A Savings Strategy for Millennials and Other Generations
It seems like everyone describes the millennial generation as if each member is exactly the same – a caricature of itself:
- Millennial’s don’t trust companies.
- Millennial’s spend all day on social media.
- Millennial’s are underemployed.
- Millennial’s are burdened with debt.
With this group of young people being just as diverse as the generations of young people who were labeled before them (think Baby Boomers, Hippies, Yuppies and Gen Xers), could these descriptions really be accurate for every person age 18 to 34? Of course not.
At Least One Thing in Common
Still, there is at least one trait the majority of millennial’s have in common: The need to save money for the future.
Consider all the common life events for a typical 18 to 34 year old. There could be cars, home down payments, marriages, and children – just to get the list started.
And no matter your age, the one thing you can probably count on is that your income won’t always be enough to cover everything you need right when you need it. As a result, you need to save money today so it’s available down the road.
A Simple Formula for Saving
So how do you put money aside, especially if your finances are already stretched pretty thin? Here’s a simple rule: Save before you spend.
Taxes come right off the top of your paycheck and so should savings. Think of it this way. You don’t build your lifestyle around your gross pay. You build it around your take-home pay, right? So if you want to increase your chances of saving money, treat saving like taxes and take it right off the top.
Set up a direct deposit or allotment so that 10 to 15% of your gross pay (the amount you make before any taxes are deducted) is put into separate savings, investment or retirement accounts — before you even see the money. This is one of the big reasons it’s a great idea to participate in an employer-provided savings plan like the TSP or a 401(k) — they make saving money automatic.
Will saving up front guarantee financial success? Unfortunately, not. But it will probably work better than trying to save what’s left after you’ve funded your lifestyle.
And saving money is a good idea regardless of which generation you were born into.