Millennials are growing up: The oldest of the cohort are approaching their mid-30s, which often coincides with more adult financial responsibilities, including mortgage payments and family-related costs. They have more grown-up challenges, too, like paying off debtand saving for retirement and future college tuition payments for children.
The good news is that the financial services industry wants to help. Eager for younger customers' business, thefinancial industry has been busy analyzing millennials' moneychallenges and trying to figure out how they can best reach out to them. As a result, a handful of financial services companies recently released money tips for millennials. Here are five of the best ones:
Save like it's 2009. Savings rates tend to go up during recessions, which is why personal savings rates shot up in 2009. The fear of financial instability appears to motivate people to squirrel more money into the safety of bank accounts rather than squander it on new shoes or a new smartphone. Millennials could use some of that motivation, since many have yet to start padding their bank accounts or saving for retirement.
A 2014 Wells Fargo Millennial Study of 1,639 millennials found that 55 percent said they have already started saving for retirement, and those who haven't yet say they think they will begin at age 35. Women millennials were particularly behind the savings game, with millennial men having accumulated almost twice as much as their female peers.
Four out of 10 millennials in the survey said debt was their top concern, with about half reporting 50 percent ormore of their income goes toward paying off their debt. In addition, 56 percent said they are living paycheck to paycheck and simply don't have the money to start saving for retirement or other goals. (Financial advisors generally recommend saving between 10 and 20 percent of your income over your working years, with the goal of replacing 80 percent of your income during retirement.)
Karen Wimbish, director of retail retirement at Wells Fargo, urges millennials to get started with saving as soon as possible in order to benefit from compounding interest. Having more money in the bank, she says, can also provide a confidence boost when it comes to achieving long-term goals. She notes that many millennials are aware of the fact that they should start saving as soon as possible, but they still find it hard to do so.
Get over your fear of the market. Given that millennials came of age in the era of Bernie Madoff and the subprime mortgage crisis, it's no surprise that many studies suggest they don't trust the market and resist investing in it. The problem with that conservative approach is that it could hurt them in the long run, if they aren't investing their money aggressively enough to grow over time.
Confront loan stress. Student loans are a huge source of worry for millennials. Respondents in the Wells Fargo study cited it as one of the biggest drains on their income: Credit card debt claimed 16 percent of their paychecks, then mortgage debt with 15 percent and student loan debt with 12 percent. (Auto loans claimed 9 percent and medical debt took 5 percent.)
Chat about money on dates. OK, maybe not the first date, but USAA financial planners suggest talking about money, and credit histories in particular, with long-term mates. USAA urges millennials to ask their partners how much debt they have, as well as get an overview of assets before exchanging vows. The reason? A bad credit score can derail post-marriage plans, from buying a house to purchasing a new car.
Get a job, not a degree. Obtaining advanced degrees can make sense in a lot of situations, but USAA financial planners also warn against using school as a back-up option when the job market doesn't work out. Returning to school often means building up more debt, and if the degree isn't directly related to your future career, it might not pay off in the long run.
If you're a millennial (or the
parent of one), don't let all these financial burdens get you down too much.
Millennials might have a lot on their financial plates, but they also have a
lot of financial