This Christmas will hopefully be a time when families come together to share some festive cheer and forget the economic gloom. While nobody wants to be a Christmas Scrooge, choosing gifts can be tricky and after the festivities there can be a lot of waste from unwanted throwaway gifts that have been bought just to have something to give. There is another way, however, and while most of us focus on spending rather than saving or investing at Christmas, you could put your money to better use with the potential of some financial sparkle.
So, if you have no idea what to buy for someone this Christmas and want to resist giving in to consumerism, or just fancy giving something different, here are some ideas.
Children’s saving and investments
Many parents, and grandparents in particular, prefer to make a financial gift, either in cash or by opening an account or investment. The idea is that you can help children build savings for the future as well as good savings habits. This could be as simple as a piggy bank where young ones can see their saving grow. Another option is to contribute to a savings account or a tax-free Junior ISA. If they don’t have one already you could arrange to open one in their name.
You could also choose to lend some money in the name of someone, which could earn them a return later through peer-to-peer lending to other people and businesses
There are a growing number of peer-to-peer lending websites which allow you to lend money to people or businesses keen to borrow, such as Lending Works or Funding Circle. You can invest from £1 and choose to lend your money over terms of up to five years and enjoy a rate of more than 5%.
This isn’t without risk, as the money isn’t protected by the Financial Service Compensation Scheme. However, the big peer-to-peer lenders all have contingency funds in case people get into trouble.
This is the opportunity to give someone the gift of becoming an armchair Dragon with their own investment portfolio supporting exciting new British businesses. If you are looking for something with a bit more excitement you could enable someone to become an investor in a company or project that they have an interest in. There are plenty of companies out there offering the option to invest small amounts, often as little as £5.
Website such as Seedrs and Crowdcube, allow you to invest in both start-ups and existing businesses. These operations are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, although again they aren’t without risk – there is a chance you could lose you money if a business goes under.
Castletons Accountants Ltd is NOT authorised or regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. We do not offer any financial advice in any guise. The value of any investments can fluctuate and you may not get back the full amount you have invested. Do not invest unless you have carefully thought about whether you can afford to and whether it is right for you. It is highly recommended that you always seek professional advice before entering into any contract.