3 Steps to Financial Independence for Millennials

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The millennial generation is entering a job market and economy that comes with its own set of challenges. The Wall Street Journal reports that, “The financial crisis exacted a heavy toll on the generation of Americans now entering their 30s. Facing difficult job prospects, little-to-no income growth and a historically unprecedented level of student loans, their finances are in a more precarious state…” At the same time, this younger generation is empowered by technology and motivated by a strong desire for more freedom in their daily life.

millennial with cell phoneFaced with both unique opportunities and challenges, how can millennials get on the fast track to financial independence?

Self-Audit

  • What bills do you have and how will you ensure each is paid on time?
  • Where is your money going and what expenses can you reduce? Separate the needs from the wants. Consider luxury items like cable, cell phone plans, transportation, dining out, entertainment, gym membership and that daily $5 latte habit. To get started, there are lots of free budget worksheets out there, like this one.
  • Get a free copy of your credit report, check for errors and signs of identity theft. Keep the report in shape by committing to pay bills on time.
  • Set goals. What is really important to you? What are you saving for?

Tackle Student Loan Debt

  • Review the terms of your loan so you know when the first payment is due.
  • What are your options for repayment? This Consumer Finance website provides a breakdown of student loan repayment options.
  • Pursue options for savings. You are allowed a limited federal tax deduction for interest paid on federal and private student loans. Some lenders may offer a rate reduction for things like having your payment automatically deducted from your bank account.

Housing

As you evaluate the housing portion of your budget, you will be faced with the decision to rent or buy. How much down payment will you need? What loan amount will you qualify for? What type of loan will work best? What can you afford to spend? Thankfully there are a variety of options to make saving for a down payment an achievable goal. Contact a loan advisor who will guide you through the process of applying for a loan that is right for you.

By Amy Malloy