The Best Advice I Have to Give for Millennials

The Best Advice I Have to Give for Millennials

Man staring at stars

In almost every interview I’ve done over the past two years, it always comes down to the same question: “What advice do you have for people out there trying to get ahead with their finances and life“?

I really used to struggle with it, because personal finance can be so complex. Everyone wants the silver bullet to debt. They want surefire retirement strategies (insert Roth vs. Traditional IRA argument here). People even want to know the exact car models and year I suggest when looking at older cars to buy.

I get it though. When I started sharing my student loan payoff story, I put myself out there. When others see a young person that has paid off their debt early and then created a viable business in a very short time from their computer – they want answers and strategies.

Here’s the best advice I have to give:

Stop giving a crap what your peers think. Let them pass you up and be OK with it.

Let them buy the new cars while you drive the old one. Let them buy the house they can’t actually afford while you lay low and *gasp* rent. Let them go on the cool vacations while you stay put and hustle.

If you don’t actively do anything to “catch up” with them, you’ll be shocked how quickly your bank accounts do it for you. I’ve been really happy lately to see a lot of emails and comments from readers along the lines of: “Thank you for making me feel like I’m normal for living below my means.

That’s the goal. You SHOULD feel normal for being painfully aware of your money and its’ ability to change your life.

This advice goes FAR beyond money

While obviously this is a personal finance site, I think so much more of the message here is for people that want to live a life they truly want instead of the life their peers THINK they should have. Money just happens to be one of the major keys to it.

When I quit my job to run M$M, people thought I was crazy. One of my colleagues actually said that I would come crawling back to band directing when I realized there was no money in this. If I did crawl back at this point, it would take a while because I’d be carrying the significant weight of twice my old income.

The reason I think I’ve been successful on my own so far is because I have done things my way and kept perspective on what is truly important. I have a vision and and strong opinions about money, and I don’t shy away from them so that people around me can feel comfortably non-offended.

If someone hates what I have to say, they should absolutely use the red button in the top corner of their browser and not look back.

It’s important to remember that you only live once

If you have something you want to do in your life, you need to do it. Personal finance goals, relationships, business dreams – all of them are valid.

Whatever your religious beliefs may or may not be, the reality is that our time here is finite. It’s so easy to forget that in the day-to-day grind, but I try to keep it with me all the time.

A lot of you already know the story I shared about my father-in-law passing away earlier this year. I won’t completely rehash it, but I will say that seeing him go from healthy to disabled in a short time completely changed my outlook on life.

I’m not going to sit around and ponder and wait to make my life the way I want it. I’m not going to let people around me influence my financial decisions. I’m going to aggressively pursue the things I want in life because someday, I may be in the same situation that my father-in-law was.

That’s the reality – and accepting it has given me the clarity and focus to get ahead with money and life.

This is what you need to do right now:

If you’re in a poor financial situation or not happy with your life – start evaluating and get ready to change. If your friends are losers, find successful ones. Whatever unpopular choice you would have avoided in the past – do it. Live with your parents. Drive that piece of crap car into the ground. Go to community college first or pursue learning a trade.

Stop giving a crap what your peers think. Let them pass you up and be OK with it.

Question for you:

What are you trying to achieve in the next 12 months?


Live differently. Your bank accounts will thank me later. ~M$M

Don't miss another M$M post.

Sign up for the M$M newsletter to get new posts sent directly to your inbox when they go up on the site. As a bonus - I'll send you reviews of my favorite free personal finance tools and ways to make extra money with a side hustle!

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

14 comments… add one
  • Carly Nov 7, 2016, 8:16 am

    Goals for the new year: get our retirement savings up to 15% (just started contributing in June @ age 25, am at 7.5%), pay cash for a new used car (still driving my first car, 10 years and 200k miles later) and learn to play piano.

  • Fi Nov 7, 2016, 9:19 am

    This is really just terrific advice that can lead anyone to succeed when it comes to money (and really anything). To make it big, you really just have to be weird. And being weird means not giving a hoot about what others think! Debt, low savings, doing nothing with your money. These are all normal things! Other people might look more baller than I do, but I’m okay with that.

  • Mrs. Picky Pincher Nov 7, 2016, 9:41 am

    Ahhh. It’s hard to get a “checklist” for achieving FI, but people always want one!

    I love this advice. At the end of the day, the best way to get out of debt and become independent is to do your own thing. It’s more about changing your mentality and approach to money than stacking cash in an IRA (although that is very important!).

    Personally I’ve been feeling pretty down about work lately. Within the next 12 months it would be an absolute dream to work on my blog full time, since that’s what I really love. I’m sure your coworkers thought you were crazy, but man, if you’re doing what you love, who really cares?

    • Millennial Money Man Nov 7, 2016, 9:58 am

      I won’t lie – I really love what I’m doing now regardless of money. Just let me know if you get really serious about blogging for a living so we can talk about it!

  • Rach Nov 7, 2016, 11:44 am

    I love this post, it’s timely for me. I started my debt free journey January this year and hope to be debt free in the next 12 months or so. I started with $67,000 in debt and I am down to $37,000. The remainder is in my monster student loan. I’m also at a crossing road in my life where I think I need to break up with my boyfriend of 2 years. I am a firm believer in living in the moment and when I look back and see the disappointment I have felt in our relationship over the last 2 years I think it’s time for a change. Although I love him, he doesn’t love me and I love myself enough to know that’s not going to work long term and I’d rather be alone and happy than together and sad. Thanks for your post!

    • Millennial Money Man Nov 7, 2016, 1:35 pm

      Wow Rach – I’ve got to say that you’re the first person that is breaking up with someone because of one of my posts (that I know of)! If it’s the right decision though…it sounds like you should do it.

      Congrats on getting your debt down so much!

  • Alex P. Nov 7, 2016, 2:00 pm

    I would add one thing to this – to make a plan for what you want, how you will do it, AND STICK TO THE PLAN. A huge thing about sticking to the plan is fighting the urge to “keep up with the (broke) Joneses” and pass up a “really good” deal. So stick to the plan, especially if it includes a lot of advice and thoughts that the rational and reasonable version of your self came up with. You will thank you later!

  • Ms. Montana Nov 7, 2016, 5:08 pm

    When we were in our early 20’s and finally paid off our 50k of debt, people teased us all the time. About not eating out, about driving an older car, about camping vacations. Until the hubby just started telling people that we went from 50k in debt to 100k net worth. Then they wanted to know how to do it. Sometimes the proof is in the pudding.

  • Christa Szabo Nov 7, 2016, 5:36 pm

    Great advice!! I wish I took it to heart years ago lol. But sometimes you have to cross certain life thresholds before you’re really able to take that kind of advice to heart. I’m very excited though, next Friday I should be able to pay off one of my credit cards!! Once I do that, it’s game on with my debt!! I’m also saving up for stock market classes to try to make my traveling money that way so once I pay off all of my debt, I can travel wherever and whenever I please!

    • Millennial Money Man Nov 7, 2016, 10:12 pm

      Congrats on paying off the credit card debt! Can’t wait till you knock out the rest 🙂

Leave a Comment