Graduation brings opportunities for financial lessons


Graduation is a wonderful time in a young person’s life. It represents the acknowledgement of a job well done, and the promise of a future ripe for the shaping.

Graduation also represents an important financial moment for young adults. As they begin to take responsibility for their spending and saving decisions, their families can help set them on a path toward financial wellness.

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend a combined $5.2 billion on celebratory gifts by the time “Pomp and Circumstance” plays for the last time this year. More than half of those giving presents (55 percent) will opt for cash in a card as their gift of choice. That means many young adults will find themselves with a surplus of funds as they march forward into a new phase of their lives. What an opportune moment to discuss why it’s important to save, spend and give thoughtfully to achieve financial goals!

Here at Jax Federal Credit Union, we believe financial wellness is a lifelong pursuit. We encourage families and friends of new graduates in our community to consider giving a financial gift that will have a long-term impact. Here are a few ideas:


·       A checking or savings account in the new graduate’s name is a functional gift. In addition to providing a place to deposit graduation gift funds, it also presents an opportunity to discuss how accounts work. Young adults may not know how direct deposit and ATM deposits differ, why insufficient fund alerts are important or that overdrafting an account can result in fees. Sit down to discuss the responsibility that comes with having an account.

·       A savings-secured Visa® helps to build credit and teaches the cost of paying for purchases over time. This gift is especially useful for young adults who may be moving soon for college or a first job, and are interested in learning about credit in a controlled way.

·       A time deposit, such as a CD or IRA, teaches delayed gratification and the power of interest. These gifts can become available in six or 12 months. This gift can become even more impactful when paired with a one-on-one session with a financial advisor who can provide guidance on topics such as investing, money management and setting long-term goals. 


Congratulations to the class of 2018, and best wishes for a lifetime of financial wellness!


Mary Svoboda is the chief operating officer and chief lending officer of Jax Federal Credit Union, which serves more than 30,000 members in Duval, Clay, Nassau, Baker and St. Johns counties. For more information, including branch locations, visit