Mother’s Day Gift Ideas–The Gift of Retirement

May 10, 2013

The other day I was talking with my financial adviser about whether I should be thinking more along the lines of dollar-cost-averaging when it comes to funding my retirement account. That is, I usually put money in it once a year as a way to offset my tax liability. However, I’ve recently discovered that doing that–and allowing him to “buy” once a year only–could be hurting my chances of getting good “deals” that could be had throughout the year if I was funneling money regularly into my retirement account.

Does all that sound like gibberish to you? If you’re a mom like I am, sadly you may not be alone.

A consumer study by ING U.S. found that mothers are the least prepared for retirement compared to both men (including fathers) and women in general. I’ll admit that my retirement account is nowhere near as large as my husband’s is. But then again I’ve been self employed for 20 years and self funding my IRA. My husband, on the other hand, puts money away in his retirement account, but his employer matches it as well.

This Mother’s Day, you may want to consider some Mother’s Day gift ideas that are off-the-beaten-path and keep on giving for years–and that would be the gift of financial security. Think about it this way: the average amount spent on Mother’s Day this year is $169, according to the National Retail Federation – which is an all-time high.  If that money – or even part of it – were instead put towards investing and savings, it could make a big difference for mothers now and in future years.

I got this idea from Jacob Gold, a financial advisor and ING Retirement Coach, who reached out to me with his three suggestions for financial Mother’s Day gifts. Of course, part of the pitch is to use ING for your retirement account (my money is with another company), but overall these are good ideas for anyone who has been neglecting her retirement savings or future financial health, and could use a boost for Mother’s Day.

  1. Get the conversation started. If mom doesn’t already have a financial advisor, making this connection for her can be the start of ongoing education that you can participate in together.
  2. Think life insurance, too.  Many women can’t rest easy until their spouse gets adequate life insurance to protect the family. Perhaps Mother’s Day is the incentive you need to provide that peace of mind for the mother of your children and check “Get life insurance” off your to-do list.
  3. Boost Her “Orange Money”.  Setting aside “orange money” for retirement savings can help mom pave the way for her retirement years. Considering that moms may not be putting retirement savings at the top of their long to-do list, spouses and children can support mothers by prioritizing saving for retirement. Working moms can often take advantage of employer-sponsored retirement savings plans such as 401(k)s, while stay-at-home moms can save through an individual retirement account (IRA) that is specifically in their name.

After getting these tips from Jacob, I sat down with my husband to talk about the health of our retirement account. I’m pleased to report that, together, we have put away more money than I’d realized. Plus, because we have our money in mutual funds, it’s been able to grow over time, even with some small dips during the recession.

Next up on my gift-giving list? Graduation, as my daughter is a high school senior. Perhaps the best gift we can give her is to have her start saving for retirement as soon as possible so that one day, when she becomes a mother, she won’t be behind in putting away money for retirement. Looks like someone’s getting an IRA for graduation!

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