We've all heard the narrative about Millennials – we're scared to invest, stuff money in our mattresses, and have trust issues. Any time that I've spoken at conferences or with reps from big banks, the questions about gaining millennials' trust and why many of people in this generation haven't fully embraced investing come up.
The answer from me is always the same – the bankers screwed up in 2008ish were generally terrible people, and now are getting a small dose of karma. There's also the whole $30,000+ of student loans on average thing too.
Now, these companies are literally scrambling and trying to figure out how to get on the good side of young people that are about to start making much more money.
“How are small financial startups starting to disrupt our industry?”, “What kind of advertising will work on millennials?”, “What can we do to keep up?”, etc.
They will figure out all of those questions eventually, purely because they have a lot of money to throw at them. That always helps, right?
The reality is that at some point, you have to get serious about investing without being convinced by a brokerage firm
Eventually, you will be done with your student loan debt (hopefully), and will have an income that will allow you to invest more money. You have to start preparing for retirement ASAP, whether you're trying to do it early or the old fashioned way.
Read also: What Would You Do if You Retired Early?
From experience, I can tell you that it's not always easy to make those decisions.
It's something I've actually gone through lately
I feel like this is a little awkward to talk about because I'm a personal finance blogger, but in the interest of transparency – I've spent the last two years being more timid than I should about investing for the future.
When I quit my job to do this, it was by far the most risk I had ever taken in my life. It really forced me into a little bit of a shell, because I didn't want to risk any more of the money I had saved up before taking the leap.
My biggest fear was that I'd flop and totally let my wife down, who put a crazy amount of trust in me through this process of building a business.
There was something about knowing I had a way bigger than needed emergency fund that actually helped me sleep better at night, so other than maxing out IRA's and investing my teaching retirement lump sum (which I cashed out as soon as I could)…I haven't done nearly as much as I could afford to.
I used the fact that my income was rapidly increasing with my business to justify my reluctance to take on more risk through trying out different investment strategies.
After two years of running my business (which is a pretty big benchmark for self-employed types), that is going to change. It has to for a lot of reasons, but mainly it's because I'm at a point where I know I can make money on my own without having to fall back on piles of cash.
A lot of you have straight up asked me for more content about investing, because you're probably at the same crossroad I'm sitting at.
I'm not going to stop writing about debt, making money online, or even trying to keep people motivated to make their lives better. You'll just see more from me on different types of investing as I do them, because honestly that's the easiest way for me to write about anything.
You have to create a retirement plan now…
For me, that's going to look like drastically decreasing my cash reserves and re-learning how to sleep at night. I want to create more income streams, diversify my investments and be more aggressive towards growth, in addition to continually investing more money back into my business.
It might look different for you, but at the end of the day, all millennials that have the means (or will in the coming years) have to take advantage of the number one asset: time.
Even the oldest grandpa 35 year old millennials are still very young people and can make some pretty incredible things happen with compounding interest. 🙂
Pick something you enjoy
I've spent a lot of time talking to readers, and a pretty simple concept comes through almost every time a discussion about different investment vehicles comes up. You can get so wrapped up in “do this, do that, mutual funds, ETFs, rental properties, etc. etc. etc.”
As much as “gurus” want to tell you the best way to make money (for a price), the reality is that there are a lot of ways to build wealth…you just have to commit to learning as much as you can and then go after it. If it works…good. If it doesn't, regroup and try again.
Just like I mentioned in a recent budgeting post, the most important thing is choosing a strategy that you'll be 100% engaged with and jump in. If it's dollar cost averaging, cool. If you want to flip a house, cool. You'll learn more about it as you go, and over time your strategy will evolve as your skill set does.
As always, I'll let you know how it goes.