2021 Financial Advisors’ Guide to Client Gifts Under $100

A dollar isn’t worth what it used to be, but try telling that to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). It’s been nearly 30 years since the FINRA gift rule last adjusted the client gift allowance from $50 to $100. For a financial advisor restricted to such a piddly amount, finding a gift that shows you appreciate your clients and the trust they put in you (but that doesn’t make you look like Scrooge) is a tough assignment.

But we’re here to help.

Personally, I hate shopping—unless I’m spending someone else’s money.😉 So keep reading to find impressive ideas for how I would spend your $100, and when your clients give you their profuse thanks, try not to look like the cat that ate the canary.

1. Security

I like this idea because it serves as an extended metaphor for the way you help secure your clients’ futures by responsibly investing their money. (Feel free to work that into your accompanying holiday card!)

Video doorbell

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By now, you’ve likely seen more than one internet video of the hilarity and brazenness these security devices can capture. A video doorbell is pretty much what it sounds like, but in addition to providing you with a camera, it also includes a motion detector, recording capabilities, and a speaker that allows you to talk with whoever is at the door. There are many brands available, representing a range of price points with a fair number under $100. All it will take is one delivery saved from a thief for your clients to tell you it’s the best gift they’ve ever received.

“Security” blankets for the family

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Just like swaddling a newborn calms them down, weighted blankets help to ease and relax the body by simulating the pressure of a deep-tissue massage or a long, strong hug. They’ve been used to help people with a host of disorders, including anxiety, depression, autism, and ADHD, but the same pressure also helps otherwise healthy people to get a better night’s sleep. A gift of a weighted blanket can be made even more special if you have it embroidered with clients’ name.

Motion sensor lights

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Any security expert will tell you that bright lighting is essential for deterring would-be thieves. Motion-activated sensor lights can add security and safety to driveways, pools, entry doors, walkways, and other dark areas. When selecting a motion sensor light for your clients, consider that different models require different power sources (hardwired, battery, or solar) and offer different detection ranges.

Fireproof document safe

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A fireproof document safe could easily become your go-to security gift. Everyone has essential documents that, if lost in a house fire, would only add more distress to an already chaotic and heartbreaking situation. Add a personal touch with an engraved label, and your clients will know you put some thought into making their lives more secure.

Fire safety equipment for the home

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While on the topic of house fires, consider gifting clients fire safety equipment for their homes. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are must-haves in every home, and it’s often the case that people don’t have the recommended number. All-in-one smoke, fire, and carbon monoxide detectors are now available with 10-year batteries, which makes them practically maintenance-free. A fire extinguisher for the kitchen or garage will help reduce potential damage. For any clients with more than one floor, a fire escape ladder could be a life-saver. And be sure to let your clients know that they should check with their home-insurance company—your thoughtfulness may entitle them to a discount on their policy.

2. Grateful Box®

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Kim Angeli believes in the power of grateful living so much that she sold her successful insurance business and opted instead to promote expressions of gratitude as a superior way to grow a business. Her company, Grateful Box, provides simple gifts that you can give to clients to help inspire them to reflect on all the good things in life. It’s a unique idea with broad appeal that can be customized in a variety of ways to give your gift a personal touch. Each time your clients reach into their Grateful Box, they’ll think of you.

3. Personally branded magazine

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You’ve heard the expression “the gift that keeps on giving,” right? Well, when you select from our 3 personally branded magazines—American Lifestyle, Start Healthy, and Good to Be Home—we’ll automatically send a new issue to your clients every two months. These high-quality, beautifully designed magazines are full of entertaining and useful information your clients will look forward to receiving and recipes they’ll look forward to enjoying. You can even personalize the inside front cover down to the individual recipient! And, since they are branded to you, they’re a subtle but effective way of keeping you top of mind for referrals.

4. Fine wine or spirits

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For people who enjoy a good drink, there will be no regifting a carefully selected bottle of their favorite wine or vintage spirit. You can increase the appeal of this rather typical, but always welcomed, gift selection by pairing it with an appropriate cheese, chocolate, fruit, or other accompaniment. If you’re not comfortable selecting accompaniments, consider a set of stemware or lowball glasses instead. Finally, you can still add that special touch by sending clients one of your favorites. Explain what makes it so special for you, and you’ll give your relationship a little boost by sharing something personal.

5. Food

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Food gifts are always a hit during the holidays, but with a little creativity, you can go above and beyond boxes of summer sausage and squeeze cheese. Why not send a thematic food gift? For the client who loves to bake, a piece of high-quality bakeware filled with all the necessary ingredients and recipe for a scrumptious dessert will bring a smile to their face. How about a gift of premium ice cream for the ice cream lover, jams for the jam lover, honey for the honey lover, hot sauces for . .  . well, you get the idea.

6. The personal touch

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It was Dale Carnegie who said, “A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” Add a person’s name to a gift, and you’ve elevated that gift regardless of what it is. But don’t make it any old gift—select the best of whatever it is. For example, you might select the best travel mug money $100 can buy and have it engraved with your clients’ names. You could do the same with a set of barbeque or gardening tools, a high-quality pen, a crystal vase . . . the possibilities are endless!

It really is the thought that matters

Clients, especially high-net-worth clients, may be accustomed to receiving what can sometimes feel like the obligatory holiday gift. But gift giving is and should always be an altruistic gesture of appreciation, caring, and love. That’s why, when it comes to selecting gifts for your clients, the best advice I can offer is to make them as personal as you can. Regardless of cost, if your gift shows you’ve given your selection some thought, your clients will be grateful.

Written by Gabrielle C. King

I’ve spent my 30-year career making complex and unfamiliar ideas easy to understand. Today I routinely write 2,500 words or less to help entrepreneurs like real estate agents, RIAs, insurance agents, and others better understand marketing and feel a renewed confidence in their ability to close more deals and retain more business.