I first want to take this opportunity to congratulate all the graduates who will be graduating high school and college over the next few months. Graduating is an accomplishment that we should never take for granted and we should all honor the dedication and discipline it takes to graduate. All the graduates ought to pat themselves on the back for a job well done-they deserve it. Of course, my one piece of advice for all graduates, particularly high school graduates, is to continue your education. To be successful in America, you must have a good education. In addition, remember, as college graduates your education does not stop just because you graduated from college. It is important to continually update your skills because if you don’t, you will be left behind.
Because of graduation many people are scrambling as to what gift they should buy. For a high school graduate I think one of the best gifts you can give is to help that graduate with their future education. Many families have established college education saving accounts and a contribution to that account would go a long way in helping the graduate with their future education. For families who have not established a college savings plan, they should look at the Michigan Education Savings Plan (www.misaves.com). The Michigan Education Savings Plan is one of the best college education plans in the country. Not only are there low minimums to establish the account ($25), in addition, the money can be used basically for any public or private institution in the country. Furthermore, as long as the money is used for a qualified education expense, (the definition of qualified education expense is very broad) the money, which grows tax deferred, can be withdrawn tax free.
I recognize that a high school graduate is not going to be thrilled with a contribution to their education fund. After all, the majority of them would want a gift card. However, keep in mind that what they buy with your gift card will be forgotten in about two weeks. On the other hand, a gift of an education is something that will help them for the rest of their lives.
For the college graduate who is entering the workforce, I believe what makes an excellent gift is something that will teach them to have an appreciation and understanding of money. A book, magazine or a subscription that teaches them about personal finance is an invaluable gift. Unfortunately, personal finance is not taught in the schools and so many college graduates are entering the real world without any knowledge about how to handle their finances. We all know that if you don’t know how to handle your finances you will have problems. Therefore, although it’s not a very popular gift, something that will help them learn about finances is something you should consider.
Whether it’s completing high school or completing a college education, it shows a sense of dedication and maturity. We should all honor these graduates on their achievements and wish them the best in their future. Therefore, once again, I want to congratulate all the graduates and their families. After all, the graduate had a team behind them and everyone on that team deserves a pat on the back for a job well done.
Congratulations and good luck!
If you would like Rick to respond to your questions, please email him at Rick@bloomassetmanagement.com.