The Millenial's Guide to Making Money Moves!
Money for most can be an intimidating topic and for so many of us we can feel powerless over how money continues to dictate how we live our lives. As we consider our health goals, career goals and personal goals, many of us tend to shy away from our financial goals, or we commit to saving random amounts without even thinking about it and how we will achieve this goal. Then when the end of the year comes, we find ourselves in the same position as we did before or worse.
The purpose of this blogpost is to show areas in our lives where our daily habits lead us astray and how we can reel things in to stay on the right path. Ultimately, I want you to feel more conscious around your money and to give you a better sense of control over a tool that should be enhancing you not enslaving you. I've decided to put this guide under three important principles that I believe will bring you a little bit of relief as you make your way to your first paycheck of the year. The key is to pay attention and tailor it to your financial needs.
1) Have a Vision
Like any goal in life, you must have a vision of what it will look like. You cannot expect to feel motivated to work towards a goal if you don't know what your improved life will look like. It's easy to say I want to make "x" amount this year but you need to think about the reason you've decided on this amount and what kind of life does this amount offer you.
- Get creative and start writing down a list of things you want and when you want them. Think about your future life in great detail and realistic timeframes. This is the part where you need to be extremely specific. Don't be shy, this is your life fam! The only thing you should bear in mind while designing the things you want is asking yourself "why?". "Why do I really want a German car?", "Why do I really want a house in Saxonwold?" "Why do I want to fly first class to Abu Dhabi?". With every vision you have in life investigate why this is the vision you are willing to sacrifice everything else for. Be very honest with the motivating factor behind your goals and ask yourself whether those factors are worth the sacrifices that you will need to make to achieve your goals. When you understand the intention behind your goals, the execution becomes easier. So remember, the vision you want for your life should be as intentional as the sun rising from the east every morning.
2) Living within your means
As millennials we are finding it increasingly difficult to live within our means, generations that have come before us have not made owning property any easier (in fact we have a lot more financial setback than generations before us) but we also have the trouble of keeping up with the Joneses a million times more with the impact of social media. We want to be seen and known to be doing well and it adds to the pressure of living way beyond our means. I've seen Chartered Accountants, people who really should know better, purchasing items that they have no business buying all to be seen to be doing better. So how do we break free of living above our means?
- Limit the time you spend on social media. People are making money off your attention span on social media at the expense of your own sanity and money. Think about how many products you see in between the content that you consume on social media and think about how many of them you have in your home. A few months ago, I started to become conscious on how many ads (from companies and influencers) I would come across while scrolling across my favorite platforms and it's astounding how much of a temptation these things have become out of thin air. A year ago, I couldn't tell you what baking was, but now I have translucent powder sitting in my cabinet along with 22 brushes and matte lipsticks to last me a century. I'm not saying you must be anti-consumerism, heck I really love things and expensive things at that, but be aware of how many temptations you expose yourself to when you spend a significant amount of time on social media.
- Relook at all your subscriptions. So many of us have subscribed to things that really don't serve us. If I take a quick look at my deleted emails, I'd say over 60% relate to products or services that I don't need. Anything worth having, you'll go searching for anyways, there's no point keeping these little bits of temptation in your pocket if all they do is making you spend money you could have used elsewhere.
- Consume intelligently! Look at your current expenses and ask yourself where you can whittle down on the expense. The easiest would be cable vs streaming services. Do you still need to have all 400 channels on your television? Consider reducing your current bouquet or cancelling it completely and getting a streaming service. How about your data usage? Do you need to have an expensive on the go mobile data plan or can you spend time on the internet on the home Wi-Fi? There are variety of data plans out there that with a little bit of sacrificing can save you a lot of money over time.
- Ask yourself "how does this installment help me get an income?". We find ourselves tied to installments such as cars or phones without asking how this helps us get an income. If your car helps you to get to work, then in a sense it's getting you an income, but can you get the same income on a smaller vehicle and save towards your financial dream? Most installments have interest, so be wear of buying things that end up making you pay way more than they are worth. Ask yourself the age old "do I need this right now?" and you'll know if you're lying to yourself. It's all in the little choices.
- Cut out the hype men. Yes, cut out the people in your life that are causing you to splurge on unaffordable items. Many of the things we buy are influenced by the people around us, and if you don't pay attention to how your circle is influencing you to spend you could find yourself in a lot of trouble. People have different economic backgrounds and financial lanes, it's your job to know your own and stick within your limits. Don't follow your friend Paul who has designer shoes and buy yourself something that you can't afford when you don't even know who or what is funding Paul's lifestyle. If anyone makes you feel bad about not spending on alcohol, clothing, or weaves, fam it's 2018 cut the cord.
3) Take responsibility over your financial life
We are not in Kansas anymore! You've got to take control and be accountable to yourself. How many famous people have we seen file for bankruptcy, get fined vast amounts, and some get sent to prison because they didn't take responsibility over their finances. Take the time to learn about the financial world around you. There are millions of simplified resources that you can access with your phone to help you gain a better understanding over money and how it works. If you find out you had a chronic illness the first thing you would start doing is educating yourself on the illness, its symptoms, causes and how you can maintain your health. The same principles apply over your chronic spending habits. If you immerse yourself in understanding how your money can work for you, you won't wind up feeling helpless and resorting back to bad spending habits. Now more than any other point in human history you have access to innumerable tools that can help you change your circumstances. Take control over your financial education.
Now that we are done with the nitty gritty I want to leave you with this action item, because there's no point reading without implementing. I want you to take a moment seriously to think about your life and ask yourself "what am I honestly doing differently to change my financial life? Am I really doing my absolute best? Could I do better?". I can give you all the tips and tricks in the world but if you're in that "I've got time, I'll do it later" mindset you'll never achieve anything that's worth having. That procrastination mindset is reactionary, and it doesn't consider- time. Time is the real currency here. How much time do you really have to waste on unnecessary things? Stop delaying your savings, stop putting your body under financial anxiety and stop wasting your time impressing people whose likes won't pay your bills. If you've wasted time, stop wasting more time by beating yourself up on it, learn the lesson, make the U-turn and get back on the right path.
We're millennials, we're smart people, and contrary to widespread belief we work very hard. We see solutions in the problems facing us and we know how to use technology to make money. So, let's do ourselves the service of staying focused and making money moves BIHHHH!