When I was little my grandparents gave me several gifts of small savings bonds that matured while I grew up. It was a small gift that grew over time and taught me a little about finance.

I'd like to do the same for my nieces but apparently now it's more complicated---you need SSN and other info and I'm not sure what is allowed. While I can get this info, I'm not sure it's appropriate.

In 2018, is there an equivalent investment vehicle one can give as a gift to a young relative?

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    Not a direct equivalent, but you might consider a 529 plan (education) contribution. Someone would still need their ID to open an account and make them the beneficiary, but it would perform better than a savings bond over the long run.
    – D Stanley
    Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 0:07
  • Somebody needed my SSN in 1976 for an UGMA stock gift so that's not new, but I don't know if my grandmother had it directly, or my father set up the account for her to gift, or this is a service lost with the collapse of the monopoly of full service brokerages.
    – user662852
    Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 4:22
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    I posted a very similar question that received a number of useful answers that you may want to look at: money.stackexchange.com/questions/36852/…
    – Nicholas
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 21:45

4 Answers 4


There's nothing that's as simple as a paper savings bond that has the same kind of simplicity and low risk. Paper savings bonds still exist, but they must be purchased with your tax refund.

If the child is likely to receive other gifts, or a significant gift from you (several thousand dollars or more), perhaps the parents would be able to set up a UMTA account with something like Vanguard. Then you could gift to that account.

Otherwise, my suggestion is to simply gift cash. Encourage the child's parents to start a UMTA (bank) account for the child, and gift them cash; if the parent wishes later on to move it to an investment account, they can do that. I held money in a similar account as a child and eventually used it for college.


What about something like American Silver Eagle coins? I believe the average price is around $10-15 and they should (generally speaking) hold with inflation or possibly appreciate in value. Having some shiny silver coins in a safe place is also something a child might appreciate more than a piece of paper. Of course, you could also do gold coins if you were so inclined.

Savings bonds seem to have fallen out of favor as gifts due to the annoyance of both you and the child's parents setting up an online account for the digital bonds. As well as the fact that interest rates have been close to negligible for awhile; though they are finally back over 2% for Series I bonds I believe.

There aren't many other things I can think of that wouldn't require the parents (or an attorney) to setup an account. But I do applaud you for trying to teach your nieces about the value of money and saving.

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    42 years ago, I received 1oz silver rounds as gifts. Solicited by me as preferred to underwear. $5 at the time, now silver is $16/oz. A 2.8% CAGR vs the $507 value I’d have in the S&P return since then. I have nearly 100 of these, worth $1600 vs the $50K I could have. Silver and gold are not investments, in my opinion. (Of course, the dictionary and I differ). And, respectfully, I am not the down voter. Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 17:37
  • @JoeTaxpayer Appreciate the comment. Precious metals certainly aren't the investment most of us look for, but I thought maybe they might spark the child's interest in money and how finance works. Also, many of us who own our own business don't get a tax refund (unless we overpay intentionally) so buying paper savings bonds is even more of a hassle for some. It is sad there isn't an easy option for situations like this.
    – Keith
    Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 17:47

Bitcoin (or any cryptocurrency that you think it will value more on the future);

United States Bonds (you can give it to children) https://www.treasurydirect.gov/indiv/help/TDHelp/help_ug_126-LinkedAccountLearnMore.htm


In 2018, is there an equivalent investment vehicle one can give as a gift to a young relative?

Yes. It is called Bitcoin (or [better] Ethereum). No complicated rules. just make her a paper wallet and send the money to it. It will be more relevant to their future anyway.

  • This is an interesting idea that is apparently soundly rejected by the community. I would be curious to hear in the comments why this is such an unpopular answer (volatility, speculative nature of legal status across 18 years, risks of theft and fraud in an unregulated market, unknown status for taxing as a gift or investment, etc).
    – Steve
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 2:18
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    @Steve You named them already, but how about unknown status of whether it'll still be worth anything in 10 years? (Even if cryptocurrencies are still around in 10 years, will they have dropped 1000x in price? Will the specific cryptocurrency you choose still be worth anything?) Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 4:16
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    At this point in time, cryptocurrencies are not investments, they are speculation (and occasionally useful for long-distance money transfers and for illegal activity, but the excessive volatility tends to ruin those too) Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 4:17
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    If one is looking for a long-term investment for a child what is wrong with a speculative investment? Besides nobody can say any investment - even in Google, or Bank of America will be worth anything in 10 years. The pace of technological change is increasing and the pace of disruption is also increasing. I stand by my answer.
    – Doug W
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 5:40

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