Personal Finance for Millennials: Maximizing Today for a Better TomorrowBy Randell Tiongson on February 24th, 2016
They’re the ones born between 1982 and 2002. The world seems to have a love-hate relationship with this group, and numerous articles have sprouted up titling this group as entitled, lazy, and narcissistic. They can’t seem to stay at one job for too long and expect too much, too soon. Who else are they?
However, if you look at the other end of the spectrum, you’d be surprised at what you’d find. When it comes to personal finance, millennials start saving for retirement at an early age than any other generation. According to the Investment Company Institute, the average age millennial households start saving for retirement is 23 versus the 35 of baby boomers (1946–1964). Even further, in the 2015 Deloitte Millennial survey, 6 out of 10 millennials in emerging markets including the Philippines are ambitious in attaining leadership positions.
Saving for retirement in their 20s? Striving to climb the corporate ladder? These habits may have been born out of a need or through experience – whether it’s seeing their parents lose savings or their homes during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis or the 2008 Financial Crisis (for others experiencing this tumultuous period personally).
So how has the money game changed for millennials? And how can they start today for a better tomorrow? Here is what you need to know when it comes to personal finance for millennials:
Valuing experience over material goods
In an Eventbrite survey targeting millennials, over 75% or 3 out of 4 people preferred to spend money on experiences rather than material goods. Experiences can range from attending concerts and other events to traveling domestically or internationally.
How does this relate to personal finance? It takes discipline to save up for a ‘travel fund’, and when it comes to money management, it all boils down to habit. Are you indebted with loans? It’s important to build the habit and pay your balance monthly. Did you buy a ‘piso’ fare to Korea or Japan and now need to save up for pocket money? You need to build the habit of saving a portion of your income every month for your future expenses. If you want to experience life instead of being confined in your cubicle, you will need money, and you’ll need to learn how to control, budget, and save.
What is the takeaway? Experiences come at a price since nothing in this world is free. It’s important to build the habit of budgeting and saving so you can experience what life has to offer.
Taking advantage of restlessness
Millennials have a reputation for being job hoppers. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average worker stays at each job for about 4.4 years. For millennials, it’s half that number. Furthermore, 91% of millennials expect to stay less than three years at a job. Whether it’s because of burnout, employer disloyalty, or a career change, many millennials are looking at the next opportunity. They’re restless for new experiences and opportunities. Again, how does this relate to personal finance?
If you can’t sit still for too long, maximize this, whether it’s negotiating for a higher salary when switching jobs or staying with your current employee while multiplying your income streams. For the former, moving jobs can garner you a salary increase between 10% to 20% (or more) while an average raise is at 3% according to the Consumer Price Index of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. As for the latter, multiplying your income streams will require more effort but result in more disposable income.
What is the takeaway? If you’re the type of person who’s always restless, always itching to do something or looking for the ‘next’ thing, busy yourself in such a way that will benefit your personal finance. Whether it’s moving jobs after two or three years because of no internal growth or looking for ways to earn more, there are multiple ways to keep busy and grow your finances.
Maximizing the digital space
Life, in general, has become more convenient in this digital age. Flight tickets can be booked online. Shopping can be done without going to a brick-and-mortar store. Your money matters are no exception. Transferring money can be done with online banking. Applying for a Philippine investment account can be done by OFWs from their country of employment. Even when it comes to researching for the best credit card, loans, or car insurance, you can do your research and consultation without having to go through a bank or insurance provider. Comparison portals present the information you need when it comes to financial products.
What is the takeaway? Use the worldwide web to your advantage and to help you when it comes to personal finance and money management. Comparison portals save you the time and money when it comes to searching for the credit card or loan with the lowest interest rate. There are apps available for both Android and iOS which help you track your expenses, manage your debt, and report your investments. I actually wrote an article on this entitled, Online Hacks and Apps for Your Personal Finances. If you want to learn more about personal finance and how to handle and grow your money, there are multiple online resources and blogs which you can read for free. Maximize the digital space for a financially and holistically better life.
Personal finance for millennials – it can be a tricky topic. Each generation has similarities and differences, money habits included. Hopefully, the three points above have shed light on how millennials can maximize today for a better tomorrow and brighter financial future.
Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. – 1 Timothy 4:12, ESV