Don't be so quick to hand your favorite high school or college grad a congratulatory card with cash. Other financial gifts can have a bigger impact.
More than a third of consumers will buy gifts for a graduate this year, according to the National Retail Federation — which projects total spending at a record $5.6 billion. Spending among consumers age 18 to 24 averages roughly $78 for such a gift, they found, while "parent-age" givers age 45 to 54 give an average $120, and "the grandparent bracket" of those age 65 and older, $112.
Cash is king, with 52.8 percent of givers citing it as a planned gift. Another third of consumers expect to offer a gift card.
Many new grads have big plans for any gifts of money they receive, including saving it (23.8 percent), investing it (19.2 percent) and using it to pay down student loans (18.7 percent), according to a survey from investing app Stash. The company polled 214 of its users who are part of the Class of 2017.