As a millennial, you're part of a unique and special generation. You're probably at the exciting stage in life where you're just starting out or you're beginning that career climb. Undoubtedly you want to avoid some of the financial pitfalls that have befallen previous generations, but how can you do so? Read below to learn the top 10 financial tips for millennials today.
1. Build Up Your Retirement Savings
From a recent study, 45% of millennials weren't planning ahead for retirement, but that doesn't mean you can't start now. Take part in your employer's 401(k) plan, even if you can only afford to contribute the minimum. You can build your contributions as you advance in your career.
2. Start a Savings Account
Open a savings account, even if you can't contribute much right now. You can use the savings account to put money aside for short-term and even long-term goals. For example, you can fund your holiday buying with your savings account if you save a little each month through the year.
3. Pay Yourself First
While a 401(k) makes this easy by taking money out pre-taxes, you might find it harder to save once you have the money in hand. Avoid this problem by paying yourself first. Arrange for small automatic transfers from your checking account directly to your savings account every payday.
4. Get Aggressive with Your Debt
Consider using the snowball method -- paying small debts off first and gradually tackling the larger ones -- to put your debt behind you. This allows you to see results and stay motivated.
5. Incur New Debt Only When It's Unavoidable
While it may seem easy to take on new debt, paying it off won't be quite as easy. Make sure that you only take on additional debt if you absolutely have to.
6. Build an Emergency Fund
One of the most important financial tips is to build an emergency fund. Shoot for 3-12 months of expenses, put aside for absolute emergencies. This money should be in its own account, separate from your savings. If you need to, start small and work your way up -- the important thing is to get started now.
7. Cut Out Extra Costs
Many millennials have expensive habits -- for example $5 lattes or $15 lunches every day. Keep track of every one of your expenses to see where you can trim some money. Consider areas that you may not have thought of, like raising your car insurance deductible.
8. Treat Your Raises Right
As you move up in your career, it's important to manage your raises properly. If you get a raise, arrange to save half (or use it to pay down debt.) The other half, you can allocate for the things you want and need in the future.
9. Raise Your Children to Be Savvy About Money
At this stage in your life, you may either have young children or are planning for them. Start your children off in life right by teaching them that saving money is a necessity, not an option. Take them to the credit union and help them open up their own accounts while they're still young to help them feel involved and excited about saving.
10. Plan For Your Family's Future
While you're still young, you're old enough to think about life insurance as a millennial. A term life insurance policy can be quite affordable and can allow your family to have long term security in the event of your untimely death.
Use the simple financial tips described above to get your finances on track while you're still young. You've got a bright future ahead that can include financial health and well-being if you start now and stick with it!