Millennials face challenging financial obstacles, including high student loan debt and difficult entry into an expensive real estate market. But they have one advantage that older generations never have: Time is on their side. If you’re a Millennial consider how, even with other financial obligations, you can find the money needed for long-term financial goals.
We’re not saying this will be easy. A record $1.6 trillion in student debt* confronts today’s Millennials while rising real estate prices make finding an affordable first home difficult. But it’s not impossible to cut out some incidental spending to find perhaps 10% of your income to invest for your future. To find the money, consider cutting larger expenses, shop for a lower mortgage rate or rent, refinance your student loans, pay off high-interest credit cards or keep your car longer.
Next, make that extra 10% part of a disciplined investing strategy. Avoid the temptation to pay your low-interest-rate student debt early, as irritating as these loans may be, and consider making better use of any extra money. Consider investing for long-term goals like retirement, which you can easily do by participating in your company 401(k) plan.
If your employer matches some of your 401(k) plan contributions, take advantage of this benefit many employees don’t have. And then take advantage of one thing only people your age have: lots of time. With time on your side, the money you put away for long-term goals can grow exponentially. To learn how much, check out the compound interest calculator at the Security and Exchange Commission’s website: www.investor.gov.
Here’s one example how your money can grow: Let’s say you earn $5,000 per month. You put 10% of your income, or $500 per month, into your 401(k). Your employer matches 3%, adding another $150 monthly. If this $650 per month earns 6% compounded daily over 40 years, the total contribution of your $240,000 and your employer’s $72,000 would grow to more than $1.3 million.
Understand that time means everything in this example, because investing the same total over a smaller amount of time will not come close to matching the number previously cited. So get started today and put something away for the future.