Coach Fin’s 10 Money Tips for Millennials
It’s no secret that as you enter adulthood, it becomes more and more important to get your personal finances in order. Millennials who are now reaching their 30s know this all too well. Buried beneath historically high student loan debt, many of them struggle just to pay the bills, to say nothing of putting something away for the future.
But there are some things even the most cash-strapped Millennials can do to put their current financial house in order, set their money on the right track moving forward and build confidence in a secure future. One of the most important steps is finding an expert to guide you.
Meet Coach Fin at Cinfed Credit Union. She’s faced just about every financial challenge in her own life, from juggling family life and school to getting her first mortgage to planning for retirement. She and her Financial Possibilities Team have the experience and expertise to help anyone understand and solve their own challenges. And she has a few tips for Millennials worried about their present and future.
1.) Keep track of spending—Ever check your bank balance and wonder where all the money went? Time to find out. Closely monitor your expenditures for a month or two and see if you can find the bad habits, forgotten subscriptions and deductions, and maybe a few unnecessary indulgences that can be trimmed to streamline spending.
“It’s not what you make but what you spend.”
2.) Know your worth—The saying goes: “It’s not what you make but what you spend.” But that doesn’t mean you should be content to be underpaid. Ask for a raise. Or better yet, ask your boss for more money when you first start the job. Don’t be afraid to negotiate your starting salary—that base will likely dictate what you make moving forward through your career.
3.) Start thinking (a little) about retirement—You might think this belongs at the end of this list—and that’s part of the problem. It’s literally never too early to start putting away for the future. If you have a 401(k) through work, consider ticking up your per-paycheck contribution, especially if your employer matches up to a certain amount.
4.) Pay down one big debt—Student loan debt hangs heavy over a lot of us, but for the time being, it might be best to focus on one account, say a credit card with its higher interest rate, and pay it off. It’ll be one less thing to worry about.
5.) Set goals for savings—If you’re already squirreling away other parts of your income in the bank, pick the right kind of account so you’re maximizing the interest you earn. Cinfed’s free online education course on savings can help you set realistic savings goals and review the different types of accounts.
6.) Know your credit score—First, get your free annual credit report. Check for errors and report anything that seems amiss. Then monitor your score periodically using the free checks offered by credit card companies or finance websites. Cinfed’s online course on credit scores covers how they’re calculated and how you can protect yours.
7.) Boost your credit score—Once you know your score, you can raise it by paying down credit cards and bumping up your credit limits. And of course, make sure you’re making all your payments on time.
8.) Automate—The best way to ensure you don’t miss a payment is to set up automatic payments through online banking. Credit unions like Cinfed offer comprehensive online options, including a handy app for mobile banking, to help you move and track your money instantly, wherever you are.
9.) Make it a family affair—If you’re married or are in a relationship that pools resources, plan a team approach to your finances. Help each other out and hold each other accountable. And if you have children (or plan to), think ahead to expenses (childcare, school, college) that come with the bundle.
10.) Talk about finances—Discussing money can seem in poor taste or even taboo, but that shouldn’t be the case. We have all faced tough financial decisions and situations at some point in our lives. It helps to talk openly with your friends, coworkers, relatives and bosses about certain aspects of your financial well-being. More importantly, it’s always a good idea to discuss it with an expert, like Coach Fin and her Financial Possibilities Team at Cinfed. From free one-on-one sessions to Skill Sessions hosted by Coach Fin, you have access to honest guidance, helpful support and some of the best listeners in the industry. Just come to any branch or register online at cinfed.com.