It seems like everybody’s ready to tell millennials what they’re doing wrong. Google “top millennial money mistakes” and you’ll get dozens of hits of articles critiquing their financial habits. But like it or not, there are some common mistakes that many young adults tend to make. We assembled the highlights – or should we say lowlights? -- all in one place, so you don’t have to.
Mistake #1 Being too optimistic -- Bankrate.com
After scrimping through college, many young professionals are eager to enjoy nice stuff, like a new car or a nice apartment. But spending beyond your means only sets you up for debt down the road. Alan Moore, a CFP professional and founder of Serenity Financial Consulting in Bozeman, Montana, faults millennials who expect to enjoy the same lifestyle they had growing up. "We tend to forget that it took our parents 20 years to build up to the point that they had that lifestyle,” he told Bankrate.com.
Mistake #2 Leaving free money on the table — CNBC
That’s exactly what you’re doing if your employer offers a 401K contribution match and you’re not taking full advantage. Say you earn $60,000 and your employer offers a 6 percent match. If you’re only deferring 3 percent of your income, you’re passing up $1,800 in “free” money.
Mistake #3 Living with debt too long – DollarDiligence.com
Dave Ramsey calls it the “stupid tax” – paying too much interest because you’re only making the minimum payments on credit card debt or student loans. True, it’s not easy to pay off those debts quickly. But you’ll find plenty of testimonials online from people who’ve made a concerted effort and paid off debts – even massive ones – once and for all. Read and learn.
Mistake #4 No emergency savings account – The Penny Hoarder
One 2016 survey of millennials showed that 62 percent had less than $1,000 in savings. If a rainy day comes along – a big car repair, or a job loss – they’ll be in trouble. Open a separate account for your emergency fund, and aim to accumulate at least $1,000.
Mistake #5 Thirteen dollar brunch mimosas – Shopify.com
Whatever your favorite cocktail, too much money spent on non-essentials like eating out, travel or shopping can bust your budget. “Put these superfluous expenses on ice,” Shopify advises. “Reel back on costs that stem from brunches, bar hops, coffee runs and shopping sprees.” Let your friends Instagram those sexy Hibiscus Mimosas and pay for them later. Your bank account will thank you.