It’s Graduation Season: Give the Gift of a Promising Financial Future

It’s hard to find the right gift for a graduate, isn’t it? They’re not really kids anymore and who knows what is “cool” or in style? (At least, I don’t!)

According to a survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics, consumers will spend $5.6 billion on graduation gifts this year – the highest amount in over a decade. Yes, $5.6 billion on picture frames and shot glasses; items their future spouse or partner will curse later in life.

But what if you could give a gift that keeps on giving for years to come?

If you’re like me, it’s very important to you that the recipient of your gift really values what you give to them. I spend a lot of time thinking about the gifts I give and imagining the ways in which the gift will be used or enjoyed. That’s part of the joy of giving!

If you’re struggling with your gifts this year, let me share a suggestion: Give them a start on a promising financial future.

Here are a few ways:

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 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, I call that a gift.


Andrea Blackwelder Financial Planner

Andrea Blackwelder is a Certified Financial Planner ™ Practitioner and the co-founder of Wisdom Wealth Strategies, a fee-based financial planning and investment advisory practice. Andrea looks at your complex financial planning puzzle and assists you with the best options and financial strategies that align with your financial needs. To contact Andrea, email

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