If you have a newly minted college graduate in your life, chances are you’re brainstorming ideas for the perfect gift. It’s easy to focus on something for the new apartment or new job, but first let’s consider some smart financial guidance and options.
Those first few months are often a hectic time, between new payroll schedules, expenses and monthly budgets. For those graduates now managing student loans, offering to cover a payment or two can provide an enormous assistance. Once you’ve confirmed which payments you’ll provide for, your Dane County Credit Union online bill pay can make it happen.
While resolving student loan debt is typically the first big financial goal, graduates should also be thinking about the various retirement savings options available to them. At this stage in life, compound interest is the new BFF. If the new job includes a 401(k) with matching funds, this is essentially free money. Yes, please!
If the new job doesn’t include a retirement savings plan, a Roth IRA with DCCU is a sound alternative. All contributions are taxed now rather than later, are available for early withdrawal without penalty, and earnings are eligible for withdrawal at age 59 and a half. Contributions are limited to earned income (think W-2 or 1099 forms) and cannot exceed $5,500 per year.
If your graduate is new to the world of credit, applying for a DCCU College Rewards Visa card is the next step. Strong credit history begins by paying the balance due each month and for items within the monthly budget. Graduates should note carrying the occasional balance is important when building credit history. This is also a good time to request a free credit report from annualcreditreport.com. Available annually, this is an important tool towards understanding and managing credit history.
Looking for more graduation gift ideas?
- Most of us give cash at graduation and for good reason. You can decide how much you’d like to give while recipients can decide where to use it. DCCU’s prepaid Visa cards can be presented anywhere Visa is accepted and are also reloadable which is added convenience.
- If your graduate is moving into their apartment for the first time, think practical household items. Quality bath towels, decent kitchen knives, tools, luggage. These are items they’ll use for years to come.
- Perhaps a membership to Costco, Amazon Prime, local CSA, gym or yoga studio. Something like this can go extremely far with the right recipient.
Whether staying in Madison, or leaving Wisconsin for the first time, Dane County Credit Union has many options available to graduates looking to secure a solid financial footing.