Few young people learn the skills they need to build strong financial lives. They simply never get the exposure they need to develop habits like saving and investing. As graduation nears for many students, you can change this by giving them gifts that will teach them about saving money. Try these three ideas to get them started.
Start a Savings Account
More than 60 percent of Americans have less than $1,000 saved. That makes it nearly impossible for them to pay for emergency expenses like car repairs and medical care, let alone prepare for the future.
Starting a savings account is a good way to get graduates on the right financial path. Many banks only require small deposits to start savings accounts. As long as you’re willing to spend $10 to $50, you shouldn’t have any problems. If you can afford to, offer to match some of the graduate’s contributions to keep him or her interested.
Interest rates can vary significantly from bank to bank. Some are as low as 0.1 percent. Look for options closer to 1 percent so your graduate will reap bigger rewards. Consider opening an online savings account; your grad will get a much better return than at a traditional bank. Also it’s out of sight out mind, meaning they are less likely to pull money from it. Discover Bank High Yield Savings Accounts are offering 0.95 percent APY on ALL balances. Open an account here.
Give Them Stock
As fewer employers offer pensions, the burden falls on individuals to prepare for retirement. Investing in the stock market has become one of the most effective ways to reach those financial goals.
Unfortunately, only about half of Americans own stock. Many believe that investing is too difficult or expensive to try. Show your graduate that investing pays by gifting him or her a few shares.
Young graduates may not fully understand the importance of owning stock, so get them started by investing in a company that will keep them interested. If he or she loves playing video games, for instance, buy stock in a company like Microsoft or Sony. Look for a company with low fees and low minimums so your graduate can continue to grow their investments without paying hefty fees.
Open a Roth IRA
Young graduates are often lucky if they have enough money to pay their bills. Putting money into a Roth IRA isn’t even something they think about.
Opening a Roth IRA in the graduate’s name will give him or her a head start. You don’t need to contribute a lot of money to start one, although most financial planners require a fee to set up and manage the account. In this case, in this case it would be smart to skip the financial planner and open an IRA with a low-fee online broker, such as TradeKing.
One of the good things about having a Roth IRA is that the account continues to grow even if the owner doesn’t put more money into it. Your graduate will hopefully find a way to invest some money each year. Even if that’s not possible, the money you invest will grow for decades.
Knowing how to save money is a crucial skill. The gift you choose could inspire a recent graduate to take the issue seriously.