Whether it’s marking the end of middle school, high school, or college, graduation is a thrilling time. It’s a moment to celebrate, this sending-off to the next level (or out into the “real world”). If you’re considering gift-giving to mark the occasion, you might be thinking of cash gifts. Worried that it’s too impersonal a present? Fear not—you can make a cash gift both meaningful and memorable, and without breaking the bank.
Talking about money can be hard, especially in these economic times, but let’s be realistic and discuss how much you should give.
It turns out that there’s not an across-the-board answer—no “Give this amount for eighth graders and this amount for college grads.” No. This is a more nuanced decision, based on a lot of different things—how well you know the graduate, the graduate’s future financial needs, your own financial status. Consider the graduate’s level of support and stage of independence: a person beginning their post-college career may appreciate a larger cash gift than a young teenager who lives in a financially stable home.
Don’t feel pressure to give beyond your means. A modest amount of money is still a wonderful gift, especially if you include it in a note written on personal stationary. When you give money along with a heartfelt letter, your words of encouragement and wisdom will be long remembered after the money is spent.
You can also take the focus off the money by making it the secondary gift. We like to give meaningful books and tuck a cash gift inside the pages. When we write the inscription in the front of the book, we mention a particular page number. It’s a nice surprise, and the book makes the gift more personal and significant.
Regardless of the present, make sure your graduate feels your love—that kind of support sustains more than money!