Financial Advice for Millennials by a Millennial
Updated: Feb 1, 2018
I like to think of myself as a young, naive man-child, still flagrantly flailing around this world, trying to make sense of a complicated capitalistic system. Maybe I am, but the reason I am writing this article is to explain to my fellow American’s and especially the millennials and Gen Z a straight forward explanation of how to save up for our future.
Growing up in a world that’s all too transparent, I am hedging at least one of my bets being the declining Social Security checks for the future elders of my generation and younger. Why? The system is not generating enough revenue to perpetuate its current pay out. At best, we will find that the payroll tax we have been paying will cover 75% of the benefits society has grown to expect. The current trust is estimated to be depleted by 2034. (www.time.com/money)
Let's Get Quick Down and Dirty on the 401K
Big players that run the 401K business are financial firms like Merrill Lynch, and Goldman & Sachs. There are others that can help you, but these are two of the tried and true investment companies that know how to make money with money. They will pool your 401K contributions in with the rest of their clients and you can be nearly guaranteed a steady 2-3% climb in your money throughout its life. Even if that nearly is counteracted by inflation at times, the way these types of accounts grow is through long-term, steady contributions and potentially company matching.
Consider the benefits your company provides. Most polite management teams will offer some sort of 401K matching. This is free money as long as you wait till over 59 ½ to withdraw. My company for example will match up to 2% of my total earnings if I contribute. As a result, I put 2% of my paycheck towards the 401K matching.
Note, that long-term means stretching the thoughts of your time horizons. This money should only be realized after you turn 59 ½ or you will face an additional 10% early withdrawal fee on top of income tax paid at your bracket level. Both are serious tax burdens on your hard earned savings that you will want avoid.
In a time where Social Security is not guaranteed, the 401K is a way to play the financial saving game smart and with long-term interest in mind. Keep in mind other similar routes to take in order to save long-term money over time (this is the key here). Let it Grow. There are IRA’s and Roth IRA’s, and there are organizations that offer pension (i.e. teachers, iron workers, other unions…)
Other Financial Advice Worth Noting:
Establish Good Credit – Limit the amount of debt you carry on Credit Cards to below 20% thresholds, use them intermittently and pay them down immediately. Storing debt here only costs money and credit score points. Keep accounts open in order to establish both long=term credit history (eventually) and increase the ratio of available credit to debt you carry. Automate any payments you have that are re-occurring to avoid ever having bills paid late. Put your large scale purchases on your credit card and then pay it off immediately to show you manage money well.
Boost your online presence – Want a Job at a progressive tech or medical company, work on your online resume. They are searching using LinkedIn, Indeed, and other ways of viewing people’s content online. Update your resume to the best practices you can find. Include key words that your industry or employer will be looking for specifically. Post content and information relevant to the areas of your interest. Engage in conversations over interesting articles, and find ways to add value to your social groups.
Practice the Stock Market – On average, investors are sitting there making 7% on their money while most of us are collecting next to nothing from our savings account. Learn how to buy stocks and set up a diversified portfolio for Growth and Income. Taking a simple $10,000 of monopoly money and making moves with it will allow you to see the rise and fall of stocks based on their accomplishments, news and speculation stories. If you invest $10,000 today, you can double it in 11 years.
Remember every vote counts, so live with and eye for Conscious Capitalism