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These Graduation Gifts are Better than Cash

College graduation season is in full swing, which means giving graduation gifts. If you’re confounded by what today’s graduates want or need, it’s tempting fall back on the old stand-by and give a cash gift. And while cash is always welcome, there’s a good chance it will disappear quickly, with little of substance left to show for it. Instead, give a gift that has lasting value, and helps the graduate in your life start to develop positive financial habits. Here are five college graduation gifts that are better than cash.

Open a Roth IRA

If going from college graduation to planning for retirement feels like a whiplash-inducing transition, it’s really not. Especially when you consider that the traditional career model that comes with built-in retirement savings is rapidly disappearing. They may not fully appreciate the gesture now, but starting a new graduate off with retirement savings will be one of the most important gifts they’ll receive.                              Piggy bank wearing glasses in front of a blackboard

Make a Few Student Loan Payments

The statistics are sobering. Students graduating college in 2016 are doing so with an average of more than $37,000 in student loan debt. That’s a huge burden to overcome. Help out by giving them the money for a few student loan payments as a graduation gift. Or, if you really want to give them long-lasting help with student loans, treat them to our Student Loan Counseling, which will help them navigate the complex world of repayment and choose the best payment plan.

Help Build a Personal Brand

Whether it’s assistance with writing a resume’, getting a professional headshot for a LinkedIn account, or some good-quality professional wardrobe basics, entering today’s highly competitive job market is costly and confusing. Ease the burden by providing one (or all) of the above. Giving a grad a leg up on their job search is a gift they won’t soon forget.

Pay for a Meal Prep Service

There’s a good chance your graduate has spent the better part of the last four years surviving on cheap take-out, frozen dinners and the kindness of strangers to get by. Paying for a few weeks of meal delivery service can help them break the take-out habit and develop a love of home cooking that will serve them well — both nutritionally and financially — in the years to come.

Help Protect Their Identity

Give the gift of peace of mind by enrolling the graduate for identity theft protection. They’re going to be sharing their personal information with potential employers and landlords, as well as building credit; not to mention making major purchases, like vehicles and homes, in the not-so-distant future. All of that will be compromised if their identity has been stolen. ID theft monitoring may not be the most glamorous gift, but it’s a necessary one.

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