Millennials get something of a bad reputation. They’re considered to be the ficklest generation, spoiled from being told that they were the most special people in the world while they were growing up. However, the truth is that millennials are just like anyone else. They have ambitions and worries to think about, and most of those will revolve around money.
Of course, millennials aren’t the first generation to get money management wrong. Baby boomers are known for causing damage to the economy, and people of all ages can just as easily make bad decisions with the cash. However, since Millennials are quickly taking over the world and the workforce, now might be a good time to address the mistakes they’re making with their money, and which issues you need to avoid.
1. Failing to properly invest
Research suggests that Millennials are less likely to know much about investment when compared to other generations. They’re conservative investors, more cautious about getting involved with the stock market than any other era. It’s easy to see why millennials avoid the marketplace when you consider the fact that their parents have lost both wealth and jobs in a declining economy. However, the truth is that investing your money is the best way to ensure long-term growth.
Try to make sure that the funds you invest in are performing in line with their benchmark, and then allow them to grow as you age. Eventually, you’ll thank yourself for taking a risk during the earlier years of your life.
2. Prioritizing student loan payments
Being in debt for your student loan isn’t much fun. You could find yourself spending sleepless nights wondering how you’re ever going to pay it all off. However, it’s important not to get too caught up in the stress of it all. If you have an employer match clause in your HSA or 401k, then you’ll be fine.
If you don’t have those things, then you need to think about where you’re going to put your money to work to get the most back. If your student loan interest rates are less than 6%, you’re probably better off investing the money you would spend on them in aggressive investments for the long-term.
3. Choosing a classy home with no financial foundation
If you’ve spent your college education living in a loud, run-down apartment, then the chances are that you can’t wait to upgrade to some luxury real-estate with all the extras and amenities you can imagine. Unfortunately, once you’ve lived there for a little while, you’ll begin to re-think your decision, because you’ll be starting out your career with a lot of student loans, some credit card debt, and no emergency funds.
There’s a lot to be said for living in the perfect home. However, it’s better to make sure that you choose a place that you can afford to live in while building up some extra cash savings too. Decide on the things you can and can’t live without, and go from there.
4. Using credit cards on luxuries
At the end of the day, you can’t have everything. A lot of young people who were the product of dual-income families struggle to understand that simple truth. They want to continue to enjoy their luxuries, even when money is tight and their budget doesn’t add up. When you’re living on your own and paying for your own “little extras”, it’s important to think about your priorities.
Anything that’s forcing you to dip into your credit card just so you can afford to live, might be a bad sign. Think about what you’re spending money on each month, and ask yourself if you really need it. You might have to give up on the odd luxury coffee, but at least you’ll have better financial security, and you won’t have to worry so much about endless piles of debt.
5. Struggling with adult decisions
Finally, statistics suggest that a lot of millennials are holding off on some of the life milestones that we typically associate with being an adult. For instance, they might not jump straight into buying their first home, getting married, or having kids. Unfortunately, they also feel concerned about that issue, because they feel like they’re not living life the way they should.
The truth is that only you can make decisions about how you spend your money. There’s nothing wrong with putting off buying a house because you can’t afford a great deposit just yet. At the same time, there are no problems with choosing not to get married until you have more cash. Think about what matters to you and make your financial decisions based on your priorities. What matters to other people doesn’t necessarily have to matter to you.