Top Financial Mistakes Millennials Make
Out of any generation, millennials have the worst financial literacy, according to Vogue. In a study conducted by the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center, millennials ages 23 to 35 years old report having the least amount of financial satisfaction.
Some of the financial stress is due to student loan debt and the current housing crisis, but other stressors have in large part to do with the fact that most millennials weren’t taught basic money skills while getting their degree in engineering.
Today, most schools don’t teach dollars and cents, a class that was once available when the Gen Xers were in high school. Young adults are entering the real world and work force having no idea how to budget expenses or start a savings account.
One of the worst financial mistakes young people make today is not starting a savings account, and contributing to it whenever they get a paycheck.
Having an emergency savings fund for unexpected life changes is crucial to maintaining some financial stability. The rule of thumb is to have between 3 and 6 months worth of living expenses tucked away for a rainy day.
And a rainy day means in the event of job loss, not when a new TV is calling.
Total up monthly living expenses including groceries and any monthly bills. Whatever is costs to live for one month, that amount times 6 is what should be put to the side and left untouched.
Another mistake millennials make is not putting money into a 401K or retirement fund. It’s estimated that millennials will need over $1 million dollars by the time of retirement, which is traditionally 65 years old.
Most financial planners will agree that for millennials they need to start putting money away in their 20s, or as soon as they get a job and a steady paycheck.
Taking advantage of employee benefits like company programs that match or add a certain percent into a 401K is another smart advantage to look for and participate in.
For those who have credit card debt, making sure balances are 20 percent of the total credit limit is crucial in helping build strong credit.
Lenders factor in debt to income ratio and payment history the most when looking for a good candidate for a loan. That means car loans or home mortgages will be hard to obtain, or come at a high interest rate, if the credit score is poor.
Taking charge and paying off cards with a high APR will help boost ones score. Making sure payments are made on time and in the amount that’s more than the minimum payment will help keep the debt from staying stagnant or piling on.
Most importantly, not continuing to rack up credit card debt is another key factor in creating healthy financial habits. Keep card balances low and pay them off monthly. It helps build good credit while staying out of the red zone.
Lastly, for those who rent, having renter’s insurance is always a good idea in the event of a disaster. Rather than shelling out thousands of dollars to replace what was lost due to a fire or flood, the insurance will help cover costs.
Having the right insurance for home, life, and auto will help give a peace of mind while keeping precious assets safe and insured.
Although it seems like a lot of moving parts, taking control of financial stability while still young will only help keep the momentum going and put millennials on the right track for adulthood.