Why Aren’t Millennials Investing?

millennials investing

Why aren’t millennials investing?

Millennials investing seems to be a scarcity in this decade, but it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t. So what’s the problem? Why aren’t we millennials investing more?

I can’t speak for everyone, but I know personally, my top reasons for not investing in earlier years are as follows:

 

  • Lack of funds. When I first graduated college in 2009, I was feeling the recession along with many other freshly graduated college students.
  • Lack of knowledge. I never felt confidently enough to invest. I thought the risk was much too large and that the return would reflect this.
  • Lack of skill. I did not create a steady budget for myself nor did I have any type of savings. My personal finance skills were nonexistent.

Over the years, I’ve educated myself and learned the importance of investing. I’ve also improved my personal finances by taking the time to grow my savings and seek out financial opportunities. But, despite the improvement of the economy over the years, the rate of millennials investing is still low. Why is this?

Various studies show similar reasons as mentioned above as to why the amount of individuals that dedicate time to invest is lower than in previous generations. If parents were not encouraging or enforcing the investing, it seems to have rarely happened on its own. Or rather, it takes longer for it to happen on its own.

We need answers.

While this age group tends to be stereotyped as self-centered and entitled folk who are focused on instant gratification and all things digital, these studies portray a different (and more accurate) light. In addition to simply a lack of investing confidence, Merrill Lynch’s Private Banking and Investment Group’s survey on millennials and money shows that this generation is very careful in making investment choices. They want to be “shown the math.”

We want more control.

Merrill Lynch’s survey also found that trust is a big issue for millennials investing. In fact, 72% of the 153 young Americans surveyed stated that they are “self-directed in their investing.” We’d rather be the ones making the decisions than having an adviser we don’t trust working with our cash. We want to invest with people or resources we personally trust rather than just any certified professional.

We’re more conservative (when it comes to investing).

Millennials, in terms of money, have been compared to post-Great Depression era. We not only watched what happened to our parents in the early 2000’s due to the stock market crash and recession, many of us experienced it ourselves after college. Jobs were harder to come by, and therefore, our focus has shifted. We are just as concerned about our parents and their future as  they are with us. UBS Investment Bank’s 2014 survey confirms this notion. We do our research and are much less willing to take high risks with our money. Although high risk investments do often yield high returns, we are typically holding more than half of our assets in cash, according to the research.

Surprisingly, the results of these surveys show that it is more about being careful and not as much about student debt. We are still feeling the effects of the financial crisis, and this generation needs more education on the topic in order to confidently create a diversified financial portfolio. Millennials tend to have more short-term investments instead of long-term, and we also tend to care more about life experiences than substantial wealth.

The good news is that there are more online tools and resources to help educate and guide millennials on investing. WiseBanyan and Acorns are just a couple of examples of investing sites to get a beginner started. Additionally, if nothing else, young Americans should at least focus on a retirement account as their form of investing, whether it be a workplace 401(k) plan or a Roth IRA.

Knowing the importance of investing is the first step in this process, and it’s one that we need to know we can truly benefit from with the right tools and knowledge.

Are you a millennial who invests? What routes do you take?

 

Money Tips for Millennials

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Millennials and Money

Millennials follow a different path than generations before them, in more ways than one. This group is reaching milestones later in life, such as getting married and starting families, and focusing on life experiences more. We’ve been given all the job advice in the world growing up; the thought that all you need to do is work hard to make it big. However, someone along the way forgot to give more tips on money, especially given the difficulty of finding a job, especially in their field of study, for many millennials.

Although unemployment rates have been decreasing in recent years, millennials still make up roughly 40% of the unemployed in the United States, according to this Newsweek article. This fact can make it difficult for this generation to get ahead, but the good news is there are ways to leverage your finances even if you feel you are working a dead-end job.

Here are four money tips for millennials that I’ve used to help my own finances:

Make saving a social thing. 

I don’t know about you, but I can think of at least five friends off the top of my head who have yet to get that raise at work. While we all love hanging out together, sometimes that involves extra spending that we really should not be doing. But, a way to spend just as much time together without emptying your bank account is to take turns hosting a girls’ night in. Buying some cheap wine and snacks accompanied by some movies and laughter is a great alternative for a night on the town, which can be $81 per night on average.

Also, the crew can ban together to do money-free weekends together. Even if you are not physically hanging out, you can still help to keep one another accountable. Plus, it’s great to have an excuse to bond with friends, especially over common goals.

Create other streams of income. 

