Millennials have a false reputation of being debt-ridden big-spenders with zero funds allocated toward their future. All throughout the media, we see incorrect accusations about millennials not knowing how to handle their money.
The fact of the matter is, millennials are the lifeblood of the new economy. Some of the world’s most lucrative companies (we’re looking at you, Silicon Valley) are powered by millennials.
The misconceptions come from the fact that the millennial generation views and manages money differently. Despite the bad rap millennials get when it comes to finances, they have the most disciplined saving habits of any generation. According to Fortune, one in six has $100,000 or more in savings.
That being said, it’s time to throw stereotypes about millennials and money out the window, and focus on what we can learn from them.
Best Millennial Money Tips
1. Use technology to your advantage.
Millennials treasure the use of various savings apps to manage their expenses. Apps like Mint, and many others, help them keep their budget in order. They can easily be connected to checking accounts to automatically factor in their purchases, and what category they fall under.
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Not only are various apps and online banking services making keeping track of finances easier, but they’re making it more secure as well. Money transfer apps like Apple Wallet are encrypted and therefore safer than traditional credit cards.
Furthermore, they can be password protected, keeping them further out of reach of data and identity theft.
2. Don’t rely on risky investments.
Most of the headlines you see talk about how millennials don’t know their way around the stock market. This couldn’t be less true. Millennials still invest, but they are forgoing the risky, adrenaline-powered investing practices of previous generations.
Millennials use apps like Acorns to invest their spare change, or rely on Roth IRA accounts to make the responsible investing decisions for them. Furthermore, millennials are more keen on “socially responsible” investments than previous generations.
This means that millennials are more likely to invest in organizations with environmental or governance goals. Their investment decisions are much more oriented toward seeking social change and reform than merely making a profit, which could contribute to more careful and, therefore, lower-risk investments.
3. Participate in the sharing economy.
Millennials brought us services like Uber, Airbnb, and Fundrise. These tools are not only offering convenience but an opportunity for supplemental income and ways to make money fast. For example, Fundrise can bring investors 9.47 percent in annual returns on average. There’s no commitment for individuals looking to save up some extra money – only discipline and a sense of responsibility.
Furthermore, the sharing economy helps lower the price of normally high-cost services, such as taxis and lodging accommodations. Many see this as an economic downfall, but the truth is that individuals are both making and saving more money in the sharing economy.
4. Minimize belongings, minimize spending.
Millennials aren’t focused on owning a home by the time they’re 30. Rather, they’re saving their money for experiences and finding reasons to travel. This lowers the amount of debt they accrue early-on and encourages better spending habits.
This generation is more likely to invest in their education than possessions. While this is no small expense, individuals with college degrees are proven to earn a higher income later on in life.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is this: millennials are changing social values, which in turn changes the economy. By settling down later in life, re-thinking the way we communicate, and focusing more on civic responsibility, they’re embodying a cautious financial attitude. Whether this is the result of general mistrust or due diligence is unclear, but it’s definitely something we can all learn from.
This is not to say that the lessons of the previous generations are not valuable. As with anything, prosperity in finance is a matter of balance. Millennials are simply teaching us how to perfect a timeless practice with the new resources that are at our disposal.