I am so excited to host Brittany from BrittanyRoseLynn.com on the blog today! I know NOTHING about finances but I really wanted to offer my readers advice on being financially “smart” in their twenties. Keep reading for some amazing tips from Brittany on millennial business and finances!
You can also check out my article on her website: “How Millennials Are Overcoming The 9 To 5 Job.”
WHAT I’M ABOUT TO SAY MAY SHOCK YOU:
MILLENNIALS DO BUSINESS MUCH DIFFERENTLY THAN OTHER GENERATIONS.
If you just said, “DUH?” we’re going to get along just fine. If you said, “wait, what?” then you’ve come to the right place, but we have some work to do.
It’s relatively common knowledge that we’re the odd balls out in business. We just LOVE to challenge decade old norms. There is a myriad of different ways this impacts us (in fact, I’ve dedicated a blog just to explore all of them), but an often overlooked way is in our finances. It’s not an overly sexy topic, but it is massively important.
WE ARE I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T
Millennials are proving to be an innovation gold mine — and I LOVE this about my generation. Not just because it so beautifully puts to bed the notion that we’re lazy, but because we’re making a real impact on our world. However, you’ve been reading this long enough to know there’s a flip side. Venturing out on our own has a serious impact on our long term finances. Have you ever heard of a pension? a 401k? Yeah, neither have any of the other entrepreneurs. Not all is lost though. Millennials who choose to go solo are just taking responsibility for their own retirement. This means a lot of self education, investment, and forward thinking.
WE DID THE WHOLE ‘HIGHER EDUCATION’ THING
Here’s the thing, we’re the most formally educated generation ever. What!! How cool is that? But, what does that mean financially? Education was an expensive investment to begin with, HOWEVER tuition has risen over 260% since 1980 (according to business insider). While we’re over here making waves in education, we’re also digging deep into debt. Combine that with less stable long term financial plans and we get a scary picture.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT: ACTION PLAN
So, how do we stay true to our millennial selves AND be financially smart?
1. Know where you are.
This is huge for a lot of people — not just millennials. If you asked the average person exactly how much debt they have, they might not be able to tell you. I clearly remember looking up my student loans about 3 months after graduation with only a rough ballpark in mind. The first step, no matter where you are, is to figure out exactly what you have to/in your name. I am a spreadsheet fanatic, so I laid out all of my loans/debt with their current balance, interest rate, payment due date, and expected payoff date.
2. Figure out what you need.
Right after you figure out what you have, you need to figure out what you need. Even if you’re 25 like me, retirement should be in your mind. This is where our self education comes into play. In other times, people were able to auto pilot retirement. They worked the same job for x amount of years to receive y amount of benefits. We need to figure out what our personal ‘y’ is and how to get it. I recommend speaking with your bank or credit union to see what plans or counseling they have available.
3. Create a budget.
I consider myself very fortunate. My parents taught me about budgeting from the time I was a little. But, that is not the case with a lot of people! The great news is that we live in the 21st century and there are literally hundreds of resources to teach you about budgeting. I practice something called “zero dollar budgeting”. It’s basically a fancy way for saying, “every dollar in my account has a purpose”. Do some research and figure out what system works best for you and your purposes.
4. Reevaluate and adapt.
The fact of the matter is: your financial needs will change. A lot. You could move, change ventures, or expand. In addition, you could also choose to get married or start a family. If you were in a traditional company, your 401k matching may automatically adjust with a promotion, raise, or life change. However, in your own game, you will need to constantly evaluate what you’re putting aside. Will in genuinely be enough for you to maintain your lifestyle once you’re not working?
The bottom line is, our unique business practices impact a lot more than business. And, our financial health is NOT something to leave to chance. We need to understand where we are right now, determine our long term goals, get a road map (a budget), and constantly reevaluate everything. Being financially sound puts us in the position to positively impact our world in a major way.
Brittany Rose Lynn is a millennial focused business and lifestyle blogger passionate about harnessing and developing her generation’s unique strengths and challenges. She is a self described renaissance soul, unmistakable introvert and personal development addict. Find her on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.