Grandparents and grandparents-to-be out there may be wondering how best to bestow gifts on their precious bundles of joy. This question has come up many a time in our vibrant discussion board community, eliciting interesting responses each time. Here, for example, is a query from Buffettjunkie, a.k.a. "Grandpa Dan":
"I have my first grandchild on the way (due in a week) and I want to invest some [money] for him/her to be available in about 21 years. Does anyone have any advice on what to do?"
Here are some responses:
ziggy29 said: "Is the intention to have them use the money in 21 years, say for education or toward a home purchase? If so, then perhaps you can take a lot more risk now and decrease it as they get closer to the age of majority? A 'lifecycle' fund with a target date of 2025 might work for that purpose. That will be mostly in stocks now, and gradually become more conservative as the years go by. If it's intended for long-term investment and retirement, on the other hand, I'd stick it in a total market index fund and forget about it."
Fuskie commented: "I gave my nephew a $100 I-bond when he was born. An uncle gave me 100 shares of Cessna when I was born. When the company was bought out (I was a teenager), I bought [shares of] Borland
Perhaps to cheer Fuskie up, Ramseesforever said, "You're lucky -- I got stock in WorldCom and Enron."
[Permit me here to point out that giving gifts of stock to children as they grow up is a great way to get them interested in investing. It's best to stick with companies they know and like -- ones they'll enjoy keeping up with -- such as Nike
Bogwan offered a slightly different take, suggesting the money be used "to enhance the kid's pre-college education. In particular, a second language would be a very good idea. Tutors, coaches, trips to museums, vocational education, etc. I really doubt that college will fix any problems the kid has. By the way, why isn't the kid getting a scholarship?"
On another board, EllenB116 noted, "I have a separate IRA set up with my grandchildren as the beneficiaries. It's tax-deferred now, and the kids can defer taxes even after I'm gone, if they're smart. Unless they change the tax laws, of course. The good thing about keeping the money in your name is it's yours. You don't know what life holds for you, either. And it's really the grandkid's parents' responsibility to provide for their kids. Hopefully they will."
If helping to pay for your grandchildren's college education is of interest, you can find lots of tips on paying for college in our College Savings Center. Our Paying for College discussion board is a good place to ask questions you may have, and our book, The Motley Fool's Guide to Paying for School by Robert Brokamp (editor of Motley Fool Rule Your Retirement) is also a handy resource. Don't neglect this topic, because college is becoming astronomically expensive -- recent estimates suggest that a college education for children born today might top $200,000.
For more ideas, opinions, and advice on all kinds of topics, from investing to pets to sports to cooking, take a little time to explore our rich Fool Community of discussion boards. You can try them for free for a month, and I bet you'll be surprised and impressed by what you see. Many people have made great friends on our boards. Drop in and see who you meet.
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Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article.