4 Graduation Tips for Seniors

4 Graduation Tips for Seniors
A view from the back table where the kids sat. My son Ricky is in the middle. The screen shows the welcome slide.

Each year one of the outreaches Woodland Christian Church puts on is the Senior Dinner. The graduates join us in the fellowship hall for a nice meal. I present a message with graduation tips, and my brother brother-in-law, D.J. Malinowski, plays some music (see below).

I tell the seniors that I’m going to share with them the four graduation tips I wish someone would’ve shared with me when I was in their place. I use a PowerPoint presentation and the slides are below…

4 graduation tips for seniors
The welcome slide that was up when they arrived.
4 graduation tips for seniors
Contrasting two individuals who invest the same amount of money at the same interest rate, but one starts at 20 and the other at 30. The person who started 10 years earlier makes over twice as much as the other.

4 graduation tips for seniors
Another example: Person A invests $2,000 per year from 19 to 26, and ends up with $2.3 million. Person B starts investing when Person A has stopped: $2,000 per year from 27 to 65 and only ends up with $1.5 million.
4 graduation tips for seniors
We often spend our lives looking forward to the next season of life. Then we spend later years wishing we could go back to those seasons.
4 graduation tips for seniors
Solomon is used as an example to show two things: 1. Whatever you have will never be enough. 2. Getting more just makes you want more.
4 graduation tips for seniors
The fourth tip is a presentation of the Gospel. I begin by explaining the purpose of the Ten Commandments, which is actually the opposite of what most people think. They don’t teach you how to be good so you can go to heaven. They reveal your sinfulness so you know you need a Savior.
4 graduation tips for seniors
Most people believe they’re good, but taking a simple test reveals all of us to be idolaters, liars, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, thieves, coveters, etc. We’re anything but good.
This young man was willing to take the, “Are you a good person test?” He was a very good sport, answering questions honestly and humbly. The truth is all of us would have to answer the same as him. I appreciated his classmates seemed very encouraging and clapped for him.
4 graduation tips for seniors
Since we’re all sinners, none of us can go to heaven in our own effort. Because of God’s great love for us He was willing to have His Son take the punishment our sins deserve, leaving us forgiven.

I’m thankful for this opportunity each year to speak to the graduating seniors. They’ve always been wonderful listeners, which I thank them for at the end of each message.

They eat dessert after I speak, and many of them come up to talk to me. I’m happy to get to know them, often asking about their plans following graduation.


  • Did you receive any graduation tips that benefited you?
  • What graduation tips would you pass along if you were in my place?

Share your answers in the comments section below.

4 Responses

  1. Only one problem with the savings info. Since these Seniors were 10 years old it has been imposible to get a 7% rate of return by saving. Or for that matter by investing also. That is why so many retirement funds are in huge trouble. They are paid into based on a assumed 7% annual return and they have not been able to even get close to that. With the current interest rate on saving and the current inflation rate everyone who is saving in a regular Savings Account, in US Government Bonds or Domestic Money Market Accounts is loosing money on a inflation adjusted basis. And while this can not last for ever, how long it will last is anyone’s guess. So somehow it seems that fact should be included next year. Otherwise people may get disillusioned with saving and because of that question the rest of your talk.

    1. Hi Dave,
      Thank you very much for your comment, and for putting it on the post where others can benefit from it.

      I wasn’t thinking of a 7% return for saving, but investing. Perhaps I need to make that clearer. But you said 7% is unrealized even for savings? Here are two posts that show long-term returns averaging at least 7% after after taking inflation into account:

      Maybe I’m missing something, but it seems like at least – at least historically – long-term investing results in at least 7% (with inflation taken into consideration). Maybe that will change, but up to this point it seems to be the case.

      With said, during the speech I do encourage them to invest for the future, as opposed to the short-term. Investments of only a few years in length would seem to be subject to pretty volatile swings.

      The financial part of my speech pales in comparison to the spiritual aspect; therefore, I would hate to have them question the spiritual content based on false financial content. I’ll try to be clearer next year.

  2. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the GIFT of God. Eph 2:8

    Everyone understands gift giving at Christmas time or for birthdays. The gift is given with no expectations of receiving anything in return. The giver wants nothing in return, and the one receiving the gift doesn’t even think of paying for the gift. For the giver to require payment for the gift would be an insult and for the recipient to offer payment for the gift would be the same. So why do so many choose to insult God by trying to pay for the gift of His Son? (We couldn’t make the payment anyway. That would be like a small child trying to pay for a house with pennies from their piggy bank.)

    Further, how do we accept a gift from someone? We reach out and take it, because we trust (that’s faith) them to give (that’s grace) it to us. What do we do then? We thank them simply because we are grateful, and then as the possessor of the gift, we use it (that’s works). When the Holy Spirit convicts us that we need to be born again through Jesus Christ, God is offering us His gift. We reach out and take it, because we trust (that’s faith) Him to give (that’s grace) it to us.

Do you have a question or thought? If so, please let me know. I do my best to respond to each comment.

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