Coming of age during the time of the Great Recession, Millennials have conceived a pretty grim image about finances and investments in general. Many of them grew up seeing their parents lose their homes, their jobs, and even go bankrupt due to poor investments and mortgage frauds. Now, jobs are scarce, excessive college loans loom over their shoulders, and there’s little to no chance of them ever working in their chosen fields. Yet, all is not lost.
With some shrewd planning and careful preparation, Millennials can bring back some financial stability into their lives and create a better future for themselves and others. So, seeing how they don’t exactly teach you money management in school, here are some tips to help you stay out of financial troubles in the future.
Pay off student loans
If you’re a recent college graduate, chances are you still have outstanding student loans to settle. Paying them all off as soon as possible and getting a clean slate should be your number one priority. Otherwise, you risk snowballing your debts out of control with high monthly compound interest rates. Start by focusing on debts with the highest interest rates first. After that, you want to incorporate loans into your monthly budget to make sure you don’t miss out on any payments. The sooner you get rid of them, the better. Trust me, the air will smell fresher, you’ll breathe a lot easier, and sleep soundly at night.
Avoid falling into any new debts
Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice… You get the idea. Getting your hands on that first paycheck and then spending it all on new clothes, shoes, and all the latest tech-gadgets is an alluring prospect. Yet, you need to resist the temptation and avoid making any new credit card debts that you’ll regret later on. Stop the bleeding by saying goodbye to that extravagant lifestyle and start building your personal credit profile. In the long run, a good credit score will let you qualify for home and auto loans a lot easier and without too much fuss.
Start saving for a retirement fund
I know what you’re thinking: “I’m still young. I don’t need to worry about that just yet”. Well, let me tell you something, it’s never too early to start saving for your retirement fund. Just do the math. By the time you turn 65, you’ll have accumulated a lot more money on your savings account, due to compounding annual interest rates, if you started saving in your early 20s, instead of your early 30s. What’s more, if your company has a 401k plan, enroll for it; it’s one of easiest the ways to save money for your retirement. Otherwise, you’ll have to open up your own savings account and set aside some funds each month.
Formulate a plan
Now that you’ve paid off all of your debts, have a solid credit profile, and have some money stacked in the bank; it’s time to look to the future. After all, once you hit the 30s mark, your financial obligations take a sharp turn. For example, you might consider starting a family, or perhaps you’ll want to buy a new house, and so on. As a result, you need to start your first serious financial planning ASAP if you wish to accomplish these goals on schedule. Talk with your parents, or people that you trust, and think about both the short-term and long-term goals. Prioritize the most important things first, consolidate your financial efforts and go from there.
Don’t forget that part of your planning for the future should include a plan for your estate, and who should make decisions for you if you are unable to do so. Not easy topics to talk about for sure, but these are just as important.
Invest in yourself
Just because you had some bad experience with it in the past doesn’t mean you should stop investing altogether. If anything, investing in yourself is never a bad idea. Hone your skills and acquire new ones by enrolling into both offline and online programs and courses. Get some formal education, or some additional training, to earn that raise you’ve always craved for. What’s more, as you grow older, others may also become dependent on your income. In other words, you should get life insurance to secure the financial future of your family. Look at the different premiums and policies to determine which insurance coverage is adequate for your needs.
Be prepared for the unexpected
Even if you’re financially stable for the moment, no one knows what the future may hold. For instance, there might be another recession coming soon, or perhaps you’ll be facing job loss sometime in the future (due to no fault of your own mind you). Whatever the case may be, it pays to be prepared. So, set up a separate emergency savings account from your 401k plan, and keep it stacked with cash for those rainy days. Essentially, this will lessen the blow of any financial crisis you may stumble upon, thus allowing your retirement fund to grow in size due to all that compound interest building up over the years. In addition, you should never put all of your eggs into one basket; diversify your assets (as well as your savings) and be prudent with your investments.
All in all, don’t listen to the various stereotypes concerning your generation. You’re as capable and financially savvy as any generation that came before, and after, you. Follow these financial tips you’ve just read and prove them all wrong.