Financial Resource Center

Money Management

Top 10 Gifts for New Grads

by Michelle M. Haas-Dosher, CCUFC / May 6th, 2021

College commencement season is here again, but for many soon-to-be graduates, it's a time to both celebrate and prepare. With the national economy hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and national student loan debt exceeding $1.5 trillion, new grads face financial hurdles. 

Help new alums find their footing by selecting graduation gifts that will help them get a good start in the real world:

  • Money. The old standby still makes a perfect gift. Giving cash can provide graduates with an opportunity to start paying back student loans and other forms of debt.
  • Gift cards. These are great if you have a more specific use for your gift in mind. Gift cards for grocery stores, gas stations, and department stores can help graduates with day-to-day necessities.
  • Résumé or career services. Students often have access to career advising through their schools, but that benefit can expire upon graduation. Gifting new grads with a similar service can keep them on track to finding a job.
  • Magazine or newspaper subscriptions. Give a digital subscription to a trade publication within the graduate's area of study or a newspaper like The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal. Both can help grads stay up to date on current events around the world and within their professional field.
  • Interview attire. Select a gift card to a store where your new grad can buy an outfit or shop with them to put together a winning wardrobe.
  • Electronics. There are so many new devices to choose, but a new smartphone, laptop, or tablet are always popular.
  • Personal finance books. How-to books about money management can help guide graduates through new financial situations, like paying off debt or saving for emergencies. Many titles focus specifically on new graduates, so you can narrow your search that way.
  • Moving services. If your graduate is packing up and moving on for work or other new opportunities, contributing to a truck rental or additional moving services can cut costs.
  • Roth IRA (individual retirement account). New graduates don't always have the time or resources to plan for retirement, so opening a Roth IRA is an excellent way to put them in the saving mindset. Your credit union can help you learn more about Roth IRAs and set up an account for the new grad.
  • Credit union membership. If your new graduate isn't already a member of your credit union, extend the full-family membership benefit for an ideal start with safe, affordable financial services and coaching.
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