Let’s face it. Buying meaningful gifts for our family and friends is really, really hard.

If you want to give something that has a larger impact long after the holiday season has passed, why not give the gift of financial knowledge and wisdom for living a fulfilled life?

Given the academic background of our firm, we know the following is going to be a big shocker:We really love reading books and giving books as gifts!

Below you’ll find our 2021 Guide to Gifts That Pay Off.

It’s full of our 23 favorite money-related and living-big gift recommendations for those ages 4 to 94!

Let us highlight a couple of our new recommendations this year:

  • The Total Money Makeover (Dave Ramsey)
    A proven plan for financial fitness
    We love giving this book out to our clients for their adult children. And we like to give these out as graduation and wedding gifts with a $100 bill tucked inside. About 80% of this book is really good, but we (and history) may not agree with perhaps the other 20% (e.g., unrealistic investment return assumptions; over-reliance on growth investments; unsustainably high withdrawal rates in retirement). Nonetheless, Mr. Ramsey does a great job of teaching the basics of money.
  • The Price You Pay for College (Ron Lieber)
    An entirely new road map for the biggest financial decision your family will ever make
    One of our savvy clients in Washington, D.C. brought this 2021 book to our attention and it’s excellent! This book discusses why college costs so much, digs into the allure of elite schools, uncovers hacks that may not really be hacks, and talks about how to plan and pay for college.
  • Knocking on Heaven’s Door (Katy Butler)
    The path to a better way of death
    While it can be very difficult, having tough conversations about end-of-life care well in advance can help our dying loved ones cope later on. We have the ability to cultivate a “good death.” Give this book to your parents if they are still living and discuss it with them. And depending on your age, give it to your spouse and discuss it with them.
  • Retirement Heaven or Hell (Michael Drak et al.)
    9 principles for designing your ideal post-career lifestyle
    Don’t be fooled, the transition to retirement is a very difficult transition for many. To retire well you need enough purpose to wake up in the morning and enough money to sleep at night. Taking the time to read this book, reflect, explore, and be intentional will mean the difference between ending up in “retirement heaven” and “retirement hell.”

So what is the ultimate gift of 2021?

Life-changing wisdom about managing your money and living your best life that you can give to those that you truly care about!

Happy gifting,
The NorthStar Team

2021 NorthStar Guide To Gifts That Pay Off


Money Ninja: A Children’s Book About Saving, Investing, and Donating
Young readers learn how money can work for them instead of spending it.

Money Savvy Pig
The piggy bank for the 21st century!
Finance 101 for Kids: Money Lessons Children Cannot Afford to Miss
Informative and entertaining book to help children get on the right path to making smart personal financial decisions.


O.M.G. Official Money Guide for Teenagers
How to turn pocket money into power and freedom

Cash Cache
The award-winning personal finance organizer for teens!

What Color Is Your Parachute for Teens
Career guide for teens to help zero in on their favorite skills and find their perfect major or career

College Students

Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School?
99 personal money management principles to live by

Adulting 101: #Wisdom4Life
A complete guide on life planning, responsibility and goal setting

They Don’t Teach Corporate in College
A twenty-something’s guide to the business world

Young Professionals

Generation Earn
Young professional’s guide to spending, investing, and giving back

The Total Money Makeover
A proven plan for financial fitness

Jumpstart Your Marriage & Your Money
Guide to help couples stop worrying about money and start building wealth together.

Parents with Children at Home

Raising Financially Fit Kids
Help prepare your children for a lifetime of smart money decisions

The Opposite of Spoiled
Raising kids who are grounded, generous, and smart about money

The Price You Pay for College
An entirely new road map for the biggest financial decision your family will ever make


Happy Money
Are you getting the biggest happiness bang for your buck?

5 Book
Where will you be five years from today?

Life Reimagined
The science, art, and opportunity of midlife

Retirement Heaven or Hell
9 principles for designing your ideal post-career lifestyle

I’ve Decided to Live 120 Years: The Ancient Secret to Longevity, Vitality, and Life Transformation
Ignite the true spirit of what it means to live fully

Caregivers & Golden Agers

Being Mortal
Medicine and what matters in the end

On Living
An uplifting meditation on how important it is to make peace and meaning of our lives while we still have them

Knocking on Heaven’s Door
The path to a better way of death