Nephew graduating high school & joining military. Gift Ideas?

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UTgrad
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Nephew graduating high school & joining military. Gift Ideas?

Post by UTgrad » Fri May 18, 2018 8:08 pm

So my nephew is graduating high school and joining the military in a few days and im having trouble deciding on a gift to give him.

I am not wealthy, but do have more than most family members which is why I feel some pressure.

I am in the stages of building wealth and paying debt, so what would be a reasonable amount to spend or gift to give him? It would set the stage so to speak for future gift giving since I have more that will be graduating in the coming years. Thanks in advance!

Gill
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Re: Nephew graduating high school & joining military. Gift Ideas?

Post by Gill » Fri May 18, 2018 8:19 pm

There’s not much he can use in the military. They give you everything you need. Cash would be very welcome for when he first has leave time. How about $50?
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Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: Nephew graduating high school & joining military. Gift Ideas?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Fri May 18, 2018 8:22 pm

Cold hard cash$$. Give what you can afford - $50? $100.
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Strayshot
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Re: Nephew graduating high school & joining military. Gift Ideas?

Post by Strayshot » Fri May 18, 2018 8:26 pm

Depends what you want to spend......

Electronics are good, either a tablet if you want to go inexpensive (fire from amazon) or an iPad or if you want to go expensive get him a laptop and if you go really expensive get him a gaming laptop.

Otherwise I would get him a watch. The Casio g shocks are popular if you want to go inexpensive, but if you want something that will last and serve as a memento get something like a Hamilton khaki field auto or even a nice citizen. In either case go with a metal band (I like titanium over steel) so the band won’t wear out on him.

That’s my .02!

Candor
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Re: Nephew graduating high school & joining military. Gift Ideas?

Post by Candor » Fri May 18, 2018 8:55 pm

Depending on what branch/mos a good quality knife might be appreciated/useful.

golfCaddy
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Re: Nephew graduating high school & joining military. Gift Ideas?

Post by golfCaddy » Fri May 18, 2018 9:00 pm

If you don't want to give cash, streaming services are popular: Pandora or Spotify for music and Netflix or Amazon Prime for tv.

UTgrad
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Re: Nephew graduating high school & joining military. Gift Ideas?

Post by UTgrad » Fri May 18, 2018 9:05 pm

I don't mind giving cash, just feel like a gift is more personal. Still, I'm in between a watch or cash I really like the Suunto Core as I was in the military before and wanted that one. Not sure if he would be allowed to wear it since some drill sergeants are more strict.

rob65
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Re: Nephew graduating high school & joining military. Gift Ideas?

Post by rob65 » Fri May 18, 2018 9:11 pm

Maybe a cash gift for high school graduation and, if you can afford it, a watch or good utility knife when he finishes basic training? In my mind, the second gift isn’t setting a precedent for future high school graduations in the family.

UTgrad
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Re: Nephew graduating high school & joining military. Gift Ideas?

Post by UTgrad » Fri May 18, 2018 9:28 pm

Very true, well what determines whether I can afford it? My NW is essentially zero if you include my mortgage debt. Although I have no other debt, I also have no retirement accounts either. But I am saving 50% after tax to pay those off & build NW. All I need to do is save a bit less that month.

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Re: Nephew graduating high school & joining military. Gift Ideas?

Post by brokendirtdart » Fri May 18, 2018 10:10 pm

I would avoid any material gifts until after he gets to his first duty station. Then he will have a chance to figure out what he needs, wants, what his unit does, what the gaps in issued equipment are, etc, etc. Expensive stuff like Suunto watches have a habit of disappearing in open bay training barracks. If he wears watches and doesn't have one, a solid G-shock or something should last and not be shiny enough to disappear.

A little bit of cash now and maybe a knife or multitool when he is done with basic, AIT, etc will be very generous and likely well received. If Air Force, simply substitute knife with golf clubs.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Nephew graduating high school & joining military. Gift Ideas?

Post by Sandtrap » Fri May 18, 2018 10:14 pm

Preloaded VISA card.

curmudgeon
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Re: Nephew graduating high school & joining military. Gift Ideas?

