Millennials are a generation so different from any generation before them, they are hard to pin down.
And if you were born between the mid-1990s and the early 2000s, you are one of them.
Fortunately, as a generation, you understand the importance of saving money better than generations before. And you have the opportunity to get your finances in order to live a comfortable life. Here is how:
Get a handle on monthly expenses. Understand not only what bills you have every month and how much they are, but also when payments are due. This enables you to be organized with your expenses and to avoid unnecessary late fees from missed payments.
Once you know what you spend every month, you will know what you have left for spending, paying off debt and saving.
Stay in Control
Beyond monthly necessities, understand where you spend money. Do you buy lunch when you could make it at home? Do you spend money when you are sad, or to reward yourself? Try to manage this type of spending.
If there is a splurge that you cannot live without, save and only purchase it when you have the money to do so.
Avoid racking up credit card debt. Millennials who have significant short-term debt on credit cards tend to not pay them off every month, resulting in high interest fees.
Just say no
Millennials can be victims of Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) – the fear that others will have an enjoyable experience without you. This could drive many “sufferers” to participate in activities that they cannot afford.
Millennials can also be guilty of “keeping up with the Joneses”. You want the latest trends, technology and material possessions that your friends have, even if you cannot afford them.
Avoid pressure and influences from social media. Be a saver, not a follower.
Deal with the past
Millennials are highly educated, which with it brings a large burden of debt for school loans. As you consider monthly expenses, include paying off this long-term debt as a priority.
Plan for the future
Retirement might be the last thing on your mind, but you are in a better position to think about retirement now than anyone else. Over time, small investments in a retirement savings plan can compound into big savings. And for a generation that likely cannot rely on pensions and other traditional retirement safety nets, this is more important than ever.
Plan to Save
You know this already. And the good news is, most of you are doing it. More than your parents did.
But just saving is not enough. You need a plan. A study by the Consumer Federation of America shows that 90 per cent of those with a savings plan successfully spend less than they make and put the remainder into savings. This drops to only 20 per cent of those without a plan.
Be prepared for emergencies by saving enough to cover these expenses. Experts recommend saving a minimum of two months and up to six months of expenses.
If you are a millennial, experts recommend saving 15 per cent of your monthly income for retirement. This varies by the individual and any amount adds up over time.
Make a plan and consider savings to be a monthly expense that cannot be missed.
Trust the professionals
Millennials have not had it easy. You grew up in the early 2000s and watched the economy fall apart around you. It has made you risk averse and untrusting when it comes to personal finance. You base financial decisions on gut instinct or advice from your parents.
While understandable, this mistrust is limiting your saving potential. Do your own research, talk to your parents, and then have a knowledgeable talk with a professional financial adviser.
Never lose your creativity and entrepreneurial spirit
Millennials are the most highly educated generation in history. You are hard-working and have a strong sense of community. Keep it up! These traits will ensure that you not only enjoy a successful, rewarding career but will also make the world around you a better place. Throw in some solid financial planning, and you have all the tools at your disposal for a successful future.
This guide is not a substitute for professional advice; you should always consult with your independent professional advisor.