Books & Magazines · Finance & Insurance

Gift Your Grad Some Financial Smarts

Have a son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandchild or godchild graduating this year? Whether they’re walking across the stage at the end of high school or college, they’re about to make a very big transition in their life.

Big transitions come with big financial decisions. Whether you’re deciding whether or not to take out student loans or wondering how to invest in the stock market after landing your first “real” job, early adulthood is laden with new life choices that have the potential to impact your finances forever.

And most young people are terribly ill-equipped to make the decisions that lie in front of them.

It’s not that they’re dumb. It’s that culturally, we don’t talk about money too often. It’s a taboo subject, and often our kids don’t know how much we make nonetheless how we allocate our 401(k) contributions.

If they haven’t had a budget before they may not know how to stretch their money and defy immediate gratification. If they’ve never had any education around interest rates and credit cards, they could potentially get themselves into a lot of debt very quickly over the next few years.

That’s why our favorite graduation presents are financial reads. These picks have the potential to save or make your grad thousands upon thousands of dollars over the course of their life.

Don’t worry. We didn’t pick stale, boring reads. These books are engaging and will leave your young adult feeling insanely motivated to start their financial life off on the right foot. Save a little money by picking them up at AbeBooks, using promo codes as you shop.

Broke Millennial

Hot off the press, this must-read for millennials, or even older members of Gen Z, covers everything from how your credit score is calculated to how to negotiate your first paycheck. Lowry uses relatable analogies and a dash of humor to make young people feel confident navigating the financial waters that lie in front of them.

The Simple Path to Wealth

Maybe your kiddo doesn’t know about investing because you kind of just blindly contribute money to your employer plan every month and let someone else manage it.

Nothing’s wrong with that. You’re saving. And that’s a huge deal.

But if you want to give your kid access to the knowledge that you never had, The Simple Path to Wealth is a great way to do it. Collins wrote the book as a guide for his own daughter, and presents a cheap and most often profitable way to build wealth without obsessing over every last dip and rise in the DJIA.

These strategies actually helped him and his wife stay home with their daughter when she was young—a decision enabled by their savings. The younger you start, the more wealth you will accumulate, so make sure your grad gets started investing as soon as possible.

The Millionaire in the Next Cubicle

With the rise of start-ups and Silicon Valley, it can be easy to think that the traditional office is so cliché. But for a ton of people, the traditional 9-5 will be the backdrop of their career.

If your grad is headed into the corporate world, Mendez’s book is a great read. We will caution that he cites Wikipedia in a few cases, which is not good practice, but his intimate knowledge of the ins and outs of workplace benefits and culture make up for this faux pas.

If your young adult has never thought about things like disability insurance, employer-sponsored benefits as a part of the negotiation process, or using the grind to establish happiness and freedom, you’ll want to wrap this one up for the graduation party.