Financial Gifts That Grow

Stocks & Bonds

Financial Gifts That Grow

These stocking stuffers are a smart investment for all the good little girls and boys on your shopping list.


Back when savings bonds dangled juicy yields, they were natural stocking stuffers for kids. (And it didn’t hurt that until 2012 you could buy a paper certificate instead of dumping the money into an electronic account.) As we went to press, series EE bonds were paying a paltry 0.20% fixed interest rate, and little change was expected when the Treasury Department announced rates for bonds issued on or after November 1.

See Also: Gifts That Keep Giving

Still, a savings bond could be a good bet for a new baby. Although early redemptions are restricted, if you hang on for 20 years — in time to pay some college expenses — the Treasury guarantees that an EE bond will be worth at least double the purchase price. That’s an effective yield of 3.50%. You can buy a bond for a minimum of $25, and up to $10,000 per calendar year, through TreasuryDirect.

You may want to contribute to a child’s tax-advantaged 529 college savings account or set up an account with the child as beneficiary (for our 529-plan picks, see The Best List). Or you could buy shares of stock. With ShareBuilder, you can open a custodial brokerage account for a child. ShareBuilder requires no account minimum and doesn’t levy inactivity fees. Online trades are $7 each.

If you’d rather stick with a gift that’s safer than stock but more flexible than a savings bond, check out the free SmartyPig savings account, which recently yielded 1%. At, you can buy a physical gift card for $25, $50 or $100 (or choose a value between $10 and $200 for a virtual gift card) and send it to your recipient, who can use it to fund a new or existing account. (An adult must open an account for a minor.)