Harlen Miller, artist and author of “Slow Down Arthur, Stick to Thirty,” said, “Probably the reason we all go so haywire at Christmas time with the endless unrestrained and often silly buying of gifts is that we don’t quite know how to put our love into words.” The Christmas Season, as well as birthdays and anniversaries, are occasions of great joy, as well as frustration, especially when it comes to selecting gifts for the elderly.
While there is a plethora of gift ideas for young children, what-to-buy for parents is especially difficult for a few reasons
Parents often have the financial ability to buy what they want when they want it
Past gifts, as well as purchases, have been accumulated for decades – so much, in some cases, that there is little space for storage in their houses
Aging has diminished their physical or mental abilities to enjoy active participation or use complicated electronic gadgets
Gift givers may lack the time or inspiration to create an unusual gift or experience for their parents
As a card-carrying member of the AARP Generation, I understand the dilemma of my children seeking gifts to please me or my spouse. However, I can also attest that the gifts I’ve treasured the most over the years were not the most expensive, or even available from a store, but were crudely made ashtrays, hand-painted pictures, or special moments of time and togetherness given in love. Simple, often inexpensive gifts that say “I love you” or “I remember the good times” are the ones that will be kept and revisited year after year.
Great Gifts for Parents From Adult Children
1. A Personal Letter from a Child or Grandchild
A handwritten, heartfelt letter from a child or grandchild is always appropriate and becomes more cherished as time goes by. Grammar and misspellings don’t matter; there is no grading and no critic who will review the contents for plot or accuracy. Simply recalling a time that was shared between child and parent, expressing how much enjoyment you felt, and thanking your parent or parents for that memory is enough to make it special.
According to a recent Pew Research report, more than one-half of people aged 30 or older have investments in the stock market and 80% of those making $75,000 per year or more have equity investments. These investments include individual stocks and bonds, as well as mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
While many suffered from the sharp decline in the market in 2008 – it lost 38% of its value – the S&P 500 closed above 1,800 on November 22, 2013, more than doubling its low of 721 on March 11, 2009. As investor confidence returns, many analysts predict that the market is going to continue its bullish behavior well into 2014 and beyond. Whether you select individual stocks or bonds or rely upon an investment manager to do it for you, it is important that you choose an investment approach fitting to your attitudes and goals.
Components of Investment Success
The optimistic outlook for stocks provides a great opportunity for existing and new investors to review strategies and adjust investment philosophies to optimize their future results. Financial experts agree that investment success is highly dependent upon the following activities.
The need for personal security seems to be hard-wired into humans, reinforced by eons of experience since early man first ventured from the trees to seek an existence in a hostile world. Modern man no longer worries about saber-toothed tigers or the availability of sufficient prey; the object of today’s fears are rooted in future employment status, global economic events, and government actions that can complicate or devastate comfort and security.
Ancient man prepared for the future by learning to preserve food, rationing supplies for use at a later date. Civilized man prepares for the unknown by storing up modern-day units of exchange in the form of currencies, savings accounts, stocks, and bonds. While our ancestors’ savings were subject to the perils of spoilage, physical theft, and pests, our own savings are subject to their modern day equivalents – chance, taxes, and inflation.
As it was then, so it is now – the path to financial security isn’t always easy or clear. That said, with guidance on what to save, how much to save, and when to save it, you’ll have the tools to start developing a stockpile of financial security for the future.
This article first appeared on esl101.com on December 11, 2013.
Working and living overseas is an adventure that few Americans get to enjoy. An estimated 6.3 million worked abroad in 2012 – many lived in exotic places, immersing themselves in a new culture often very different from that of the United States. But one obligation shared by U.S. citizens everywhere is the requirement to file and pay U.S. income taxes, regardless of domicile.
The United States is the only industrialized nation that taxes its overseas citizens, even if they are paying taxes elsewhere. As a consequence, if you are an expatriate – an American citizen living abroad – you should be aware of the income tax laws affecting you, as well as the opportunities you have to minimize their impact.