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Published July 10th, 2019
Lynn's Top Five Meaningful family gifting that won't break the piggy bank!
Lynn Ballou is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER T professional and Regional Director with EP Wealth Advisors, a Registered Investment Advisory Firm in Lafayette. Information used in the writing of this column is believed to be factual and up-to-date, however, we do not guarantee its accuracy. This column does not involve the rendering of personalized investment advice and is not intended to supplement individualized professional advice. A financial, tax and/or legal professional should be consulted before implementing any of the strategies directly or indirectly suggested and discussed. All investment strategies have the potential for profit or loss.

A lot has been written about how to get our adult children to launch, to stop living on our couches, and to get their stuff out of our houses, closets and garages already! But I don't think enough is written about next steps - how parents and grandparents can affordably help their successfully launched children and grandchildren in ways that are beneficial and enjoyable to both. If you have a little wiggle room in your budget, and you'd like to make a positive impact now and enjoy watching the results, here are five time tested ideas from my many years as a CFPr for your consideration.
Help fund their Roth IRA annually! Whether you add $600 or $6,000, I think we can agree that it adds up. In fact, if you help out by adding just $1,000 per year to your working child's Roth, and it grows at 6%, that will be a nest egg of $36,786 in 20 years. If they can't qualify for a Roth, think about a nondeductible IRA. Some clients have a matching program idea going on with their adult children by matching dollar for dollar money they invest.
Pay for travel. Another fun idea involves asking your grown children if they'd enjoy a vacation and fund it for them as their annual holiday, birthday or anniversary gift. You can be cost conscious by keeping it small such as paying for an overnight weekend in Monterey, all the way to a week-long Disney cruise, just for some examples. I know a lot of us will pay for our grown children and their families to accompany us on a trip, but perhaps they'd enjoy some family time on their own. House and dog sit for them and give them the gift of time and the space to connect with each other.
Piano, ballet and soccer, oh my! Working parents in the Bay Area typically are on the tightest of budgets. Stepping in and paying for extras for their kids can be hugely impactful. Maybe you treat for a week at Space Camp? Or swim team, violin lessons or maybe gymnastics? Talk to your children about what they'd appreciate having help budgeting for. Many of us remember the deep enrichment program activities at the schools we attended as children. Most of those are add on costs these days. By stepping up and offering to pick up the costs (don't forget the uniforms and equipment!) you are helping recreate those same opportunities. No grandkids? How about treating your grown children to a gym membership, kick-boxing class or adult softball leagues?
Babysit and underwrite Parent's Night or Weekend Out. It's an incredible gift for your children when you offer to take care of the grandkids for a night or even a weekend. But remember that often still leaves them short of funds to afford a nice dinner out and a movie. Be there with a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant and the movie theater they enjoy most. And for adult kids with no children, no problem, they'll also appreciate those gift certificates!
Estate Planning and Financial Planning - the Gift of Counsel: A session with a financial planner or an estate planning attorney is something very few adults can fit into their budgets, especially when just launching. What a positive impact you can make on their lives by treating them to consultations with pros early on in their working years. I've never met anyone who says they wish they had waited longer to get their financial plan and estate plans set up. Be the hero in their lives and help them have a leg up with life changing advice.
Enjoy living your life even more by providing a small financial leg up to those who matter most to you. The joy of gifting doesn't have to involve enormous sums that sabotage your own financial future because as they say, it's the little things that count.

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