“A goal without a plan is just a wish”
-Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Nobody cares about your money more than you do, even if you pay them to. With the unique challenges facing this generation such as job insecurity, the rising cost of living and education, and the commensurate pile of debt that can bring, I want to create a space where people can come together and help each other navigate the often confusing world of personal finance. Are we better off than our parents? Can we be? What will retirement look like for the millennial generation?
My interest in personal finance started at an early age. Throughout my childhood I overheard the adults in my life agonizing over paying bills, child support, and how expensive everything was. Seeing these struggles galvanized me to take control of my financial life and use money as a tool to get what I want as opposed to a natural force that could spin my life out of control like a tornado.
Money is a difficult subject. It’s the number one reason why relationships fail, and it can be incredibly personal to talk about. That needs to change. Most people are not financial experts, yet there is a kind of hidden expectation that you have to figure out your finances alone, that you can’t have an open and honest conversation about the challenges we all face. By learning and sharing how to take care of money and help it grow, it will begin to take care of us in return.
Given that, here are three ways to become financially secure and start the conversation:
- Get out of credit card debt, if applicable. Studies have shown that Millennials are actually shying away from using credit cards with “the percentage of Americans under 35 who hold credit card debt falling to its lowest level since 1989.” While this is great news, it’s important to keep flexing those financial muscles and maintaining credit card discipline. This generation has a great opportunity to use credit cards to your advantage to earn travel miles or even cash back. Do you know how much you’re paying in credit card interest and fees? If you are carrying debt, don’t hide it form your spouse, partner, friends, or family. It shouldn’t be a burden you carry around alone. Honesty can be the first step towards facing any problems head on and your friends may also be experiencing similar financial situations.
- Build an emergency fund for unexpected car problems, health issues and bills. If you lost your job today, how long could you pay your bills while searching for another one? On average, the job-search process takes about six weeks and can vary by industry. Having 3-6 months of expenses set aside in a savings account is a great start.
- Create a financial plan. Can you afford to do the things you want to do? Can you afford to go the places you want to go, to live the experiences you want to live? A financial plan can be a great start to understanding where your money is working for you and where you can cut back or save more. I’ll explore the nuts and bolts of creating a financial plan in a later blog.
I welcome you to join me on this journey and together we will explore how finding financial freedom can bring you personal empowerment and confidence in your future despite these uncertain times. What is your personal vision of financial security? I would love to hear your thoughts.