Post by curmudgeon » Fri May 18, 2018 10:31 pm

Don't want to take anything valuable to basic training. A watch is helpful, but it should be a cheap casio/armitron/timex digital. Cheap prepaid cell phone is best as well (phones are normally locked away and doled out on Sun afternoons). A moderate value prepaid visa gift card to use in the px might be nice.

A book on military finance might be good. Too many kids in the military run themselves quickly into debt buying flashy stuff once they get past basic training and have a regular income.

UTgrad
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Re: Nephew graduating high school & joining military. Gift Ideas?

Post by UTgrad » Fri May 18, 2018 10:40 pm

Thank you all for the advice! It is true that flashy things during basic arent good, therefore I will just be giving him cash or a prepaid card. I will definitely give him personal finance advice and will look into a good book for that.

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wander
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Re: Nephew graduating high school & joining military. Gift Ideas?

Post by wander » Fri May 18, 2018 10:40 pm

A Nintendo Switch?

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Raymond
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Re: Nephew graduating high school & joining military. Gift Ideas?

Post by Raymond » Fri May 18, 2018 11:31 pm

Tell him to run, not walk, away from anyone from "First Command Financial Services".
"Ritter, Tod und Teufel"

UTgrad
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Re: Nephew graduating high school & joining military. Gift Ideas?

Post by UTgrad » Sat May 19, 2018 12:15 am

If I get him a Nintendo switch everyone would expect one, including myself 😂
First command financial services.. got it. I'll tell him to stay away from military star card too they got me when I was in by saying I could walkout with a laptop on credit. Very bad choice in retrospect, develops bad habits. If you can't pay for it cash you can't afford it.

denovo
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Re: Nephew graduating high school & joining military. Gift Ideas?

Post by denovo » Sat May 19, 2018 12:58 am

UTgrad wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 12:15 am
If I get him a Nintendo switch everyone would expect one, including myself 😂
First command financial services.. got it. I'll tell him to stay away from military star card too they got me when I was in by saying I could walkout with a laptop on credit. Very bad choice in retrospect, develops bad habits. If you can't pay for it cash you can't afford it.
A lot of enlistees are young and financially inexperienced , and there's a lot of financial scammers around the base to prey on them. A popular one is horrendous car leases or car loans.

Maybe offer him some free advice and get parents on board.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

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celia
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Re: Nephew graduating high school & joining military. Gift Ideas?

Post by celia » Sat May 19, 2018 1:13 am

I assume he is not going to one of the military academies. If he was, an early pair of Army boots would probably be needed. At the academies, they are supposed to be broken in before they arrive. You can buy them at a military base exchange, if you call ahead and find out how he can get on base.

Otherwise, cash or cash equivalents would be preferred. Even helping him open a Roth would be good, along with some seed money. But he needs to understand that he can't spend it until 59.5. The point is to let him watch it grow, especially if he is gone for a few years. If you can afford it, match his contributions for the first year, ie, 5,500 / 2. For other nieces and nephews, this could also work and will encourage them to have earned income in that year.

ncbill
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Re: Nephew graduating high school & joining military. Gift Ideas?

Post by ncbill » Sat May 19, 2018 11:10 am

celia wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 1:13 am
I assume he is not going to one of the military academies. If he was, an early pair of Army boots would probably be needed. At the academies, they are supposed to be broken in before they arrive. You can buy them at a military base exchange, if you call ahead and find out how he can get on base.
Which academy does that?

My kid went into their "summer camp" before classes started with the clothes on their back and the (very) few personal items permitted.

All of which were taken away for the duration - they were issued everything needed the day they reported.

Their only luxuries were a few short cell phone calls at specific days/times during the program.
Last edited by ncbill on Sat May 19, 2018 11:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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arcticpineapplecorp.
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Re: Nephew graduating high school & joining military. Gift Ideas?

