Software makes a useful gift, as does a college tuition check

The Ticker

December 17, 1997|By Julius Westheimer

MORE last-minute financial gifts:

In addition to investment books, magazines, shares of stock, savings bonds, mutual funds, and so on. (Ticker, Nov. 14), here are fresh ideas for children and adults on your list:

SOFTWARE GIFTS: For Christmas or Hanukkah, give financial software, choices of which are endless. For children, you'll find software programs that teach basics about money -- saving, spending, investing and so on. For parents and older relatives, try retirement planning software. For the husband or wife who cannot balance a checkbook or keep a budget, try personal finance programs that track credit card purchases, budgeting and investing. "For the enthusiastic investor," says Financial Perspectives, "consider software for picking mutual funds or perhaps a stock selection online service."

GIFT OF COLLEGE: Grandparents who are extra-generous to grandchildren and who also anticipate large estate taxes might make tuition payments directly to the college. The payments do not count against your annual gift-tax exclusion. Also, it's an ideal way to shift money out of your estate to family members.

GIFT OF PATIENCE: Does the Asian crisis frighten you out of stocks? Local adviser Morry Zolet sends "60 Reasons Why People Avoided Stocks Many Years Ago." Samples: The Depression, war in Europe, Pearl Harbor, President Eisenhower's heart attack, Korean War, President Kennedy's assassination, Vietnam, Watergate, 1986 headline "Dow Nears 2,000 -- Market Too High," and so on.

But $1,000 invested in 1934 in the S&P 500 index is now worth $755,000. Moral: Don't let news bulletins upset your long-term investing program. Give yourself the gift of patience.

GIFT TO FAMILY: Every mid-December, each family head should make a list, "Where Things Are," including whereabouts of stocks, bonds, T-bills, insurance policies, brokerage accounts, safe deposit box and keys, passport, will, living will, power of attorney, names of lawyers, accountants, and so on.

Give copies to your spouse, children, secretary, lawyer, etc. Update the list each year.

Pub Date: 12/17/97

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