By definition I am a millennial but I really don't feel like one. Why? Because I was born in the early 1980s and have been working for over 10 years. Nowadays, people seem to associate millennials as people who were born in the 1990's and are just entering the work force. Let's face it, it is tough to be a millennial. Post secondary education now costs more, housing costs more, food costs more, but wages have not really increased in relation to living expenses. But it's not all doom and gloom for millennials. Millennials just need to realize that the world has changed and they need to have a different perspectives when it comes to their personal finance. Here are 10 financial tips for millennials that will help millennials to start out on the right foot.
- It's OK to not know what you want to do. Instead starting post secondary study right after high school, take the time to travel and know yourself. This is why I think having a gap year is so great. Discover what you are passionate with and pursuit a career that is related to your passions. Last thing you want to do is go to college to become an engineer only to find out later that you hate dealing with technology and forced to go back to school for another degree.
- Don't believe in traditional teaching of get a degree, get a job, work hard, get promoted, and finally retire at age 65. Things don't work like that anymore. It's OK to have multiple jobs and even switch field during your working career. It's also OK to take a break from working to focus on family life.
- Be willing to learn. You can learn from anyone. You can learn from your CEO and you can learn from the receptionist. Job title has not association with knowledge. The receptionist may have way more life lessons you can learn from than someone who's higher on the corporate ladder. Be humble and be polite. You probably will come cross path with people you meet again one day. Don't burn any bridges.
- Always say yes to free money. This includes employer's RRSP/401(k) match, Canadian government's Canadian Education Savings Grant for RESP, bank's new account bonus, and cash credit cards.
- Learn to ask for help and learn to say no. Need some help understanding your investment statements? Need some help with budgeting? There is no shame to ask someone to help you. You are worst off if you don't ask. Also, it's OK to say no. You are not forced to go out and party with friends and spend tons of money. It's totally OK to say no so you can stay home and have a quiet night. Learn the power of no.
- Start saving early by paying yourself first. Set aside a certain percentage of your income for investing. What you can't see you can't spend.
- Learn about the different investing strategies like real estate, index investing, dividend investing, precious metals, business, and etc. Pick one that suits your style and stick with this strategy. Think long-term.
- Stop comparing with other people. Personal finance is personal. Find the right balance between saving and spending that works for you.
- Be happy with who you and what you have right now. If you're not happy today, more things, more money in your bank account, or a more senior work title won't make you happy tomorrow.
- Enjoy your life while you're young. Saving for retirement is a multi-decade process. Think long-term. Don't sweat the short-term stuff.
Contrary to what other people may have told you, I believe it is totally OK to make a mistake or two when you are young. The important thing is that you learn from your mistakes. Start saving today and take advantage the power of compound interest. Your future self will thank you.
Dear readers, do you have any tips for millennials?