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. » Sat May 19, 2018 11:14 am

How about making sure in addition to whatever gift/money you provide, you also provide highly valuable information, for instance, on the Roth TSP like this:
That's a big pile of tax-free. So just how much tax benefit are we talking about here? Let's look at an example of the career of an E-6 with eight years of service. If he starts saving today in the Roth TSP by contributing 3% of base pay, the monthly investment would be less than $100. With each pay raise, he bumps the contribution up by 1%. When promotions to E-7 and E-8 happen, he directs a third of the pay increase into the Roth TSP (leaving 2/3 to improve quality of life). After 22 years of service, he retires and launches his second career leaving the TSP alone to grow for his next retirement. At age 60, assuming a hypothetical 8% growth rate and not including anything he accumulated in his second career, he'll have more than $800,000 available — potentially tax-free. All this because he got the ball rolling with a relatively small monthly investment and kept it going by bumping up his contribution with each pay raise or promotion.

source: https://www.military.com/money/personal ... h-tsp.html
"Invest we must." -- Jack Bogle | “The purpose of investing is not to simply optimise returns and make yourself rich. The purpose is not to die poor.” -- William Bernstein

gamboolman
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Re: Nephew graduating high school & joining military. Gift Ideas?

Post by gamboolman » Sat May 19, 2018 1:29 pm

This is a extremely strong and functional knife. It is a tool. Esse 5

UTgrad
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Re: Nephew graduating high school & joining military. Gift Ideas?

Post by UTgrad » Sat May 19, 2018 2:41 pm

I don't think he would be able to take a new pair of boots to basic, at least I wasn't allowed to.

Yes, I have already informed him of the benefits of saving for retirement since he started his first job, but I feel as though young ppl are not interested in something they will benefit from after 60yo unfortunately. Relatively young anyway since I became interested at age 25.

I prevented him from making a bad car purchase a few months ago though so there's progress there. What is a good book I can recommend to him? I enjoyed "The richest man in babylon" but not sure if he would. Should it be military related? His branch is Army btw

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Nephew graduating high school & joining military. Gift Ideas?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Sat May 19, 2018 2:53 pm

I despise gifting cash and gift cards, but this looks like the perfect spot to do just that.

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TxAg
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Re: Nephew graduating high school & joining military. Gift Ideas?

Post by TxAg » Sat May 19, 2018 3:28 pm

A crisp $100 bill and a link to bogleheads.org

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Nephew graduating high school & joining military. Gift Ideas?

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Sat May 19, 2018 4:00 pm

Cash, same thing I gave all my nieces and nephews, and the same thing my kids got from aunts, uncles and grandparents. The less "stuff" he has at this point in his life the better.

Don't worry if he blows the cash, he's 18 years old and has plenty of time to be mature and responsible. Just hope he has fun blowing it.

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friar1610
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Re: Nephew graduating high school & joining military. Gift Ideas?

Post by friar1610 » Sat May 19, 2018 5:18 pm

Raymond wrote:
Fri May 18, 2018 11:31 pm
Tell him to run, not walk, away from anyone from "First Command Financial Services".
+1

(If he ignores this advice he will be - a larger number)
Friar1610

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friar1610
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Re: Nephew graduating high school & joining military. Gift Ideas?

Post by friar1610 » Sat May 19, 2018 5:24 pm

I don't use Exchanges/PXs/BXs any more but I suspect AAFES (Army-Air Force Exchange Service) has gift cards available. How about one of those in an appropriate amount?
Friar1610

UTgrad
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Re: Nephew graduating high school & joining military. Gift Ideas?

Post by UTgrad » Sat May 19, 2018 5:31 pm

TxAg wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 3:28 pm
A crisp $100 bill and a link to bogleheads.org
:D Very good suggestion! He will get more from this site than any material gift. And $100 bucks can't hurt.

MDCrab
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Re: Nephew graduating high school & joining military. Gift Ideas?

Post by MDCrab » Sat May 19, 2018 5:56 pm

I agree that cash is probably what he'll appreciate most. If you absolutely can't stomach that, maybe a Netflix or Amazon gift card. If you get a restaurant gift card, make sure that brand of restaurant has a branch near the base he's going to. I'd avoid any tangible items. He'll be packing light for a while.

Doroghazi
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Re: Nephew graduating high school & joining military. Gift Ideas?

Post by Doroghazi » Sun May 20, 2018 12:10 pm

You'll never go wrong with cash. There are no complaints, the color is right, and one size fits all.
If you want to give him something "permanent", I suggest several About Uncirculated (AU 55) Morgan Silver Dollars,
Or, if you are willing to spend more, a one-tenth ounce US Gold Eagle. He'll put them in his parent's safe deposit
Box, and he will always think of you. Almost no kids that age have ever held a silver or gold coin in their hands.

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