JUNE 2020 — When I tell others that I’m a financial advisor, one of the most common reactions is: “Oh, all that money and investing stuff is so abstract to me.” And I see where they’re coming from. More and more of us get paid, pay bills, and save for retirement electronically, and it happens on an automatic schedule. But our digital world can make it harder for us to feel connected to our finances. It doesn’t help that money remains a taboo subject among coworkers, friends, family, and sometimes even between spouses.
Numerous studies show that most Millennials cannot pass a basic personal finance quiz. But getting a handle on the basics and tackling our finances head-on is crucial in this phase of “major life events” such as marriage, starting a family, or buying a home.
Boosting your financial literacy may sound overwhelming and confusing. When I was studying to be licensed as an advisor, I experienced both these feelings at some point. But there are so many positives that come with learning the basic principles and all the time you put in could pay off, literally.
Need more convincing to get started?
Your financial situation may be more complex than you think. Spend an hour taking your own “financial inventory.” What are the terms and limits on your credit cards? How much do you still owe on student loans? What’s the interest rate on your mortgage? Ask yourself if you really understand all the financial tools in your toolbox and if you’re using them effectively.
When it comes to saving for retirement, Millennials will need to be more self-reliant than older generations. Your parents or grandparents may be able to rely on fixed pension income in retirement, but companies guaranteeing pensions to new employees have become uncommon. Instead, your employer may sponsor a retirement plan such as a 401(k), which is a great benefit, but it relies on you to determine how much to save and how that savings should be invested.
Starting to invest early pays off – by a lot. Assuming your investments earn an 8% annual return, if you start saving $250 a month when you’re 25, you’ll have over $875,000 by age 65. If you start at age 35, you’ll have about $375,000.* Yes… a half million dollars. You don’t need to be an expert to start investing, but you should have a base-level understanding of the stock market and the relationship between risk and reward.
There are so many resources today devoted to financial topics, and they’re available in many different formats. Do podcasts fit your learning style best? Pick a well-reviewed series and listen to an episode a week. (Maybe while on the treadmill? We Millennials love to multitask.) Before you know it, you’ll be empowered with tons of new knowledge and feeling much more in control of your finances.
Katie Brann is a financial advisor at Golden Pond Wealth Management in Waterville. She is a registered representative with, and securities and advisory services are offered through LPL Financial, a registered investment advisor. KV Connect, Golden Pond Wealth Management, and LPL Financial are separate entities.
*The example presented is hypothetical and is not representative of any specific situation. Your results will vary. The hypothetical rates of return used do not reflect the deduction of fees and charges inherent to investing.