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Hello all my little sister is getting married, and I'm looking for a gift that will be appreciated/enjoyed, but will also help teach her the value of a dollar, how to save and budget, the value of savings and interest, etc. She makes OK money, but spends like a Kardashian, so is always in credit card debt, home equity line, etc. I have tried many times to help her with budgeting and personal finance, but it goes in one ear and out the other. (Most of the spending is on clothes, purses, iPhones, flat screen TVs, dining out, just wasteful stuff.)

I don't want to just give her cash and watch her buy some expensive outfit she will wear twice then throw in a closet. Or a 4th flat-screen TV. Or a new iPhone to replace her Galaxy III. Etc. Like I said, I want it to be instructive, but not "preachy" -- which is why I don't think a session with a financial planner will work (she'd look at it as homework, and it would go in one ear and out the other).

Some thoughts I had:

- A savings bond that won't mature for a while (but interest rates are terrible, and she'd probably cash it in ASAP instead of waiting 20 years).
- Purchase a CD (where I keep the principal) and give her the interest -- like a quarterly reminder that savings are good because they produce tangible benefits. (Say, a $5,000 CD that gives her $100 a year in interest for 5 years.)
- Donation to a 529 college savings plan, but a little odd since there are no kids yet.
- Maybe some sort of investment (like LED bulbs, but on a larger scale) that will save her money in the future. I don't think she needs any new major appliances that I know of, though, and solar panels are probably outside my budget.

I want to give her something nice, maybe in the $500 range or so, but am flexible for a great idea that costs more. I am hoping some of the great minds at FW have some good ideas that could help prod my sister towards a better financial path for the future. Basically, I don't want to give her a fish, I want to teach her how to fish, if that makes sense.

Thank you in advance for any helpful advice!

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I think your idea is nice but misguided. A wedding present isn't really the place to try and make her more responsible. All that will end up happening is that she will be annoyed at you. Better to give her something cool and personalized rather than another random thing.

An example, my sister preserved my wife's wedding bouquet and my boutonniere in a very nice shadowbox with the wedding invitation and some other wedding related items. A very thoughtful gift, and very appreciated.

A dissimilar spouse

Gift card for a divorce lawyer for when her soon to be husband gets fed up?

Isn't a wedding gift supposed to be for both the bride and groom? Perhaps he will straighten out her spending in time, or is loaded and it is a non-issue.

pics of your sister?

I don't think the 529 plan would be too weird assuming she hasn't told you she plans on never having kids.

Really though, you're not going to get much across to her with any gift.

I don't think a wedding gift is the best place to try to teach her financial sense. If you don't want to give her money and don't want to give her something thoughtful, just get her something from the registry list.


Have Bubble King paint up a pink Crown Vic.

Agree w/others that what you're thinking is not really appropriate for a wedding gift. Go thru her wedding registries and pick something that seems to make practical sense to you.

Toaster

Two turntables and a microphone!

Sister is old enough to get married, shes old enough to learn it the hard way, through the school of hard knocks.

Books:

Millionaire Next Door
Rich Dad, poor Dad
Rich Bitch, Poor Bitch

I thought you give them a gift, not her?

pietromoon said:   A dissimilar spouse

Sadly, he is exactly the same way (already has a bankruptcy). So I fear they are headed down a difficult path and I am trying -- in a non-preachy or obnoxious way -- to help steer them toward a less stressful future.

I know it is a tough balance to come up with something generous and helpful and appreciated and enjoyable but that also helps them financially in the long term (that's why I ruled out a session with a financial advisor or books on personal finance they won't read). That's why I'm soliciting advice from FWF and not just picking out a cool gift or writing them a check and being done with it.

harruin said:   I don't think the 529 plan would be too weird assuming she hasn't told you she plans on never having kids.

Really though, you're not going to get much across to her with any gift.


They do plan to have kids relatively soon, so I think the 529 is a possibility.

It won't get across much of a message or change behavior (which may be impossible), but it will give them a guaranteed chunk of money (that they can't blow on purses) that will help out and they will be grateful for when/if their future kid is ready for college. God only knows how expensive higher education will be then.

A coinbelt loaded with nickels and the "Pillars of Investing" book.

Get her a sewing machine and a couple yards of fabric.

These spenders are like drug addicts. You can't help them help themselves. They have to want to change. I like the 529 college savings thing. It probably won't be appreciated for a good 18+ years though.

How about you matching some money every month that she sets aside. For example, if she contributes $50, you do $50 (or some multiplier). She has to contribute (save) for atleast x months and you will match upto y limit for so many months. In the end, if she doesn't touch her contributions at all then you would add a little bit of bonus. She could just give the money to you every month or you could have your parents hold it or you open a joint investment account somewhere. You can get as crazy as you want.

