Forget the old Father's Day> standby. Your dad already has plenty of ties. And even though what he really wants is probably something along the lines of the BMW 650i Coupe (price tag: $78,000), your budget may be a little limited.
One gift that your father may appreciate perhaps not as much as a Beemer, but probably more than a tie is a gift that caters to, or bolsters, his financial prowess.
Whether he s a casual stock market observer or considers himself the next Warren Buffett, here are eight gifts that could help him better manage his money and, at the very least, keep him entertained.
Even if your father's investments are restricted to his fantasy portfolio, this device will let him keep tabs on the market while at work (without turning on CNBC). Made by Brookstone, this wireless desktop gadget updates the numbers of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 every 15 minutes. And for a monthly fee, Dad can create and track a customized portfolio. The add-on service costs either $6.95 a month or $19.95 every three months. (Brookstone gives customers three free months to try the service.)
Price: $150-$400 per hour
After the tumultuous year the stock market has had, chances are Dad has plenty of questions about rebalancing his portfolio, refinancing the mortgage or how to revive his beaten-down 401(k). Expect a one-hour session with a planner to set you back anywhere from $150 to $400, with the rate depending on the planner s background and where they're located, says Rick Kahler, president of Kahler Financial Group in Rapid City, S.D.
; download of monthly Journal subscription: $14.99
At nearly $500 this gift may be a little pricey, but just think how nice it would be if Dad didn't have to recycle all those financial newspapers and magazines. With a Kindle, he can read almost all of them plus thousands of books. Spend a little extra ($14.99 a month) to get Dad a subscription to The Wall Street Journal that will automatically be "delivered" to the device each day. (SmartMoney is part owned by Dow Jones, which also owns The Wall Street Journal.)
If he already has a Kindle, think: upgrade. The new Kindle DX is just over one-third of an inch thick, about the width of a typical magazine, making it easy to carry on the morning commute. And at 9.7 inches, the screen is bigger than the last iteration, so it s easier on the eyes. It also sports a built-in PDF reader and more memory it stores 2,000 more books than the previous model. Note: The new Kindle is set for a June 22 release, the day after Father s Day. If you don t think Dad needs those extras or the price tag is too steep, you can buy an older version, for $359.
The Ambient Orb is like a mood ring for the stock market. The sphere changes colors to mirror the direction of the stock market: green for gains, red for losses and yellow when the market is flat. It s preset to track the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and similar to the Stock Market Tracker, you also have the option to track a personal portfolio for $6.95 a month.
Price: From $10 to $18 each
Add to your Dad's summer reading list by giving him some well-loved business titles both old and new. A few suggestions:
If your father loved Michael Lewis's Liar's Poker or Moneyball," he'll probably like the author's latest, Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood." Adapted from a series of essays he wrote for Slate.com, Lewis offers his (sometimes ugly) experiences of being a father to his three kids.
The Ultimate Depression Survival Guide by New York Times best-selling author Martin D. Weiss is a comprehensive investing and personal finance guide. Weiss, president of investment information firm Weiss Research, offers strategies for coping with the credit crisis and housing bust, and explains to readers just how safe their investments, insurance policies and bank accounts really are. Weiss also gives specific investment recommendations, including his picks for ETFs and Treasury money-market funds.
In Discover Your Inner Economist, George Mason University economics professor Tyler Cowen instructs readers on how to use economic reasoning to improve everyday experiences, offering strategies on everything from eating better meals to getting your kids to do chores.
For sophisticated investors who aren t afraid of complicated equations or financial terms, H-P's financial calculator might be right up their alley. The device, which sits on the desks of many financial pros, comes with more than 130 built-in functions such as loan amortization and the time value of money of a retirement fund.
It s a very, very powerful tool as long as you know how to use it, says Kevin Brosious, a certified financial planner and CPA at Wealth Management, Inc. in Allentown, Pa. For instance, he says, you can use it to calculate yields and interest rates on bonds or your monthly mortgage payments and payoff schedule. Just make sure Dad reads the user's manual.
Price: $30.47 for all three DVDs
Is Dad a movie buff? The Wall Street genre can be as gripping as any Will Smith action flick.
Start with Wall Street, the 1987 story of a young stockbroker desperate to succeed and the ruthless corporate raider whom he venerates ($11.49 on Amazon).
For a look back at the sometimes questionable dealings of the 1980s get Barbarians at the Gate ($6.99 on Amazon). This 1993 film based on the book by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar about the leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco. James Garner plays CEO F. Ross Johnson, who decides to take his company private after getting word of the probable market failure of Nabisco s smokeless cigarette.
And of course, you can't forget the movie about the biggest business scandal in American history: Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, 2006 ($11.99). The documentary chronicles the stunning 2001 collapse of energy firm Enron. Let s just hope Dad didn't have any Enron stock in his portfolio.
Price for downloads: $4.99 to $12.95 each
For the gadget geek dad hooked on his iPhone or BlackBerry, a few new apps can help him manage his money while he s on the go.
iXpenseIt ($4.99) by FYI Mobileware is the most popular (paid) app in the finance category this week in Apple s iTunes store. Available for the iPhone, this app tracks daily expenses, stores digital photo receipts and can manage the family s budget. It also tracks recurring expenses, like utility bills, rent and mortgage payments.
For road warriors, Gas Cubby ($10) by AppCubby tracks gas mileage and vehicle maintenance. The app lets you track multiple vehicles, export the data to a spreadsheet and will even remind Dad to change his oil.
If Dad has a BlackBerry, Mobile Checkbook ($12.95) by Mobatech will let him record transactions, check account balances and compare deposits and withdrawals. He won t have to balance his checkbook or keep track of his receipts.
Check out more personal finance applications here, including an app with Intuit s Quicken and a budgeting app from Mint.com.