CPA Jamie Block of the New York State Society of CPAs discussed some financial gifts for college graduates Monday on News 8 at Sunrise.

“There’s a lot of options so let’s start at the beginning, and the first thing that I would recommend is that you get an appointment with a financial planner,” said Block. “This is a great idea because you get the college graduate on the good footing and a great foundation and typically the people who start early have a very successful future.”

A financial planner can help college graduates see the big picture. “First off they can talk about retirement planning,” Block said. “It’s never too early to start with retirement planning. They can talk about income tax planning, and really at their stage is budgeting, so making sure that they spend within their means and don’t over spend.”

A book can be a great gift for college graduates as well.  “One thing you can do is buy some books,” Block noted. “There are a lot of great financial planning books out there, however in our area we’re very lucky to have financial planners who charge by the hour which might be affordable for some.”

You can also give the gifts of stocks and/or bonds.  “That’s really a great opportunity for the graduate to kind of see how the market behaves and for them to learn, so they’ll see how their stock goes up and down in price, and really when you have some skin in the game that’s really how you learn the best,” said Block.

You can also give the gifts of advice. “One of the really great things about college graduates is hopefully they haven’t developed bad habits yet, so one thing we can do is really recommend opening a savings account and to start putting money into that savings account early and then spend the rest of their paycheck,” Block said. “With the uncertainty with Social Security that people have in their minds, it’s always good to start saving, so one thing that they can do first off is to put as much as they can into their employer or retirement plan if they offer one.  If their employer doesn’t offer one like a 401k or 403b then they can contribute to an individual retirement account or an IRA and this is a self directed fund that they can invest in if they have wages or earnings.”

You can find more information at the New York State Society of CPAs website, click here.