Last Minute Gift Ideas – A Financial Education

So you’re down to the nitty gritty for Christmas gifts yet again.  Last year you promised yourself it would never come to this again.  No more last second stressful dashes to the mall to fight crowds of other anxiety-ridden zombies.  Yet somehow December just flew by again this year, and now you don’t know what to get your mom or dad (don’t they already have everything?).  On top of that your budget has taken a hit and you still need to keep something in the bank for next semester’s tuition!  Have no fear, we’re here for you.

The first thing you need to realize is that internet shopping and Amazon is your friend.  By this point you might be pushing things if you want to qualify for free shipping, but usually their two-day shipping options are fairly cheap in Canada (when are we going to get Amazon Prime anyway?).  As an English teacher, I am bias in terms of thinking everyone would simply love to get a book or two for Christmas.  While I know that isn’t really the case, they do make decent last-second purchases if you try to personalize things a little bit.

All I Want For Christmas Is…

From what I can tell by looking at the Government of Canada statistics, there are a whole lot of Canadians out there that could use a gift that keeps on giving – personal finance knowledge.  Even if someone just casually flips through the book and reads the odd highlight or a specific section, it could mean huge savings and/or investment returns that could have a fairly large effect on their lives.  That’s a pretty sweet gift from where I’m sitting!

Now narrowing down a personal finance reading list to only a few selections that can fit inside a stocking and are pertinent to Canadians is a little daunting.  We’ll do our best to keep it short and sweet however as we know you have that office party to go to, and that Christmas baking isn’t going to do itself!  Here is our top list (in addition to our free eBook of course – which is also a great resource to recommend over the holidays!) :

1) The Wealthy Barber and The Wealthy Barber Returns By David Chilton

D-Chill is still the gold standard by which others are measured in the world of Canadian personal finance.  Even though Mr. Chilton now shares a stage with Kevin O’Leary and the rest of the corporate Dragons, he originally made his fortune by writing an easy to understand book that millions of people have read and credit with making a difference in their lives.  It is a great introduction to personal finance that is a quick-read and about as non-painful as personal finance gets (I actually found both books quite entertaining, but then again I’m  nerd that recommends personal finance books so what do I know).

2) The Millionaire Teacher by Andrew Hallam

If you’ve got a reader on your list that knows a few of the basics in terms of budgeting and saving, but is unfortunately locked into ugly mutual funds, I recommend this book which is written by a guy who communicates knowledge for a living.  I completely agree with his investing philosophy 100%, and I love how Mr. Hallam breaks down the reasons why nearly all Canadians would be better off in passive investing.  He includes several entertaining anecdotes which become solid examples for his main points, and he even includes a step by step process to get where he is today – literally a millionaire on a teacher’s salary!

3) The RESP Book by Mike Holman

For any parents out there (especially ones with young children) The RESP Book is a must-read (or at least a must-glance through).  With post-secondary costs escalating every year, and our government listening much more to people that actually vote as opposed to young adults, there is a solid chance your current little bundle of joy is going to need to some help if they want to get through school without a ton of debt waiting for them at graduation.  Registered Education Savings Plans are a great tool that the government has created to encourage parents to save for their child’s education.  It is also being completely ignored and underutilized.

4) A Subscription to Moneysense Magazine

Admittedly this doesn’t fill a stocking, but it is a great gift nonetheless.  If you’re a Canadian and haven’t yet checked out this publication I urge you to do so immediately.  Every issue contains information on real-life personal finance situations, and recommendations that are written in plain-speak so that the average Canadian can quickly get a grasp on things (as opposed to getting frustrated by intense financial terminology.  Debt, credit cards, savings strategies, investment tips, and many more can be found for a very reasonable price.  I’ve personally given this give to a couple people.

I know not everyone on your list will be receptive to getting books about financial stuff for their Christmas gifts, but I feel good about recommending these options on a large scale because of the way they are written and just how non-intimidating they are for the average Canadian reader.  Does anyone else out there have some last minute book recommendations they’d throw on this list for stocking-stuffers?

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