One of America’s most financially uneducated groups, millennials are finding themselves trapped in a cultural Catch-22; though only 19 states require high school students to take a course on personal finances, millennials are being continually encouraged to rack up loans for college that they do not fully understand with the promise of later education and a high-paying career. Unfortunately, Freedom Debt Reliefhas found that the opposite is often true- trapped in a workforce that’s bloated with talent, millennials are finding themselves under-employed and saddled with high-interest loans. The good news is that Freedom Debt Reliefis here to help! If you’re a millennial who never quite got the hang of personal finance education, read on to learn a few quick and simple tips that will start you on the road to a better financial future.
Be smart when choosing a credit card. One of the most important things that you can do to help protect your credit profile is to be very picky about which cards you choose to sign up for. Think about it- you wouldn’t loan money to every single one of your friends, right? So why should you trust just any credit card to hold your day-to-day expenses? You should have a list of non-negotiable attributes to consider when thinking about signing up for any card. First, you should only look for cards with no annual fees- these types of credit cards are usually only good for business travelers or those who regularly charge corporate expenses. Then, look for other bonuses offered by cards you’re considering and choose which benefits work best for you- from flight miles to cash-back, there are almost an endless number of ways that credit card companies are trying to win your business.
The most important tip when choosing a card? Avoid in-store credit cards like the plague. Sure, the immediate discount might be tempting at the register, but Freedom Debt Reliefhas found that these types of cards often carry obscenely high interest payments should you miss a payment.
Look at your finances regularly- even if you don’t want to. When you know that you don’t have more than a few dollars in the bank or you’ve got a massive bill coming in, it can be tempting to ignore your accounts and neglect your finances. However, this is just delaying the inevitable- you’ll have to check on your account balances and outstanding payments at some point, and you’ll likely be in worse shape than you would have been originally if you’d kept on track of everything in the first place. Freedom Debt Reliefrecommends just biting the bullet and setting a non-negotiable schedule to take stock of your finances- even if it scares you.
Take stock of your budget and look for ways to cut. If you want to start building a savings account and paying down debt, you’ll have to start cutting back on your expenses until you’re running enough of a deficit to begin making significant payments or building an emergency fund. Open up the last three months of expenses and look for luxuries that you can do without. For example, switching from cable TV to streaming-only platforms like Netflix and Hulu can save you over $100 a month, and packing your lunch just four times a week can save an average of $50 a week- all of this money can go towards more important, long-term financial goals.
Automatically contribute to a retirement fund. If your employer offers retirement account plans like a 401K, set up automatic payments to immediately be withdrawn from your check. This will allow you to resist the temptation to skip a payment, and will end up saving you money in the long-term, as most places of employment offer contribution-match programs that can be up to 3% of your total annual salary.
Even if you got off to a rough start, you and still work your way up to a healthier financial future- and Freedom Debt Reliefis here to help! Remember that financial advisers aren’t just for the independently wealthy- they can help you set up a budget and make a plan to start saving for your future. By building a budget, cutting unnecessary expenses, and choosing smarter credit cards, millennials can be well on their way to being debt-free in the near future!