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12 money gifts for mom

The traditional treat for mom's big day is flowers or a nice meal out. But Mother's Day is also an ideal time to pitch in with a gift that will help mom with her finances. That's because while mom is busy caring for everyone else in the family, it's easy for her own needs (and finances), to get lost in the shuffle.

In this day of do-it-yourself savings and retirement, that can be dangerous. "You can't let 20 to 30 years go by because you're busy raising your kids," says David Bendix, CPA, CFP, and president of the Bendix Financial Group.

So this year, think about a gift that will give mom a lift toward a long-held dream or goal, or something that will help her connect with her inner Donald Trump.

The real message you want to convey: I love you and I want you to put yourself and your financial health first.

A dozen money gifts for mom
1. A session with a financial planner 7. Buy her financial software
2. A class in eBay selling 8. Appointment with a credit counselor
3. Class in money management 9. Encourage her entrepreneurial dreams
4. Open an IRA 10. Give her a piece of her favorite company
5. Get a coupon organizer 11. Subscribe to a money magazine
6. Find a women's money club 12. Make a money date

Here are a few ideas:

1. Spring for a session with a financial planner or investment adviser
For a few hundred dollars you can find a fee-only financial planner to help her with budgeting, money management or setting and reaching money-related goals.

It can be a couple of hundred dollars "very well spent," says Bendix. Part of the value: objective advice from someone neutral outside the family, he says.

You can expect to pay $75 to $150 per hour, depending on the location, says Robert Pagliarini, CFP, author of "The Six-Day Financial Makeover." So for $150 or $200 it's a great way for her to sit down and "check in" with her money and financial goals, he says.

One source to find a pro: the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, a member group for fee-only financial planners, at

2. Does mom love bargain shopping and garage sales?
Think about a class in eBay, "so that she can learn to buy and sell," says Ginita Wall, CPA, CFP and co-author of "It's More than Money, It's Your Life!"

"A lot of people are interested in eBay, they just don't know how to use it," Wall says. Check your local community college or go to to find local classes or info on online and DVD courses.)

3. A (legit) class in money management or investing
One good way to screen out fake seminars that are simply a shill for products or services: Go through a local college. Community colleges often have some good offerings.

4. How about opening an IRA or retirement account for her?
She could then select the vehicles and choose how much to have deposited directly to the account every month.

If she's home raising the kids and doesn't have her own salary, consider a spousal IRA, which allows her to bank money from family income.

"It's building for her future and will multiply many times over," says Wall.

5. Is mom the queen of coupons?
Consider a coupon organizer to help her take charge of those errant but valuable scraps of paper.

A bonus: Open a savings account at a bank in or near her favorite grocery store, says Wall. The deal: After shopping, mom writes herself a check for the amount she saved with coupons and specials to go toward one of her shorter term goals, "like a cruise," says Wall.

Next: "Is mom battling a pile of debt?"
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