smart spending

12 days of financial gift giving

IRAs, CDs and savings bonds
IRAs, CDs and savings bonds © Elenathewise - Fotolia.com

IRAs, CDs and savings bonds

On the 8th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me ... a jump-start on the road to retirement.

Saving for retirement should begin "as soon as a child has earned income," says Seaman. "It's another way to enforce savings."

Linfield agrees. Her 3 teens are all working, and each already has an IRA.

"I don't think that's a bad gift," she says. "We want to teach them to plan for retirement early."

Seaman recommends starting with U.S. savings bonds, CDs and an IRA.

"This really brings home the idea of delayed gratification, the idea that you cannot have everything that you want today," she says. "Tools like this can really help people in their budgeting and planning for the future. They generate a little bit of income, but they make you wait for it. It's never a bad idea to wait to spend your money. It gives you more time to contemplate what you're going to do with it."

But Levine questions the wisdom of starting so young.

"For those older teens who have income, it certainly is not a bad thing, but I don't think there's a need to rush our teens and preteens into thinking about retirement savings," she says.

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