Common-sense Gifts for Grads

When your adult child or loved one graduates from college, what can you give them that not only shows you care, but will truly help them on their road to success? Here are some thoughtful, yet very practical ideas.

Establish an Emergency Fund

While landing a job or paying down student loans may be top-of-mind for your young adult, encouraging them to jump on the savings bandwagon can help them avoid taking on more debt. Instead of just handing over a check, opening a savings account in their name is a more tangible way to help them appreciate money management. You might consider making automatic contributions of $50 a month for a set period of time and encourage them to match what you give.

Student Loan Relief

According to the statistics, the average student graduates with approximately $33,000 in student loan debt. Help lighten the load by providing a little financial aid.  You can make your check payable to their financial institution.

Fund a Roth IRA

A Roth IRA is great for someone just starting out because it provides a tax-free way to save money for the future. The beauty of a Roth is that because it uses after-tax income, withdrawals aren’t taxed come retirement time. And if down the road, your grad decides to buy a big-ticket item such as a house, a Roth allows them to use their contributions—although not the money they’ve earned on those contributions—for a down payment.

If your child is over 18, and has earned income, they can open the account in their name, but you can provide the initial contribution.  Another way to help them understand their saving and investing options is to arrange a meeting with a financial advisor.1 Many financial institutions like SchoolsFirst FCU offer complimentary financial advice consultations.

Career Coaching

There’s a lot involved in getting that first big job—from crafting the perfect resume to honing interview skills. A career coach can help your grad learn to navigate the job market. Most coaching sessions are done via phone and hourly rates range from $50 to $300. For more information, read The Wall Street Journal’s How to Find a Career Coach.2

Gift Cards

A gift card just makes sense because your young adult can use it for anything they want or need.


1. Securities sold, advisory services offered through CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI), member FINRA/SIPC, a registered broker/dealer and investment advisor. CBSI is under contract with SchoolsFirst FCU to make securities available to members. Not NCUA/NCUSIF/FDIC insured, May lose value, No Financial Institution Guarantee. Not a deposit of any financial institution.CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc., is a registered broker/dealer in all fifty states of the United States of America.

2.When you click on hyperlinks to external websites, you are leaving SchoolsFirst FCU’s website and are linking to an alternate website not operated by SchoolsFirst FCU, and SchoolsFirst FCU is not responsible for the content of the alternate website. The fact that there is a link from SchoolsFirst FCU’s website to an alternate website does not constitute endorsement of any product, service, or organization. SchoolsFirst FCU does not represent either you or the website operator if you enter into a transaction. Privacy and security policies may differ from those practiced by SchoolsFirst FCU, and you should review the alternate website’s policies.

 Extra Credit provides general information to help improve our Member’s financial lives. Every situation is different, so please contact us for guidance on your specific needs. The advice provided in Extra Credit is not intended to serve as a substitute for speaking to a loan representative, financial advisor, or BALANCE counselor who can help tailor a solution for you.

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