There has been a lot of discussion lately about millennials and the status of their personal finances. There are concerns that many millennials may never own a home because of poor spending habits, especially those who like artisan coffee and avocado toast more than their savings accounts.
Yes, some elements of their culture do promote frivolous spending, but they are also the first generation to grow up with technology that has revolutionised how people manage their money. They also have the benefit of a knowledge base, built by baby boomers such as Warren Buffet, to build upon.
As technology advances, money management becomes easier and brings with it new opportunities. Millennials are the first generation to have mobile banking apps allowing them to do banking from anywhere 24/7. This time saving allows them to focus on other things, like having a side hustle.
So what are the good, bad and potentially ugly of millennial finances? What can we learn from them and what can they do to help them live better in the years to come?
We’ve formulated a list of 3 millennial dos and don’ts based on their behaviour.
- Have a side hustle. Millennials don’t limit themselves to their corporate 8am – 5pm salary. They have embraced the power of technology and have realised how easy it is to generate an income through additional resources. They temper frustration and pessimism with an entrepreneurial spirit. TIP: Examples of ways to earn money with little effort are Airbnb and apps that let you rent out excess storage.
- Use social media to make empowered financial decisions. Social media is not just frivolous conversations and royal weddings. TIP: Follow leaders within the financial industry. You’ll quickly pick up trends and learn from their expertise.
- Be civic and eco-minded. Millennials are driven by a need to make a difference to society and those around them. This focus on the needs of others drives an entrepreneurial culture – after all, the best companies are client centric. TIP: Read up about entrepreneurial millennials like Brian Chesky, the creator of Airbnb, who wanted to open up travel to all by reducing costs.
- YOLO culture – most millennials live by the belief that ‘you only live once’, which forces them to prioritise short-term gratification over long-term goals. TIP: To curb this urge, make use of a banking app with a budgeting tool that shows how much money is spent on luxury and disposable items each month. You might just find that cutting back on a few flat whites and expensive restaurants could help you get your foot in the property market.
- Avoid financial products that help save for retirement. While it’s easy to get caught up in modern day investment instruments such a cryptocurrencies, it’s important to diversify. TIP: Make sure that you’re saving for your retirement and that you have a mix of both high-risk and more risk-averse investments. Retirement funds that offer stability through investing in unit trusts, are proven to deliver results.
- Allow family members to apply financial pressure. Many young South Africans are the first in their families to have a university degree, opening them up to a world of career opportunities. TIP: While it’s a privilege to be able to give back to your family that have supported your journey, make sure you have a set budget for this. Requests can quickly deplete your budget, leaving you with no money to care for your and your family’s future and needs.