Far from the “slackers” and “dudes” that sometimes come to mind when thinking about the younger generation, today’s young adults aren’t necessarily all that unwise when it comes to making money decisions. Because their family might have experienced some radical financial difficulties while they were growing up, the Millennials might have some different opinions about money, but they are still trying to use it wisely. To help ease the transition into family-based financial decisions, here are a few money moves every Millennial should consider:
• Pay Attention to Those Student Loans: These don’t have to be the albatross that hangs around your neck for your entire adult life, weighing down every financial move you make. Student loans can’t be ignored and they won’t go away. Failure to make payment could affect every aspect of credit for you and your family. If you don’t repay your federal student loans, you could even face having your wages garnished or lose your federal tax refunds. Sit down and assess how many student loans you have, find out how much money is due on each, and work out a payment plan. Try to determine whether loan consolidation makes sense for you. This could result in one payment for federal loans and one for private student loans, but you have to weigh the pros and cons of each.
• Find a Financial Coach: It can be difficult trying to sort out everything you need to know about owning or renting a home, saving for retirement, or paying for your own children’s college education. That is where it can be helpful to seek out the advice of a financial coach who understands your needs. USA Today says that today’s financial planners are beginning to focus less on “asset management” and more on “goal achievement” in order to better assist their Millennial clients.
• Get a Plan: Nashville-based iQuantifi surveyed hundreds of people younger than 35 and found out that while almost three-quarters of the Millennials do have financial goals, only 20% of them have a plan in place to back up those goals. This may feel a little counter to the Millennials’ free-flow approach to decision-making, but it can be very helpful in getting your financial life on the right track.
• Learn to Trust Someone: Fidelity recently found that 39% of the Millennials do worry about finances, but 25% don’t really know who to turn to for advice. Fortunately, you have the greatest information resource literally at your fingertips. Use all those social media and internet skills you have accumulated to talk to your social circle about financial decisions. Ask them what they are doing and how that is working out for them; find out who they go to for advice and get input on whether they think that person could be helpful for you.
It may feel a little uncomfortable at first to put any effort into managing money, but the long-term rewards will be well worth any time you invest now.