Millennials occupy a major segment of the U.S. workforce, but they’re also one of the most financially insecure generations in this current economic landscape. More than 70 percent of Millennials fear they will never earn enough money to achieve what they want in life, and 80 percent are concerned their savings will not last, according to a recent State of Consumer Banking and Payments report. Most of these surveyed millennials also agree that finances control their lives—to some extent, at least.
If you’re a millennial, this might sound all too relatable. And in fairness, your generation has faced an onslaught of economic hurdles—from the recession in 2008, to the shutdown in 2020, to the current inflation rates in 2023. But there is a bright spot, the data continues. Despite the stress they feel, Millennials are more likely to have financial goals than any other age bracket.
So whether you want to maintain a budget, purchase a new home, start a family, or invest in retirement, here’s how to build your financial future right now.
Create an Emergency Fund
If the pandemic taught us one lesson as a culture, it’s that stability can change at a moment’s notice. You never know when an unforeseen medical bill, job loss, or market fluctuation could plunge you into financial hardship. But you can create a buffer—an emergency fund—to help stay afloat in those crisis situations. According to the financial experts at Concorde Investment Services, you should plan to earmark enough money to cover at least 3–6 months’ worth of basic expenses in the emergency fund. So make it a priority to contribute to this account each month, and over time, you will have a secure cushion to fall back on.
Sort Your Expenses
Taking inventory of all purchases is one of the easiest ways to curb spending habits and free up more cash flow for savings. This simple audit will transform how you structure—and stick with—a budget. Create a checklist of your regular expenses each month and categorize them into two columns: “Needs” on one side, “Wants” on the other. First, place your necessities such as food, clothes, housing, utilities, insurance, health care, and transportation in “Needs.” Then, file your non-essentials such as travel or entertainment under “Wants.” This helps you visualize where to adjust or allocate funds, so you can make smarter financial decisions.
Eliminate Debt as Soon as Possible
About 70 percent of millennials are currently in debt, reports GoBankingRates, and the average person in this bracket owes $117,000. Between credit card balances, car payments, student loans, or other outstanding expenses, debt can often feel like a mountain you’ll never reach the summit of. But the sooner you begin to tackle debt, the faster it will diminish, so you can save for the long-term financial milestones on your radar. Now is the time to create a strategic debt elimination plan and be as aggressive with it as possible. For instance, if you have some extra cash one month, funnel this amount straight into your debt repayment.
Shore Up Your Goals with a Financial Advisor
No matter how much tenacity, commitment, and passion you have for building a secure financial future, it never hurts to enlist the counsel of a certified professional. A financial advisor will help you gain more clarity around the values and goals you want to prioritize, then work with you to formulate attainable, incremental action steps to reach them. It’s much easier to avoid making emotional or impulsive money decisions when there’s an expert in your corner to offer practical solutions, hold you accountable, and help boost your motivation. There’s no shame in asking for some professional guidance—it’ll increase your financial literacy overall.
Take Control of Your Finances with These Practical Steps
When it comes to their money, millennials often straddle the line between stress and savviness. On the one hand, this generation has clear, ambitious goals they want to achieve. But on the flipside, they’re skeptical about obtaining the resources to make those dreams a reality. If this describes your current relationship with finances, you’re not alone. This is a common fear in today’s uncertain economic climate—but it’s also not insurmountable. Taking these steps right now will set you on the path toward a successful, thriving future.
Disclaimer: This content does not necessarily represent the views of IWB.