If she is getting married, she would need a reality check so school of life is not a bad option though she is your little sister and there is an emotional component.

Good Luck!


Just give them cash. Spend the time you would have spent to fix them to practice you firm "no" when they come around to shake you down.

tajar96 said:   How about you matching some money every month that she sets aside. For example, if she contributes $50, you do $50 (or some multiplier). She has to contribute (save) for atleast x months and you will match upto y limit for so many months. In the end, if she doesn't touch her contributions at all then you would add a little bit of bonus. She could just give the money to you every month or you could have your parents hold it or you open a joint investment account somewhere. You can get as crazy as you want.

If she is getting married, she would need a reality check so school of life is not a bad option though she is your little sister and there is an emotional component.

Good Luck!


Thanks for the thought-provoking and out-of-the-box suggestion. It could be a way to encourage her to save (since interest rates suck, I could artificially goose her return and double her money in 2 years or whatever).

Or something like a CD at the Bank of Big Brother (please do not add this to the CD rate thread, the FW effect will ruin it!) where I pay her 10%, but she can't touch the money for X years or whatever. I'll have to percolate on this for a bit.

I know you can lead a horse to water and all that. And I also know throwing money at the problem only makes it worse (my parents tried this approach). So I'm trying to think of a way to improve their future life together, not just buy them one more TV that won't really help them. Perhaps changing their ways is impossible, but at least I want to do something that will make a meaningful impact on their future.

Hopefully your sister has a gift registry of what she wants, not what you want to give her to subtley teach her your money values. It's ok that you don't want to give her cash. Please use her registry and select something in your price range. Something tasteful both bride and groom will enjoy for their new home, like a lovely table lamp, eight nice crystal goblets in their pattern, or something like that.

Make sure the girl you marry is more like you than your sister

whodini said:   Make sure the girl you marry is more like you than your sister

Already done, thank God. I am very thankful we're highly compatible that way. I would imagine it would lead to many, many fights otherwise.

Lotto tickets

If you don't want it to be something spent then dont give cash bonds or

most importantly dont set up any kind of account. you are scolding/telling her you are better than them by doing this

Just stay out of their finances , there is nothing you can do to help these people.

If she's not hitting you up for money, her spending habits are really none of your business. Getting a finance-related gift seems preachy to you because it is preachy.

AlwaysWrite said:   
I want to give her something nice, maybe in the $500 range or so, but am flexible for a great idea that costs more. I am hoping some of the great minds at FW have some good ideas that could help prod my sister towards a better financial path for the future. Basically, I don't want to give her a fish, I want to teach her how to fish, if that makes sense.


You got the idea already. A $500 range/stove might be perfect. She could stay at home and cook and save a lot of money.......

Coffee maker.

I agree with the Greek chorus here - just get her the KitchenAid mixing bowl on her registry (saving 5% with FW shenans, of course) and give her a personal finance book of your choice AFTER the wedding. Oh, then stay the f clear of the financial train wreck that you know is coming. :-/

Sisters are pretty good at picking up on passive aggressive "gestures." Her wedding is not the platform for an insulting gift. If you want to do something preachy in a year or so like a matching retirement account, feel free, but weddings are already fraught with stress and family drama. Don't add to it with an obnoxious "not-really-present" when people are already emotional and stressed. Get her something genuinely nice that will make her happy, even if you think it's stupid. The gift should have no strings attached. The "gift" you are planning right now is inappropriate, intrusive and mean-spirited, despite the supposedly "good" intentions (of demonstrating your financial superiority....)

Get her some shares of a company that aligns with her interests. Worst case, she sells it and keeps the cash. Best case, she gets interested in investing.

When I was a teenager, a family member bought me a few shares of stock. Got me really interested in investing and that turned out pretty well for me...

bullcity said:   

The "gift" you are planning right now is inappropriate, intrusive and mean-spirited, despite the supposedly "good" intentions (of demonstrating your financial superiority....)

Well said

Pick out a cool gift or write them a check and be done with it.

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   bullcity said:   

The "gift" you are planning right now is inappropriate, intrusive and mean-spirited, despite the supposedly "good" intentions (of demonstrating your financial superiority....)

Well said


That's because I myself am a preachy older sibling. But it turns out that my little siblings are more likely to ASK me for my advice if I treat them like capable, independent adults. And even if they didn't, it's more important to me to have a friendship with my siblings than it is to me that my sister have a good relationship with her landlord or my brother avoid paying fees on international transactions.

Hitachi Magic Wand

Skipping 35 Messages...
Wedding gifts I still use frequently:
Kitchen trash can (use it every day)
Plates/silverware/glasses
TiVo (am on my second one now, but used the first one a lot)



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