Gifts for a richer life

Savings bonds

Savings bonds are a reliable gift that keeps on giving as interest accumulates. You can purchase a savings bond for as little as $25.

The only way you can obtain paper bonds these days is in the form of a tax refund. Since you'll have to plan far ahead for that, the only feasible option is an electronic bond, which you can purchase at TreasuryDirect.gov.

To gift bonds, you'll need to know the recipient's full name and Social Security or taxpayer ID number. To buy for a child younger than age 18, you'll have to do so with a minor linked account with a parent or guardian.

You can buy either Series EE or I Bonds. Both can earn interest for up to 30 years.

Series EE currently pay 0.10% interest through April 2014 while I Bonds pay 1.38%.

Twenty or 30 years from now, when they forgot they even had the bonds, they'll come as a welcome surprise again.

You can print a gift certificate to give to the recipient while they're waiting for the bonds.