There’s a bit of a misconception floating out there about millennials, my oft-ridiculed generation. The misconception is that we aren’t saving nearly enough money. Turns out that millennials are actually saving more money than previous generations, just with different goals in mind. Instead of saving to leave the work force, millennials are saving for their desired lifestyle.
Still, even with a lot of us saving well, there are still many who are trying to figure out what to do with their money: how to earn it, how to save it, how to make sure they’re not in the red every month—I know this is because that was (read: is) me. I’m no financial savant, but I want to help you start building a solid financial foundation so that in a few short years your bank account reads like a bank account, not an IQ score.
SOME SIMPLE ADVICE
I think I’m on pretty steady ground in telling you that the best advice I have for managing your finances is simple: spend less than you make.
It sounds obvious but you’d be surprised at how difficult this is at times. You go out for drinks one night and spend a few bucks here, then you go on a date and spend a few shekels there, and let’s not forget that you’re young and trying to do all the things, so you fill your schedule with activities to do around town. Before you know it, your wallet is empty without accounting for rent, groceries, or the dreaded bills. It’s fun to be making your own money and to be able to spend it, but make sure that your wallet can handle it before you do it.
Another good piece of advice would be to take a portion of every paycheck and put it away somewhere. Start a 401k or a savings account. Maybe just invest it. Put it wherever you want, just put it away.
ASK FOR HELP
Unfortunately, Mom and Dad aren’t always going to be our personal money machines. So, when the time comes to spread those wings and fly toward financial independence, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s an intimidating and scary time but there are many resources out there to help guide you.
Ask a family member for help, solicit the advice of a reputable financial advisor, or use the great resource known as the Internet to learn. Absorb all you can, and make the most informed decision you can make. There will be bumps along the way, but you’ll get the hang of it eventually.
HELPFUL APPS TO HELP YOU
If you’ve thought about budgeting apps at all, you’ve probably heard of Mint. They’ll help you manage your finances, set up a budget if you don’t have one (you should), and get the ball rolling on this whole “savings” thing. It’s the most comprehensive, easy to use app out there right now for personal finances, and I recommend giving it a look.
One of the difficulties of putting money away is just doing it. Acorns has come up with an easy, thoughtless way to solve that.
Essentially, whenever you make a credit card payment, Acorns will round that payment up to the nearest dollar, take the change, and put it away for you. So, for example, if you make a payment for $43.76, Acorns will round that up to $44 and deposit the $.24 into an investment portfolio (those cents add up fast). If you want an easy way to get saving, this is your jam.
Basically, you hook up your financial accounts and PocketGuard will generate an easy budget for you to follow, as well as finding straightforward ways for you to save your money.
Finances are scary, I get it, but it’s important you stay on top of them so you can do all the things you want to do. You may not be saving to leave the work force, but you’re saving up for something. Make that something attainable.
Until next time – has anyone seen my piggy bank?