Gifts for a richer life

A SmartyPig account

Your loved ones may be good at bringing home the bacon, but not at saving up for the things they want. Here's a way to help your parents save for their dream vacation or your brother put money aside for the new Xbox.

Indeed, encouraging someone to establish a SmartyPig account is a great way to get them in the habit of setting financial goals.

Here's how it works. First, purchase a SmartyPig gift card, which the recipient would use to fund a new savings account (www.smartypig.com). Then, he or she will need to establish a savings goal, which can range from $50 to $250,000.

SmartyPig links to an existing checking or savings account, and money will be transferred regularly to the online piggy bank. Funds in the SmartyPig account, managed by the regional bank BBVA Compass, earn 1.00% APY.

It also can be a social event. Friends and family can contribute, and SmartyPig can be linked to a Facebook or Twitter account, announcing savings progress and creating a sense of communal responsibility so they’ll be encouraged to hit their savings goal.