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Give Your Grad the Gift of Financial Education

By: Monica Victor

Each year over a million college students strut across the stage – donning their cap and gown, diploma and more often than not student loan debt averaging $27,253. But according to a study by Arkansas State University, they often lack one skill – financial education.

With graduation season upon us, while you may be thinking of gifting the grad in your life with dinners and furniture and college rings, Andrea Woroch, a consumer and money-saving expert thinks the best gift you can give is one that will help boost the grad’s financial smarts for succeeding in the real world.

Her suggestion comes on the heels of  a study by Arkansas State University that  found, “Over one-third of students surveyed admitted to having no idea how much credit card or student loan debt they owed and overestimated future earnings by more than 20 percent  –  $14,768.12 more than the average salaries for graduates at their respective universities.”

There is no doubt that stepping into the real world can be nerve racking and stepping out with no budgeting skills or money smarts can make it especially daunting.  As Woroch puts it “entering the real world upon graduation is going to be a real wake-up call!” and so she offers these 7 gift ideas to help boost a grad’s financial smarts for succeeding in the real world.

1. A Financial Planning Session: A certified financial advisor can help the grad in your life craft a budget and a financial plan to manage their money effectively. They can also help them in managing their student loans, provide tips for paying off debt faster and stress the importance of saving for retirement early and the overall improvement of their financial outlook.

2. Personal Finance Books: Woroch says a book that offers personal finance advice is invaluable to a generation laden with debt. She thinks they’re great especially because they are usually authored by writers who have gone through the experience. She suggests: Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance In Your Twenties and Thirties by Beth Kobliner; The Broke and Beautiful Life by Stefanie O’Connell; or Complete Guide to Personal Finance: For Teenagers for high school grads heading off to college.

MissMoneyBee adds:  PowerUp: Taking Charge of your Financial Destiny by Howard Dvorkin, CPA and Credit Hell: How to Dig Out of Debt also by Howard Dvorkin.

3. Career Coaching: College grads usually struggle to find employment and often settle for jobs that are not worth their college degree. Woroch says, “A career counselor will guide a college grad through the job search process while identifying career options based on individual passions, talents and training.”  The average fee for a job coach is around $50 per hour. Woroch says check the list of Top 25 Certified Job Search Coaches on LinkedIn for help finding one for your grad. They can also check the Third Fifth Bank Brand of You Campaign website for free resume writing and headshot tips.

MissMoneyBee also encourages students to use the career department at their school for free resume writing tips, mock interview sessions and information on career fairs and networking.

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