Millennial Money Matters

Millennial Money Matters

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The majority of millennial's are now in the work force earning income and striving for financial independence. Millennial's are the largest generation, now larger than the baby boomers. Their sheer size of this group is now getting more attention on how they behave and handle different life situations. Lately, I have been reading more studies about how millennial's manage their finances and areas that they can improve in.

One thing that really stands out is that millennial's find it hard to work with people in finance and the overwhelming majority don't trust financial professionals. Too many headlines of deception, stealing, and mismanagement have led them to be skeptical that anyone is looking out for their best interests.

  • 66%  plan to rely on their savings accounts and not investments to fund retirement; Merrill Edge
  • 35% of millennial's say not saving enough is causing stress; Bank of America
  • 21% say not planning and saving for retirement is a stress; Bank of America
  • 92% don't trust financial institutions to handle their money and about half believe they have no one to ask for trusted financial advice; Facebook IQ
  • Millennial generation had the lowest scores for a financial literacy survey; National Endowment for Financial Education

This generation has had many unique financial matters to navigate and those negative circumstances have slowed the financial progress for a lot of millennials. Many started their careers in a period where the economy was in a financial crisis or stagnant recovery. This made it hard to find quality jobs out of high school or college. Another drag on their upward mobility is being saddled with thousands of dollars of student loans.  At the same time, the money they do earn is going toward comforts and conveniences in greater proportion than any other generation. Here are some stats to consider:

  • 67% spend more than $4 on coffee; Charles Schwab
  • 79% splurge on expensive restaurants
  • 69% buy clothes they admit they don't need
  • 76% buy the latest electronics
  • 67% have less than $1,000 in savings; GoBankingRates
  • 46% of those have $0 saved; GoBankingRates

So, savings for many millennial's has suffered because of this increased spending. However, there are signs that more are starting to budget and save:

  • Those with $15,000 or more in savings increased 42% since 2015; Bank of America
  • 17% have $100,000 or more in savings; Bank of America
  • 54% say they have a budget and 75% of those say they stick to it; Bank of America

So, what are some goals that millennial's should be striving towards?

  • Have a financial plan. Putting your goals in a document will help you focus on what is important to you, how much you need to save, and how you are going to accomplish the plan. A good financial plan helps simplify your financial matters and encourages you to stick with it.
  • Start with small goals to get positive momentum going. Open a high-yield savings account and commit to putting 10% of each paycheck in it. Do that until you get to 3-months of expenses saved.
  • Refinance student loans to lower your interest rate and make your monthly payments more manageable. There are many companies that have started-up in the past few years that help consolidate and lower loan rates. Credible, LendKey and SoFi are just some of the options.
  • Take advantage of free money from your employer retirement plan. Most companies give matching of 3% or more to their employees when they participate in a 401(k) or SIMPLE IRA. This is the same as increasing your pay each year.
  • Compound growth through aggressive investing. Earning a 10% annual return will double your money in about 7 years. Earning a 5% annual return will double your money in about 14 years. Use your youth to compound growth faster by investing in investments that have a higher probability of earning higher returns.
  • Use a ROTH account to save tax free income. Not only does your money grow tax free in a ROTH 401(k) or ROTH IRA, once you reach age 59 1/2 you are allowed to take that money out and not pay any taxes. Another benefit of the ROTH is you can take out the amount of your contributions (the principal amount) without penalty.

Finding a financial advisor who will put your interests first is easier than ever. Look for a fee-only advisor with a CFP® designation. Fee-only means they are legally required to be fiduciaries and having a CFP® shows that they have extensive knowledge and expertise advising clients on financial matters. Peterson Wealth Advisory is a fiduciary firm and I am a Certified Financial Planner who enjoys working with millennial's and providing advice that is in their best interest.

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