If you recognize that you are in a dead-end job, hopefully you are taking steps to get out in order to improve your financial situation. If you are having a difficult time finding a new job (another post for another day), another option would be to create some other sources of revenue as you continue the search.

Seasonal jobs are a great option for millennials as they are often a bit more flexible, but you can also offer to use some skills or talents you currently have to gain some extra income. House cleaning, babysitting and the like are all great ways to make cash fast, but you can also consider freelancing, especially if you want to land that dream job.

Get techy with it. 

Investing seems so unattainable and intimidating before you actually start doing it, not to mention it can also be risky. But, it is a great way to grow your wealth. There are so many online tools you can use now to improve your financial portfolio without the intimidation. These resources cost very little to get started and are great for millennials. The best part is many of them allow you to create your own minimum investment amount, giving you more control over than ever.

Be smart with your options. 

In desperate times, you may be tempted to apply for a payday loan or sign up for another credit card to pay off other expenses; however, by doing so, you are only creating more debt for yourself. These quick options may be easy to get, but they dig your hold even deeper. Don’t get caught up in these fast solutions to solve all your problems; instead develop a strategic and specific plan that will get you out of debt and get you ahead. This plan may include automating a monthly savings amount, consolidating current debt, starting a retirement fund, and cutting back on leisurely spending.

This is another reason why having an emergency savings fund is so important; it will keep you away from wanting to (or needing to) resort to these choices. Avoid accumulating credit card debt and instead work on building your assets and net worth.


 

Millennials definitely have had to face many challenges economically that may not have been expected or predicted by previous generations. By spending some time being careful about your finances, though, you can slowly but surely build a reliable and steady financial future for yourself.

These are just a few ways I’ve focused on improving my finances. What have you done that works for you?

 

 

 

 

What to Look for When Buying Your First Home

First-time home buying is exciting but also stressful.

First-time home buying is exciting but also stressful.

Buying your first home is an exciting new chapter in your life, whether you are tackling it as a bachelor (or bachelorette) or with your soon-to-be wife (or husband).

It can be fun daydreaming about designing your new home, but one of the biggest mistakes you can make is putting the cart before the horse. First-time home buyers have the tendency to house hunt first and prepare later. Avoid this mistake, which can cost you time and money, by following these guidelines before buying your first house:

  • Check your credit report and score. Don’t even bother reviewing all those online listings until you know whether or not your credit can handle buying a home. Even if your credit can handle it, you want to have a strong enough financial background that you will be able to get a lower interest rate on your loan. It is recommended to review this at least six months before the shopping process so that you can spend some time improving it.
  • Know what you need, and prioritize. There is a difference between needs and wants, and when going into a large purchase like this, you may have to make some sacrifices of what you want for what you need. Factors such as the neighborhood, school district and location should all make your checklist. Basing your home buying decision on looks and layout alone may leave you feeling regretful.
  • Know what you can afford. Getting your finances in order and knowing what you can afford each month for your new house will be imperative to avoiding future issues. Often, there are hidden costs that are forgotten once those papers are signed such as taxes, insurance, maintenance and so on. It is safer to over-estimate your monthly payments to ensure you are fully financially prepared. Another good home-buying practice is getting an idea of what your down payment will be. This venture is all about being as prepared as possible for all costs.
  • Get pre-approved. Once you know your credit score, it’s time to see how much you are able to borrow. Sellers want to know this number, and it’s important for you to realize your spending range as well. Getting pre-qualified for a loan will help to save you time and energy as you begin the process.
  • Find the best real estate agent for you. Buying your first home is no joke, so you should spend some time finding the right real estate agent for your needs, budgets and goals. Talk to co-workers, friends and families for referrals to try to find that person you feel like you can already trust. Take some time to shop around for a real estate agent as you shop around for your home. You may want to even look into hiring a realtor to take your search one step further and ensure that credibility.
  • Consider educational seminars or consulting. The best way to make sure you are making a wise home-buying decision is to know your stuff. Research, know what you are signing off to and keep yourself educated on the process. You may want to look into one-day seminars offered by real estate companies or even consulting with a mortgage lender to really grasp what to expect.
  • Get a home inspection. Last but certainly not least, get that home inspected. You definitely do not want to make such a large purchase without knowing what is beneath those walls. Issues within the home can be fixed prior to you taking over, which will be a huge relief off your shoulders. Just be aware of all the additional expenses in maintenance that would become your responsibility upon ownership.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help as you begin the home buying process. The more you understand, the better the chances are that you will set yourself up for financial success with your new home.