How Millennials Value Money
On any given day, there are dozens of articles and studies done on Gen Y/Millennials like you. And like many of your peers, you’re probably tired of being typecast as the “me me me” generation that expect praise and live at home too long.
As with any generational characterization, the shoe doesn’t always fit – does it? It turns out that your generation has many of the same hopes, fears and challenges as those before you. Some recent studies, however, have emphasized growing financial trends among your demographic. Millennials will soon equal Baby Boomers in the workforce. Unfortunately, you’re doing this during an economically turbulent time. These might be two big reasons that recent studies have found:
- Nearly half of Millennials say student loan debt is making it hard to make ends meet. (Pew Research)
- This generation started saving for retirement with a work-based plan a full eight years sooner than their parents and are more realistic about what they’ll need to retire. (Wells Fargo)
- Gen Yers have less wealth and income than Gen Xers and Boomers had at the same age. (Pew Research)
- Millennials are more conservative investors than previous generations – and women are half as confident in the stock market as men. (Wells Fargo)
- Parents influence Millennials’ financial decisions – nearly 80% say they took their parents’ savings advice. Friends are a solid source of money advice for this generation as well. (Wells Fargo)
Financial Tips for Millennials
If any of the above sounds familiar, then now might be time to make – and keep – some good financial habits. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Debt Control – It’s easy to jack up those credit card bills and make the minimum payment each month – but don’t! This is the time in your life to get your debt under control. Before you add spouses and kids into the mix. Avoid high balances and pay off the balances you have as soon as you can.
- Start Saving – Income and careers can be unpredictable when you’re just starting out. Open a savings account now and direct deposit 5-10% of your paycheck into it. This will give you an emergency fund in case you need it down the road. Plus, it’s easier to save using direct deposit. If the money is never in your hands or your checking account, you’re much less likely to miss it!
- Career Check – You’re at the perfect age to sit back and assess what different career choices will do for your future. You want to pick a career you’ll love, but you also want to make a nice living off of it too! If you don’t have the choices you want, finishing your degree or getting a graduate degree may help. Add the possibility into your career plan if you think you’ll benefit from it.
- Budget Basics – Don’t let your money flow control your actions, control the flow with a realistic budget. Track everything you spend money on, even those soy lattes or quick drinks after work. You might be surprised how big those little expenses get when you add them up. There are plenty of programs and apps to help you put a budget together.
- Future Plans – Whether it’s talking to your future spouse about how you want to handle your finances or putting together a money-saving plan now so you can afford future children – the sooner you put the plan into practice, the better off you’ll be when vows or diapers come your way.