I came across an article in the Huffington post that stated that 64% of millennials are stressed financially due to pressures from the volatile stock market and struggle with the cost of living. 79% of those polled had an enormous amount of student loans further making it difficult for them to meet their financial goals. I mean- that's insane!
As I read this article it really got me thinking- it's true how we stress over our finances. I used to live my life to just get by each day. I had this routine that every time I got my paycheck I would check my bank account to see the full amount and then I would create a list of all my expenses and once I figured out what I would have left over it would be to for me to choose to either spend for myself, put it away into savings or contribute to my retirement. Honestly, the majority of the time I would spend instead of save and even if I did put it away to save, deep down I knew I would end up spending it one way or another. So I came to a realization that this was just not working for me, I had to make some changes.
We stress so much over money (or not having any) because we all have these crazy expenses and then we stress over how we will survive in the future- will we have enough money to continue to live after retirement? Will we have enough money if an emergency came along? Will we have enough if we decide we want to take a vacation or buy a house? Well no, not at the rate we are going we won't. I knew I didn't want to stress over this anymore so what I realized was that I MATTER! I COME FIRST! What I began doing was every time I got my paycheck, I would take out $50 and put that into my savings account instantly. When opening the savings I had my mom come with me so she was on the account as well and made a restriction that I could not withdraw any money without her signing the withdrawal slip, and then after I paid myself first did that I ld pay my expenses. The Wall Street Journal reported that millennial's had an average savings rate of negative 2%, which is ridiculous, this needs to change. The lesson here is "SAVE BEFORE YOU SPEND."
I was spending so much money on groceries for just 2 people. I am a huge foodie and I would constantly be making a new dish every night that had every ingredient possible... it wasn't cheap. It came to be too much for me so I cut back. I started to improvise more making dishes less extravagant, quicker, and what's better than that is I began collecting coupons and only buying what I absolutely needed with the discounts by using the coupons- it's amazing the amount of money you can save by using coupons. Another thing I changed was Starbucks coffee. I was spending $5 bucks a day on coffee, I mean I was spending $25 dollars a week, $300 dollars a year. WHAT??? You can cut back way more than you think- coffee at home is just as good and it's far cheaper! There are tons of things you can cut out, it's just up to you to take the first step and make some sacrifices.
There are so many options out there to save for retirement and stressing over it is not doing any good. Most of us work for companies that offer retirement plans which is great. You have a start there but we can make it grow by contributing to it ourselves as well. If you speak to your employer, they can set up an automatic deduction from your paycheck to go directly into your retirement account, however much you want up to the legal limitations. This way you when you get your paycheck it's already saved and you can't spend it on useless stuff until you are 59 1/2. A simple thing like that makes a huge difference, trust me.
It baffles me that millennials are known as the generation for growing up with technology, constantly being on our phone utilizing social media, fitness apps, Pokémon Go, googling everything and anything possible. There are a ton of app's out there and free ones at that to help you save, budget, and invest- not to mention coming into our office for professional advice. DIGIT is a great one for saving. It's linked to your bank account, analyzes your spending and then it automatically takes out money that you do not need and saves it for you. MINT is great app for budgeting yourself. If we are taking up all this time to take selfies and post everything on social media and playing these ridiculous games then I'm sure you can find some time to check out some of these apps- do your research see what will work for you and start saving one way or another.
So here it; is we complain so much about having all this financial stress but we can fix that by making some small changes that make a huge difference. Set some goals for yourself. Some of mine are wanting to buy a house, go on a tropical vacation, living comfortably when I retire, and paying off my debt. Create different types of money funds and put away that $5 you spend for coffee. I know at the moment it doesn't seem like a lot but give it time, it goes by fast. You will feel so proud of yourself- better yet you will feel financial security and sure enough the stress will just fade away.