It’s graduation season and you know what that means: The envelopes start arriving in the mail announcing the milestone reached by nieces and nephews, and the children of friends and business associates. First, you stand misty-eyed as you think of the grown-up graduates you just saw in diapers (surely it was only a few years ago), and then it hits you.
“Oh shoot, what in the world am I going to give for a gift?”
No, you don’t want to wrap up the usual picture frame or Target gift card. You want to give them something special. Something that lets them know you really care. Something that they will actually use.
So, how about a stepping stone into a bright financial future?
Give them the gift of time with a financial planner you trust.
Remember when you landed your first job, and you were given a mountain of benefits information to sort through? Overwhelming! What if you had had someone to talk to about health insurance options, how much to contribute to the retirement program, and how to budget for an income you never had before? That would have been so helpful.
Many financial planners offer hourly consulting arrangements that cost between $100 – $300 per hour. Consider giving the grad an hour with a professional who can really get them started on the right path.
Give them the gift of security by helping them start (or grow) an emergency fund.
Adulthood has pitfalls and risks, and some of them can be expensive! Graduates shouldn’t fall back on credit cards, which can lead down a dark path. Instead, help them understand and appreciate how an emergency fund works. Talk to them about setting a target of 6 months of savings in a high-yield savings account and then make a contribution for them.
Give them the gift of an interest in investing.
It’s possible that a new graduate may feel intimidated by the complexities of the stock market. Sometimes the hardest part is getting started, so help them break through the fear. Ask them if there are companies whose services they use and love. Then, help them select an online brokerage provider (or connect them with a pro you trust), make a contribution to the account, and walk them through the purchase of one or two of their favorite companies.
Graduation is an important milestone. It’s also an opportunity to plant a seed that can grow and flourish for life. Starting a graduate on the right financial path is something that could positively impact the rest of his or her life.
Now, that’s a gift.
Andrea L. Blackwelder, CFP®, ChFC and Joseph D. Clemens, CFP®, EA are the founders and partners of Wisdom Wealth Strategies. Their shared passion is simple: to bring financial empowerment, understanding, and peace-of mind to people who wish to improve their financial future, build wealth for their families, and achieve financial independence. Click here to find out more about how you can work with Wisdom Wealth Strategies.