The following blog post is part of the The Road to Financial Wellness Blog Tour. #TheRoad is a 15,000+ miles road trip through 50 states. We’ll be hosting and participating in events all across the country: from The Smile Lifestyle Events, financial wellness seminars, book signings and training. We’re going to break the social taboo about money and empower a generation to live their dreams by understanding financial wellness.
When it comes financial wellness, millennials are one of its most important demographics.
Millennials are struggling with student loans, low salaries and higher costs of living. The only way to combat that? Financial wellness.
Financial Wellness Means Doing More
What is financial wellness? For millennials, it means focusing on what you can do, instead of what you can’t. You can choose to pay off your loans early and save for a down payment. You can decide to get a cheaper apartment and use the savings in your 401k. You can decide to get a part-time job or side hustle to help pay your bills.
Having financial wellness means that you’re aware and active when it comes to your finances. It means that you have a budget, you track your expenses and you plan ahead. You can’t bury your head in the sand and expect to be ok. You have to act.
The Road to Financial Wellness
The road to financial wellness for millennials begins with tackling their loans. Most millennials are paying off their student loans. Many also have car payments and credit card debt on top of that. Before you can think about growing your wealth, you have to erase your debt.
At the same time, you have to take advantage of the one thing that millennials have over other generations: time. When you’re young and not making a lot of money, time is the one thing that can surpass even the most meager of salaries.
If you haven’t started, check into your company’s 401k or start an IRA. Even if you can only afford to put in $25 or $50 a month, start there. It might seem silly to put in so little, but the power of compound interest is mighty.
You don’t have to be a financial genius to put away money for retirement. You don’t even need a six-figure salary. All you need is to care about your future enough to do something about it.
Smart Financial Wellness Habits
Another great habit for millennials is learning how to budget. Budgeting is like meal planning - it helps you to eliminate waste, stay healthy and know what’s going on. If you start budgeting while you’re young and have fewer obligations, you’ll find it easier to do when you’ve got a mortgage, spouse and two kids to manage.
The biggest stop on the road to financial wellness for millennials is creating good habits while you’re young and eliminating the bad ones before you get any older. Now’s the time to cut your expenses, figure out what you really want and learn how to live within your means.
If you learn to save while you’re 25, then you won’t have to worry about retirement when you’re 55. If you learn to avoid debt when you’re 30, then you won’t have an underwater mortgage at 60.
Everything you do now - good and bad - will affect how you treat money in your later years. Don’t think just because you’re young that what you do doesn’t matter. Caring about your finances is not something to do when you’re older - it’s something that starts now.
Get the book! You Only Live Once written by the founder of The Road, Jason Vitug.
Jason is a financial motivator, lifestyle expert, speaker and founder at Phroogal, a financial education startup and lifestyle brand. He is the author of, You Only Live Once: The Roadmap to Financial Wellness and a Purposeful Life.