Did you know Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living generation? (See U.S. Census Bureau.) There is an emerging consensus that millennials are facing much tougher financial challenges than their parents did. Millennials are often stereotyped as financially irresponsible, but in many cases, they’re doing the best they can with the information and economy they’ve been given. What financial goals should Millennials set for themselves in this uncertain economy? I recommend starting with this short list below. Whether you are a Millennial, or grandparent, parent, or friend of one, I hope you will find these growth goals helpful and pass them along to help someone else too.
1. Use Stretchy Dollars—Reduce your debt by choosing cheaper entertainment and going on a short-term spending freeze. Make it fun! You don’t have to do this alone, consider creating a fun financial support system with your friends. For example, instead of hitting the bars or going out for dinner, you can have an even better “night in” with your friends. Put away the phones and game consoles and play some old fashioned board games like: iMAgiNiff, Risk Legacy, or Settlers of Catan.
2. Tap into Tech Tools—Utilize websites and mobile apps to help with smarter, money-saving decisions. Consider buying discounted gift cards on sites like Raise.com. These gift cards are sold for 1-25% below face value. You can add those savings on top of your regular coupons and then combine it with grocery rebates from apps like Ibotta and Checkout51. Most importantly, don’t blindly spend money. Make the decision to take control of your money.
3. Negotiate Nicely—Saving is super important, but negotiating is critical. Learning how to negotiate “nicely” can save you large amounts of money. To sharpen your bargaining skills, start by calling up your wireless phone, internet, or cable provider and negotiate a lower price point on your package. Keep working on your negotiating skills and before you know it you will be ready to negotiate a lower purchase price on your next car and house too.
4. Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More! —Financial planning sounds simple, but it is the one thing that many people overlook. Your financial plan needs to include cash reserves, in the event of job loss or a decrease in income. Set aside the equivalent of six months’ living expenses in a money market savings account for emergencies. Don’t neglect easy planning tools like payroll deductions into an employer-matched 401K, or opening an IRA. A good plan requires flexibility, so revise annually and then stick with it!
5. Don’t Stay Stuck in a “Dead-End” Job—You may find that income is your main concern. Continue to add to your skillset and grow. Keep reading, studying, listening to webinars, attending seminars, taking courses, adding certificates/certifications or another degree to advance your career. You may need/want to shop for something that not only pays better, but has more potential for long-term growth. There are plenty of opportunities out there. Be sure to do the research and prepare yourself.
Finally, meeting your goals is a very empowering experience, so don’t forget to celebrate when you meet one! Each goal you achieve will bring you one step closer to remaining “happy and secure” in Sonoma County.
“Michelle Gordon, Financial Advisor”