Carol Jones, MBA
Millennials are a generation of survivors. Why, you ask? Because this generation has survived the 2001 September 11th attacks, the financial crisis of 2007-2008, and now the COVID-19 recession…just to name a few. Each time Millennials attempt to grow professionally, academically, or financially, they take a blow to their pockets. As a Millennial myself, I know this all too well. However, we are resilient in that, no matter what comes our way, we continue to find ways to make an impact and evolve professionally. We move with the change and find ways to make change out of it! There is a perception that Millennials only care about lattes, avocado toast, and social media, and that we are entitled with little knowledge about managing our finances. That could not be further from the truth. (Although I do love lattes and avocado toast!)
A survey by Vox Creative, sponsored by JPMorgan Chase, reports that members of the Millennial generation (born 1981–1996) started saving for retirement at age of 23, seven years earlier than Generation X and 17 years ahead of Baby Boomers. Vox also found that, despite earning less than older generations, three in five Millennials are saving more than five percent of their income. Studies also show they spend less and stick to their budgets more than their predecessors. In addition, Millennials are more open to discussing money matters (no offense to the Silent Generation, Gen X, and Baby Boomers) compared with their predecessors, and this allows room for an increasing acceptance of financial education. The Better Money Habits® Millennial 2020 Report by Bank of America stated that their study showed 73% of millennials are saving for life milestones, which is an increase of 10% compared to 2018.
These results are confirmation that Millennials are listening and learning from their parents and grandparents and that they are interested in changing their financial future. Millennials want to grow generational wealth, and they are investing and saving more so they can take charge of their finances.
Here are some great tips for the financially “woke” Millennial:
- Start where you are! This works for any generation. Never be ashamed of your financial situation. Make today the day to create a budget, evaluate your spending, and develop a plan.
- Find financial apps and tools to help you stay on track with money. If it’s within your budget, seek guidance from a financial professional.
- Have money sitting in a savings account and not sure what to do next? Research the best investment accounts for you and consult a financial professional.
- If you are receiving employee benefits, check them. Do you have enough health and life insurance coverage? Are you contributing to your retirement? Do you have stock options? Are you taking advantage of all the benefits available to you?
- Looking for more work? Need more funds? Revamp your career profile and resume. If you do not have one, get one! Professional websites like LinkedIn are an amazing source for job opportunities and building your network.
- Review your credit scores and determine the best strategy to get it where you need it to be.
- Take a moment to set up your Social Security account online and review your earnings. This is important knowledge for any age. If you have not done this yet, do it now! What you find might surprise you and motivate you to save more. (To learn more about Social Security, check our this webinar with René Nourse!)
Congrats to all the Millennials out there who are taking action on your savings. These are small steps, but they are worth it.
Remember: you control your generational wealth, and it is obtainable!