Millennials, also known as Generation Y, is the generation born between 1982 and 2004. Most of us (I am also a Millennial) have graduated college and have started a career. There are also some who probably have started families. There are significant financial steps that should be taken early on in order to set you up for the future.
Your first priority is saving some money for emergencies and future expenses. Next is setting up a budget. Calculate all of your necessary spending (bills), discretionary spending (fun money), and your income. Make sure you are coming out in the green at the end of every month. If you have to turn down a weekend out with friends, do it! Your future self will thank you.
Pay down debt
Whether you went to college and have student loan debt, or had too much fun with the credit card and have a lot of credit card debt, you need to pay that down. Develop a plan.
If you have student loans, refinance. Many times, you will have more favorable terms and a lower interest rate.
With credit card debt, consider taking out a personal loan to pay off your credit card. The interest rate for the personal loan is usually much lower than the interest rate on your credit card.
Use your budget to see how much you have left after all of your necessary spending. With the amount you have left over, set up an automatic savings plan. Have a certain percentage go to a savings account. This is to save for emergencies and future big expenses, like a house. Use a larger percentage to save money for retirement. With money left over, use it to treat yourself. Make sure you’re saving first and then spending what is left over, not the other way around.
Invest the money you have set aside for retirement. The recession in 2008 may still be fresh in your mind and you may be intimidated by the stock market, but putting that money under your mattress will hurt you. The rate of inflation will eat into your spending power and you will lose money.
It may seem scary, but the stock market is your best chance in setting up your retirement nest egg. Be smart will your investments and do your due diligence if you are going to pick your own stocks. Another option would be to invest in an index fund.
Millenials have a valuable asset on their side. Time. Save as much as you are able and invest in the stock market. By doing this, you give your money time to compound and work for you over the years. Saving and living below your means allows you to set money aside for emergencies, big purchases and retirement.
When making any financial decisions, do your homework. Before doing any investing or creating a financial plan, talk to a financial professional. The advice in given is the opinion of the author and should not be taken as professional advice.