Unsplash / Austin Distel
According to Yahoo Finance, 43% of Millennials are not investing. One reason is that they prefer to enjoy the present rather than wait for the future. Here is a deeper look into that mindset along with seven steps Millennials can take to do both.
Why Millennials prefer enjoying the now over the later
Millennials have a bad reputation when it comes to personal finances. They have more debt, save less, and invest much less than previous generations. Laziness and a lack of responsibility are said to be to blame, but the truth is that Millennials simply have different values thanks in part to their elders’ experiences.
Most Millennials have seen just what the principles of their parents and grandparents did for them. Great grandparents and grandparents lived through the effects of the Great Depression, and that catastrophic event led to generations of hoarding everything — especially money. The fear of experiencing such devastating loss again has been passed down through generations, but it seems Millennials are refusing to carry it any further.
In addition to the hoarding, previous generations were so focused on securing their future that they forgot to enjoy the moment. Perhaps that is the biggest factor behind the Millennial mindset of enjoy now, save later. Many elders worked hard to save for retirement yet about 40% of retirees return to work for money or out of boredom. Why spend your life working for a retirement in which you work even more when you can enjoy the moment instead?
Enjoy life while investing
Good news, Millennials: You do not have to choose between your present and your future. With some planning, you can fund both. These steps can get you started:
1. Set your goals
Be clear about what you want and when you want it. Firm goals are the foundation to wise financial decisions.
2. Analyze your budget
Many people find budgets too restrictive, but they are actually quite the opposite. Setting a budget is taking control of your money and telling it where to go. Take a look at what you currently spend on unnecessary items, such as fast food. Free up some investment money by cutting out just one of these things each week.
3. Emergency fund
You cannot prevent all emergencies but you can prepare for the cost by building an emergency fund. The rule of thumb is to have three to six months of income stashed away.
4. Pay high-interest debts first
Before you begin investing, pay off any high-interest debts. Doing so will save you a great deal of money in the future. When the debt is paid off, reroute the payment to investments. You will not miss it since it was already going out.
5. Keep investing simple
After you free up some cash, it is time to start investing. If you need help, a financial advisor can help you plot your path. Keep it all as simple as possible, especially in the beginning. Set up automatic contributions from your checks, and do your investing online.
6. Start small and with low risk
Until you have some knowledge and experience, start small with low-risk investments, such as a U.S. Treasury Bond, a 401(k) or an IRA.
7. Invest in your beliefs
It is easier to invest when you believe in something, so find stocks aligned with your ethics and morals. One example might be investing in a sustainable energy project.
When the wisdom of yesteryear meets the wisdom of today, it creates a more balanced way of seeing and doing things. Investing in your future is important, but so is enjoying the fruits of your labor now. Find a middle path to travel for a more fulfilling life.