Millennials are a unique generation. They were raised during a great economic boom. With the rise in technological advances like cell phones, personal computers, and the internet, they’ve come to enjoy the wonders of instant gratification. They were raised with all of the privileges their parents wished they had enjoyed as children.
Yet, millennials also saw the effects of the Great Recession up close. They were coming of age, many entering their careers, right as the economy crashed. So they know first-hand the consequences of bad financial decisions.
With these vast experiences, millennials have reacted in a variety of ways. Some have become minimalists who try to take better care of their environment in the hopes to preserve the beauties this world has to offer. Others have chosen to go wherever the wind takes them and not be tied down to anything they might be afraid to lose, like a house.
Some millennials have made terrible financial decisions, while others have actually made some pretty impressive financial achievements.
Millennials are an enigma that many scientists and researchers have been trying to understand for years.
While millennials are young, they aren’t as naïve as older generations tend to think they are. Older generations like to give lots of financial advice… though it’s not always as helpful as they hope it might be. Here are a few financial tips millennials might want to think twice about:
Myth 1. Start saving for retirement as soon as possible.
Many millennials are in a tight financial situation. They are graduating from college with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Many find that it’s actually a better financial decision to tackle that debt aggressively and pay it off as soon as possible. Then, once they’re in a better financial situation, they can put a sufficient amount towards retirement.
However, if their employer offers a retirement match, it’s always a good idea to invest enough to get that free money.
Myth 2. Buying a house will be the best investment.
A lot of millennials have seen first-hand that this is not always the case. When the Great Recession happened, a lot of people lost their houses or found themselves in tight financial situations due to high mortgage payments and plummeting housing prices.
So many millennials actually look at owning a house as a crutch. Owning a house means paying interest rates, taxes, and home improvements. It also means being tied down to one place. Millennials want the opportunity to travel and don’t like to be stuck in a job more than five years. They want the flexibility to accept a better position in another city if they want to go. That’s why a lot of millennials actually prefer to rent than buy.
Myth 3. The best way to build your credit is via credit cards and mortgage loans.
Yes, it’s true that these are effective ways to build your credit– when used correctly. Are they the best options though? Not always. It’s easy for first-time credit card users to live above their limited means and ruin their credit score right off the bat.
But millennials don’t have to max out their credit cards or take on huge loans to build their credit. They can build credit by paying their rent each month with RentPlus and they can pay off their bills on time.
Millennials are under a lot of financial pressure. They feel the weight of their own financial future as well as our country’s financial future. With the country’s external debt on the rise and the Social Security future a bit shaky, millennials know that they’re in for a rocky financial future.
So, let’s cut millennials some slack and help them get their financial bearings before we bombard them with financial tips and advice. What works for one person may not be the best thing for someone else. Let’s do the best we can and keep moving forward.