It’s graduation season. And if there’s a high school or college graduate in your immediate village, the urge to indulge is real (because these youngsters have truly been through a lot). Enduring the unprecedented isolation of a pandemic while coping with the harsh realities of endless assaults and murders of Black people is enough to make anyone lose focus. While it’s crucial to show your graduate love, gift-giving season is also a great opportunity to drive home messages of what’s important as your young adult moves into the next phase of his or life.
There are many conversations around building financial literacy and stability in our community but we rarely talk about how and where do we begin with our kids. Graduation season is that start. Strategic and life-skills building presents are a great way to reinforce financial responsibility, normalize asset building habits, create natural and ongoing conversations about life choices. They remind youngsters that they are transitioning into adulthood, with new duties and expectations.
Want to help your new graduates start thinking about how they will spend their money and time? Model how you want them to move with these life-skills building graduation gifts.
Buy a Few Shares of Low-Cost Stock
Retail investors changed the game this year. And while the spiked prices of AMC and GameStop may not be the norm, they provide insight into what the market has to offer. It’s simple. You can transfer money on platforms such as CashApp and tell your grad what you’d like purchased on their Robinhood accounts. Or, you can open a custodial account for your offspring through a commission-free online brokerage firm, such as Charles Schwab or TD Ameritrade, and guide them in managing it at first—and they can take it from there.
Whether you spend $50, $150 or $1000 on a few shares, this gift is a reminder that it’s important to purchase appreciating assets and normalize investing regularly.
Help Start an Emergency Fund
Many grads are transitioning to their first full-time jobs and apartments. They may have had some financial responsibility while living at home or in the dormitory, but living without the buffer of parents or school is a major change. Offer a cash gift that’s designated as an emergency fund, and explain the basics around short vs. long-term savings. This also presents a perfect opportunity to discuss the importance of maintaing proper financial habits and budgeting plans.
Fund a Secured Credit Card
These cards, which require a cash deposit that the user will borrow against, offer a great education opportunity around debt. They can be funded with as little as $250; and, you can also have a few folks chip in to up the balance. Talk to your grad about the importance of building and maintaining good credit, why he or she must keep consumer debt usage low, and why cash first is the best way to spend.
Gift a Driver’s Ed Package
Uber has delayed many youngsters’ transition into driving adults. While the service is convenient, driving is a life skill that fosters independence, responsibility and serves as an asset for many jobs or entrepreneurial ventures. If your grad isn’t a licensed driver—or a good one—help him or her make that transition by investing in driving lessons.
Purchase a Continuing Education Course
Entrepreneurship is on the rise and small business management is one of the many skills not taught in many schools. If your grad is interested in owning a small biz, killing the social media marketing game or gaining any other competency he or she didn’t attain while pursuing a degree, gift a class series to help bolster his or her skill set and confidence level. Continuing ed classes are a great way to gain expertise and build connections.
S. Tia Brown is a licensed therapist and life coach. She drops gems. Get your life skills and mental health glow up on. Follow her @tiabrowntalks.