Financial Considerations for Millennials
- By Susan Johnston
- February, 2013
- published in: Personal Finance
From finding a job in today’s tough economy and creating a budget to purchasing insurance and even potentially adjusting to a new city, Millennials face personal, professional and financial challenges. The following is a look at those challenges as well as strategies for handling them.
1. Finding a job. With high unemployment and more seasoned workers competing for each available job, twenty-somethings need to be strategic in their job search. Kristen Fischer, author of Ramen Noodles, Rent and Resumes: An After-College Guide to Life, suggests “being proactive instead of just responding to job ads.” Instead of applying blindly to job openings, Fischer recommends targeting specific companies where you’d like to work, researching them fully and contacting them whether there’s a job posted or not.
2. Adjusting to a new city. Unlike college, where you’re surrounded by clubs to join and classmates your own age, the post-college world can be more challenging socially. However, Fischer says, “meeting people is going to give you a lot of comfort. Make friends and develop a network based on your interests.” You may not have a campus social calendar anymore, but with a little effort, you can find volunteer opportunities, book clubs, or office softball teams to suit your interests outside of work.
3. Renting an apartment. For many young adults, rent is the biggest monthly expense, so choose carefully. In addition, you’ll also need to pay for utilities, unless those are included, as well as day-to-day living expenses like groceries and transportation. Fischer suggests considering a roommate to help cut costs.
4. Creating a budget. A 2011 survey by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling found that Gen Y adults are more likely than their older counterparts to admit that they do not have a budget. However, Ornella Grosz, author of Moneylicious: A Financial Clue for Generation Y, says the post-college years are a good time to start budgeting. Start by tracking your spending to identify your good and bad habits. Once you know how much you’re spending, set aside money automatically for savings each month, even if it’s a small amount at first. “You can always increase the savings,” says Grosz. “The point is just to establish the healthy financial behaviors.”
5. Protecting your paycheck. You may think you don’t need insurance because you’re young and healthy but it’s important to consider disability income insurance. The coverage protects your ability to earn an income if an illness or injury prevents you from working for a prolonged period of time. Coverage is sometimes offered by your employer. However, if you switch jobs, you can lose coverage, and premiums typically increase as you age, so you may want to consider purchasing coverage outside of work and lock in lower premiums at an earlier age.
6. Saving for retirement. Retirement may seem like a long ways off, but contributing a percentage from each paycheck to an employer-sponsored retirement plan such as a 401(k) is a smart way to take advantage of compound interest and tax deferrals. If you don’t have a 401(k) through an employer (or if you’re already maxing out your 401(k)), consider using an individual retirement account (IRA).
What suggestions do you have for Millennials?
About the author
Susan Johnston is a Boston-based writer who covers personal finance and small business. Her articles have appeared in or on Bankrate.com, The Boston Globe, Dance Retailer News, Mint.com, PARADE Magazine, US News & World Report, and other places.
The content on this web page has not been previously published and is sponsored by MassMutual.
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