Gen Y Planning was founded with the intention of helping Millennials with their financial planning needs in order to empower my generation. Part of that mission is spreading advice, information, and knowledge about better money management skills for Gen Y far and wide.
The segments I did with my local news network, Fox 9 News, helped me do just that. Of course, it was super fun to be on TV too — especially for someone who has a degree in theatre! — but it was also exciting to be on that new platform with the opportunity to encourage smart financial habits for Gen Y.
Gen Y Money 101
My first ever TV appearance as an expert financial advisor for Gen Y came back in March. While I was there, I talked about some basic actions people in their 20s and 30s could do right now to improve their finances and get on track with big financial goals.
I also touched on why I started Gen Y Planning. Again, I wanted to empower my generation so they’d feel confident about what they could do with their money — especially because so many other financial advisors weren’t helping Gen Y.
Here’s a quick summary of the tips my first video clip covered:
- Cut back on spending: Make sure you’re not overspending with things like dining, travel, and shopping (definitely still have fun, but keep it reasonable).
- Tackle student loans: Get rid of your private loans first! Then search for applicable programs to help you with your federal loans.
- Start thinking about retirement (yes, now!): Utilize your 401(k) plan if you have it.
Preparing Millennials for Owning a Home
The second time I was invited on the news to share my money advice for Millennials, we tackled an even bigger topic: home ownership. This was a chance for me to really underline how there aren’t many blanket solutions when it comes to Millennials and their money. It’s called personal finance for a reason!
Buying a home isn’t right for everyone; it’s a big decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. While you may feel some pressure to jump into home ownership if that’s what the rest of your friends and members of your circles are doing right now, you need to think about a few things before you take on a mortgage.
In the video, I provided a sort of checklist for Gen Y — be sure you can cross everything off the list before considering buying a home:
- Have an emergency fund. Expected expenses pop up for everyone, but your likelihood of incurring unforeseen costs goes way up when you’re responsible for maintaining and repairing a home.
- Have a down payment — and savings left over. Don’t completely deplete your cash savings to get into a home.
- Be on track for other big financial and life goals. Do you already contribute to retirement savings? Could you continue to do so if you had to account for a mortgage payment in your budget as well?
- Eliminate other debt. A mortgage is sometimes considered “good” debt. But it’s still money you have to repay with interest. Don’t get bogged down with this payment on top of other high-interest debts like student loans.
Discussing Financial Literacy
I did my third news segment in April, right in the middle of Financial Literacy Month. I took the opportunity to discuss how Gen Y can get back on track with our money.
This was a really important conversation, because as the clip points out, about 40% of Americans don’t keep a budget — and from my experience, many of us have no idea where our money goes each month. We need to be proactive about tracking our spending, understanding what we’re saving (and why), and maintaining a monthly budget to keep our finances organized so we can meet our financial goals.
Thankfully, most members of Gen Y want to talk about their money. We watched out families struggle with the recent recession and we want to ramp up financial education opportunities and programs so that we can do our best to avoid this kind of trouble with our own finances in the future.
Tools like Mint.com and YouNeedABudget.com can help you if you’re wanting to revamp your finances and build better money management habits. Or, you can always use your own online banking portal to make regular check-ins with your money to make sure everything is on track.
And don’t forget — make sure you’re taking advantage of retirement accounts that come complete with a company match! I mentioned this in two clips because it’s that important. Contribute at least enough to get the match; it’s like free money.
Emergency savings are crucial, too. If it’s difficult to save up big chunks of cash at a time, that’s okay: the good news is that you don’t have to. Start small and make baby steps of progress. Every little bit helps and you’ll eventually reach your savings fund goals.