Ouch. Pretty rough, right? As Millennials are starting to get older (30 seems horrifically closer and closer for me), there are a lot of numbers and money studies starting to swirl around out there. I can tell you from personal experience talking to large financial companies last year – they are a little scared.
The reason is really pretty simple: as a generation we are starting to mature in the job force, and these companies want our money as we make it. The problem is…a lot of us are struggling to save any. It's hard for banks and brokerages to make money with our money if it's not there.
GoBankingRates.com came out with a study recently that had some pretty interesting statistics about Millennials and the amount that we're saving. If you're still looking for a New Year's resolution or already gave up on your new diet, you may want to consider building up your emergency savings account!
Let's take a look at the numbers:
Obviously the only thing that I'm focusing on from the survey are the top two bars of the graph above. We don't really care about the old people and semi-old people around here (just kidding…I like to mess with my Boomer and Gen-X readers sometimes haha :))! Take a look at the breakdown below if you hate looking at graphs:
For Millennials from 18-24 (young whippersnappers):
- 31% have $0 in savings
- 41% have less than $1,000
- 15% have $1,000-$4,999
- 4% have $5,000-$9,999
- 8% have $10,000 or more
For Millennials from 25-34 (sage elders):
- 33% have $0 in savings
- 34% have less than $1,000
- 13% have $1,000-$4,999
- 5% have $5,000-$9,999
- 15% have $10,000 or more
Now to be completely fair, I'm not sure how realistic it is for the vast majority of the younger group of Millennials to actually have healthy savings accounts. Especially for college students…we all remember how lean those times were.
But if you're an older Millennial, you should absolutely be working towards creating a good emergency savings fund. Not only does it make you sleep better at night, but it will keep you from having to bust out the credit card in rough times.
Here are some things you can focus on to save more money in 2017:
Evaluate your living situation
I'm honestly not here to judge how everyone chooses to live. I've talked to too many people over the last two years that have such wildly different financial and living situations. I've been very open about living with my wife's parents for a few years after college, but obviously not everyone wants to or can do something like that.
But I will ask that you take a look at your living situation and consider if you actually need the level of comfort that you want. I think so many Millennials are in a rush to have the finer things in life right now, when they don't realize that there is value in having less space or comfort and delaying their gratification.
I appreciate everything I have so much more now after living well below my means after college. It also helped me save a ton of money. Just food for thought if you're considering a super nice apartment or the nicest house you can afford.
Check your food spending
There are a ton of different studies out there about food spending, and they all point to a few main things: we eat out too much and waste too much food.
I did an interview with Alexandra Talty from Forbes earlier in the year (you can see the article here), and she put together a great story about Millennials and food costs!
This one can honestly be pretty simple. You don't have to completely eliminate going out to eat from your life, but instead limit it to a number per month that you feel comfortable with. You can also use food delivery services like Blue Apron, which are generally cheaper than eating at a restaurant.
Start your side hustle
You didn't think I would have a money saving post without a side hustle plug, did you? 🙂
Seriously though, if you are having trouble finding extra money to put away every month, start doing something extra on the side! Fully understanding the internet gives Millennials a unique advantage of being able to create small businesses for minimal start-up costs.
Building a successful side hustle doesn't have to take every hour of your free time, but you will have to stay up a little later and work on the weekends. In my opinion, that's a small price to pay for having another way to make money.
Use free money tools
If you aren't using either Mint or Personal Capital (or both), you really should be. At LEAST check them out and give them a try. Mint is a pretty remarkable budgeting tool for seeing exactly where your money goes every month.
Personal Capital is a great tool you can use to view and track your net worth, and also has budgeting and spending alert tools.
Both of them are freaking free. Just use them.