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10 Generous Financial Gifts (Other Than Cash) for Grads

seb_ra / Getty Images / iStockphoto

seb_ra / Getty Images / iStockphoto

The prom season has arrived and you want to give away something different from a cash card tucked inside. While you still want your gift to have a financial theme, you’d like it to be a little more unique.

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The good news is that there is no shortage of non-cash financial gifts. Whether the recipient has just finished kindergarten or earned a degree, there are plenty of options to suit any budget.

Regardless of the age of the graduates, giving a more structured financial gift – ie. Not cash that can be spent however they want – it sets them up for success in the next chapter. You can’t put a price on the value of starting someone with good money habits, so gifts of this nature definitely keep giving.

Need a little help finding the perfect non-monetary prom gift? Keep reading to find ideas that are sure to impress the graduate on your list.

Last updated: May 20, 2021

Footage of two men working together on a project at home.

Footage of two men working together on a project at home.


IRA contribution

Graduates could be on the verge of opening a pension account through their employer, but younger people – ie. To see also : Administrator Of An Estate Has The Power To Seek The Partition Of Community Property | Winstead PC. Graduates and elementary school students – they are probably still years away from that, so give them an advantage.

In most cases, the Roth IRA for Children is a custodial IRA, meaning it will be run by an adult until the child is old enough that the funds can be transferred to the IRA on their behalf, said Rita Assaf, vice president of retirement and college management, Fidelity investments. For 2021, she said anyone can contribute to the Roth IRA for children, as long as total payments for the year do not exceed a graduate’s lower income for the year or $ 6,000.

“This account can be opened and managed by any adult – parent, grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, family friend – on behalf of a minor’s income,” she said.

Read more: What is a Roth IRA?

Small school children sitting at a desk in the classroom and eating fruit for a snack.

Small school children sitting at a desk in the classroom and eating fruit for a snack.

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529 Contribution to the plan

Ideally for younger graduates, contributing to their 529 plan – a tax savings plan used for future education costs – can be seriously added up as they use the funds. On the same subject : Relief payments boosted Americans’ bank balances. Here’s how..

“With 529, time savings can increase with tax deferral and be used tax-free to pay tuition, as well as various costs associated with higher education – tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, computers or even student loan repayments up to $ 10,000 Said Assaf.

Once the account is opened, she said that everyone can give their contribution.

The contribution to Plan 529 qualifies for an annual gift tax exemption, according to Ameriprise Financial. For 2021, this is $ 15,000, so you would only pay tax on an amount that exceeds this value.

See: How parents should invest now to pay for college later

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Payment of student loan

Many new students are heavily burdened with student loans, so help them by giving a payout. See the article : Tax Day is Monday. Here’s what you need to know after a year of pandemic stimulus checks.

“Offering additional assistance during the six-month grace period after graduation will help the new graduate save money on interest, which will lead to lower monthly payments or faster payments,” said Alan Harder, a mortgage broker based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

If you do not want to give them money to pay for the loan themselves, several options are available.

“There are many gift cards like GiftofCollege.com that can be used directly on a student loan account if you want to make sure the money goes to the loans,” he said. “Alternatively, you can divide the donation into disbursements, which will make it easier for the recent graduate to manage a student loan debt as part of the total budget.”

Find out: Is college really worth it? A look at the dark reality for student loan borrowers

A young secretary with glasses in the library.

A young secretary with glasses in the library.


“Put a certificate of deposit in their name, which can be withdrawn only after a certain period without penalty,” said Dr. Bob Castaneda, Program Director for Walden University MS in Finance program. “This will help start the process of creating savings and earning interest over time.”

You can put the whole gift on one CD or use a ladder strategy. The former could earn a higher interest rate, but breaking down gifts into several CDs with different terms – ie. Ladder access – will allow the recipient earlier access to some resources.

Find out: What is a deposit certificate?
Find: Best CD prices and bills 2021

Cut-out shot of a young female student using a laptop and credit card outside on campus.

Cut-out shot of a young female student using a laptop and credit card outside on campus.

Gift cards

They are always appreciated, but giving graduates a gift card to help them pay their bills is a particularly careful gift.

“Grocery certificates can help alleviate some of the initial cost of living in graduate school,” Castaneda said.

In addition to the basics, he suggested gift cards that will cover content that will make their lives easier and more enjoyable – including those they may not be able to afford on their own.

“A gift card for streaming or a subscription will help cover some fees for movie streaming apps, gym memberships or meal delivery services,” Castaneda said.

Save more: 4 places to buy gift cards at a discount

Top view of a student with a pile of arrears.

Top view of a student with a pile of arrears.

Consultation with a financial advisor

New students ready to enter the workforce – and those graduating with an advanced degree – are probably on the verge of earning more money than they have ever had in the past. This causes many people to make bad financial decisions that they later repent of, so steer them in the right direction.

“Pay for a consultation with a professional financial advisor,” Castaneda said. “This will help graduates embark on a journey with their savings goals at any stage of their careers.”

Find out: Is a financial advisor worth it?

A mature woman who works at home and carries a young son.

A mature woman who works at home and carries a young son.


It is never too early to start investing in the stock market.

“You can give a graduate the shares you owned or buy shares for them by transferring them to their custodial brokerage account,” said Ben Reynolds, CEO and founder of Sure Dividend. “Dividing shares for graduation can be a great time because they are still young [enough] to learn about investing and how early investing can increase their pension funds with compound interest rates. “

Please note that you will not pay gift tax if the share value does not exceed $ 15,000.

Check: These 10 shares are gifts that are still being given

emergency jar

emergency jar

Initial Emergency Fund

Recent college students will soon enter the “real world,” and chances are they have little or no savings to return to. Help them build an emergency fund so they won’t have to take out credit card debts or seek loans if they face unexpected expenses.

Generally speaking, experts recommend that three to six months of living expenses be set aside in the emergency fund. You certainly don’t need to give that much – unless you have the resources and desire – so choose the amount that suits you to get started.

See: What should recent City Centers do now with their money

Portrait of a young woman using a financial app on her smartphone.

Portrait of a young woman using a financial app on her smartphone.

Subscribe to budget apps

After graduation, many people have to learn this cost-of-living budget for the first time. Help make it easier by giving an annual subscription to your budget app.

For example, the popular personal finance apps YNAB and Goodbudget cost $ 84 a year and $ 60 a year, respectively.

Having budgeting tools on their smartphone will make it easier to keep track of their finances for the new city. This is a great way to learn valuable lessons from the budget from the beginning.

Read more: 12 Basic Money Tips For Every Phase Of Your Financial Life

A university graduate with an Asian suit to begin with.

A university graduate with an Asian suit to begin with.

US savings bond

A classic financial gift, American savings bonds will never go out of fashion. Three options are available – EE series bonds, I series electronic bonds and Series I paper bonds.

EE bonds earn the same interest rate for up to 30 years – 0.10% for those purchased from May 2021 to October 2021. The minimum purchase is $ 25 and the maximum is $ 10,000 per year for each social security number.

Series I bonds have an annual interest rate based on a fixed rate and a semi-annual inflation rate – currently 3.54% for bonds issued from May 2021 to October 2021. Electronic bonds have a minimum purchase of $ 25 and a maximum purchase of $ 10,000 per calendar years. Paper bonds have a minimum purchase of $ 50 and a maximum purchase of $ 5,000 per calendar year.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 10 generous cash gifts (except cash) for city