Skip the cash; Graduation gifts for financial success

ByNina Pineda and Talia Milavetz via WABC logo
Wednesday, May 2, 2018

NEW YORK CITY -- The Class of 2018 is preparing to accept diplomas this month, and it's a time of celebration for families and friends, but the financial burden of the future may weigh your graduate down, so here are some gift ideas to help set your favorite grad up for financial success.

First, skip the cash. While every graduate appreciates money, they may not be responsible enough to spend it wisely.

So instead of stuffing bills into that greeting card, buy a discounted gift card instead. Something from Bed Bath and Beyond or Ikea can help them furnish a new place or learn to cook on their own, so they don't waste money constantly eating out.

Websites like have discounted cards, helping gift givers save money too.

For students moving out of dorm rooms or parent's basements, a security deposit for their first apartment will help them avoid racking up credit card debt while they wait for their first paycheck.

And charge rent to students who move back home after graduation. Then invest this money for them, or set it aside as a safety cushion for when they are ready to live on their own.

If they are graduating while burdened with credit card bills, a great gift would be to help pay down the balance. It ensures they don't get sucked into a cycle of debt they'll never dig out from under.

You can also give the gift of time for recent grads. Offer to keep paying health insurance premiums or cellphone bills until they're on sound financial footing. Choose a set period of time for this gift, so they're prepared to begin budgeting for these expenses in the future.

Next is an option that it isn't the most exciting gift, because grads aren't thinking about retirement when they get their first job. But your grad will thank you later if you make sure they don't miss out investing or the benefits of a setting aside money in a 401k.

Gift grads a session with a financial adviser. While they may not listen to mom or dad's advice, an hour with an expert will help plan a budget -- the first step to a brighter financial future.