The following is a Guest Post by Susan Ranford
Millennials, more than any other generation, find it hard to save money. A survey by Bank of America found that only 16% of millennials have money saved for retirement. And no, it’s not because they’re lazy or entitled; it’s a combination of many different factors.
This generation is facing a unique set of challenges that their parents or grandparents didn’t have in their time. In this article, we’ll take a look at what these challenges are.
1. Millennials Have High Student Loan Debts
Student loans are the most common reasons why millennials have difficulty saving. They are the most highly educated generation (in the USA) but this accomplishment doesn’t come for free.
Once they’re out of college, they have to deal with an average student loan debt of $30,000. Why so high? Well, the price of higher education is getting more expensive, having tripled in the last four decades.
2. Wages Have Remained Stagnant
The price of education and other goods may have increased dramatically but wages remain almost the same. In the last three decades alone, hourly wages have only gone up by 9%. This great disparity makes it hard to set aside money for that much-needed emergency fund.
Also, a high-earning degree does not guarantee a well-paying job. Most of the time, millennials have to settle at the first good job they find in order to pay the bills.
3. Retirement Plans Are Slowly Disappearing
Older generations enjoyed robust pension plans from their employers. Nowadays, it’s becoming harder for a millennial to access such due to the changing nature of employment. Gig economies are more common and millennials are less likely to stay in the same job for decades as their grandparents did. This gives companies less incentive to provide retirement plans.
Back then, employer-sponsored retirement plans meant you had to save money for retirement since it’s all done by the company for you. The absence of such a system makes it a challenge for millennials to do the same.
4. Millennials Easily Fall For Vices
Millennials like their coffee and take out. In fact, the rate of digital ordering has increased over the years with most preferring to have their meals in restaurants or delivered to their door. Digital ordering apps such as Seamless and GrubHub make it easy to get the food you want anytime, anywhere. These habitual expenses can quickly add up and wreak havoc on one’s finances.
In addition, there’s online shopping which makes it easy to buy any item you desire. You can barely feel the tinge of guilt since all it takes is one swipe of a card.
5. Lack Of Financial Literacy
Millennials were not taught to manage their money effectively. They take everything at face value and don’t bother to renegotiate terms on their loans or find ways to refinance. They also have no idea how to accumulate wealth and instead, spend their money on tangible things they can get today. Simply put, millennials find it hard to imagine owning money they can’t touch for decades.
6. It’s A Choice
Some millennials consciously choose not to save. They believe that life is anything but linear and therefore do not conform to a specific timeline. Instead, they make financial decisions based on major life events whether it’s buying a house, starting a family, or building a business.
Speaking of business, most millennials who are entrepreneurs prefer to throw their money into their business instead of the bank. Having lived through an unstable economy, they’re hesitant to put their money in the system knowing that what happened to their parents could happen to them too.
These are the challenges millennials face when it comes to saving. However, all hope is not lost. With the right financial education and discipline, it is possible for millennials to save money in the long term whether it’s for buying a house, building an emergency fund, or investing in a retirement portfolio.