as a BPO worker more than 10 years ago.

You can read about it here: How to Calculate Your Real Hourly Wage and Why You Should Do It.



This is another personal finance classic and an eye-opener. The Millionaire Next Door shows that possessing the usual signs of wealth – flashy cars, big houses, and extravagant lifestyle – doesn’t mean one is rich. Actually, it may be the reverse. That person may be drowning in debt trying to keep up with the Lopezes (instead of the Joneses, geddit?). Based on studies, many of America’s millionaires are silently accumulating wealth to pass on to the next generation.



I love this book because it’s the first FIRE experience that I’ve read from a female, non-American, immigrant perspective. So many good ideas on this work, including ones that can be adapted to achieve FIRE conservatively.


Read my review of the Quit Like a Millionaire in this post.

Family In Case of Emergency Binder for the Planner

gifts - ICE

I personally have this product and I love it! The Family ICE binder is a great tool that can help people organize information in case of emergency or of their unexpected death/incapacity.

The ICE binder comes in an editable pdf file that you can print or save as a pdf. What’s great about this is that you can update it constantly every time there are changes in the entries. This means once you buy the ICE binder, you can practically use it forever.

Some of the information that you can put in the ICE binder include:


  • Important personal and family information
  • financial and investment information
  • property information and
  • medical guidelines for the kids and other loved ones


It even has a section where you can write special instructions and/or messages for those you will leave behind. And while it’s designed for those who live in the USA, people outside of the US can use it too.

Get the Family In Case of Emergency Binder from Smart Money Mamas for US$ 39.00.

Kiva Gift Card for the Feminist

Giving a Kiva gift card as a gift for the feminist in your life has two advantages: (1) You support a cause important to the receiver and (2) the receiver will have the opportunity to have a direct impact on the life of another person through lending.

The good news is, Kiva borrowers have excellent repayment records. So the receiver will actually make a little money off your gift.

A Kiva card is a gift that you can give to the woke person in your life who basically has everything sorted out.

Remember kids, not only women and girls can be feminists. Men and boys can be feminists too. In fact, anybody can be a feminist regardless of their gender and sexual orientation.

To quote one of my favorite feminist writers, Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie – we should all be feminists. If you can’t read her book, watch her TEDx talk on Youtube.

Donation under their Name for the Socially Conscious

We all have that person in our lives who have it all together. What do you give to the person who has everything?

One way to give that person a present is to make a donation under their name/in their honor.

You can make a donation under their name to end polio with End Polio Now. What’s great about this is that their contributions will be matched by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

This gift will not only make the person under whose name the donation was made feel special, it actually has a real impact in the world. It can change people’s lives.


HMO Coverage

It can be hard to find health insurance for people aged 60 and up. Why not gift the senior citizen in your life with a 1-year HMO coverage?

The best balance between affordability and acceptable coverage I found is Maxicare PRIMA Gold for Php 12,999.00. Cardholders have unlimited lab tests, diagnostics, and consultations to seniors aged 60 and up in Maxicare clinics. It also has Php 20,000 emergency room coverage and even covers preexisting conditions.

I bought my father a 1-year membership with Maxicare PRIMA Gold early this year and my parents are pretty pleased with Maxicare’s service. (P.S. I will write a review of this product once I can talk to my parents in person this holiday.)

Buying HMO coverage for a family member or friend may be one of the most financially responsible gifts there is. The savings from the consultations alone make up for the cost of buying the 1-year coverage.

Good luck with finding the perfect gift for the financially savvy person in your life!

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Katie Scarlett

is a personal finance advocate working towards achieving financial independence and early retirement (FIRE).

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