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Useful gifts for college grads

Yep. It's time for the real world. Ease the transition from carefree college life to responsible adulthood with these practical gifts for post-secondary grads.

Cash Life after graduation is laden with ugly financial responsibilities like credit card and student loan debt. Despite the perceived lack of effort associated with gifting cash, new grads are likely your most enthusiastic recipients.

Gift cards Though cash is certainly useful, who's to say the new grad will spend it wisely when temptations abound? Reduce potential distractions and have family and friends purchase cards to restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations and department stores to help your graduate with everyday expenses.

Resume service Most colleges have career centres with advisors available to assist students with their career search and resume development, but that "free" service is gone upon graduation. If your new grad is struggling with effectively conveying their accomplishments on paper, consider gifting a professional resume service.

Financial planning session One of the best gifts you can offer a recent grad is the opportunity to begin their new life on the right financial foot. By purchasing one or more professional financial planning sessions, you're offering the opportunity to learn the most effective approach for establishing a budget, paying off debt and saving for retirement.

Personal finance books If a professional financial planner is out of the question budget-wise, buy a book. Personal finance advice is invaluable to a generation laden with debt.

Foreign language lessons It never hurts to add to your skill set. Knowing a second language is not only impressive it opens job opportunities around the globe.

Periodical subscriptions Being in the know about the latest in current events helps job seekers stay informed and relevant. A subscription - either digital or hard copy - ensures a well-rounded education. Offering a trade magazine within the graduate's area of study or interest is another good option.

Retirement security Most twenty-somethings are caught up with immediate concerns - where to work, where to live and how to afford it - so opening a Roth IRA helps jump-start saving for the future. Account holders can make tax-free withdrawals once they hit retirement age, and they can withdraw contributions tax and penalty-free. Educate yourself and your grad in order to effectively manage the account.

Job interview clothing After living on graphic tees and torn jeans, it's likely the new grad in your life could use some "grown-up clothes" for job interviews. Offer a gift card. Otherwise, schedule a suit fitting or organize a shopping spree and help the budding professional select the proper attire that fits their goals.

Smartphone A smartphone is a savvy way for new grads to stay on top of communications from potential employers, navigate their way through unfamiliar streets and keep in touch with home. The abundance of apps for everything from cheap dinner recipes to budget-management tools makes lives a little easier.

Moving truck Anyone who's moved knows the costs involved are anything but cheap. Consider helping your grad with moving costs by contributing to a truck rental. Otherwise, offer your labour in exchange for lunch and help lug boxes for an afternoon.


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