Don’t Believe Everything the Papers Say About Millennial Finances

If we all listened to the spew of anti-millennial stories being published by the media, we’d all assume that people in their twenties and thirties spend their lives wallowing on couches and living in their parents’ basement. After all, student debt is at an all-time high, so how could millenials afford to be successful?

I might be sharing an unpopular opinion here, but I’m going to climb out on a limb to say that millennials are more successful than most magazines and newspapers would want you to believe. Here’s why.

Many Millennials Are Long-Term Planners

Young people might be buying houses later than their parents did, but that doesn’t mean they’re shirking their goal planning. Nearly 31 percent of millennials say they have set financial goals and a written plan, according to Modern Wealth Index. In contrast, only 22 percent of baby boomers and 20 percent of Generation X can say the same.

Millennials Are Spending Less on Entertainment and Brand-Name Goods

Whether it’s because entertainment is more readily available in today’s modern times or it’s a real lifestyle choice, millennials are spending two thirds less on entertainment than Generation Xers and Baby Boomers. Additionally, millennials aren’t too stuffy to purchase non-brand-name goods. Roughly 60 percent prefer to purchase generic brands in an effort to save money.

Saving for Retirement Isn’t a Problem

You might be surprised to hear that 71 percent of millennial workers are saving for retirement, and the median start age is 24. That’s much earlier than Generation X’s median starting age (30). Additionally, about 39 percent of millennials are defined as super savers, meaning they save 10 percent of their salary.

Millennials Aren’t Afraid of Leadership Roles

In the last several years, 87 percent of millennial workers took on management roles. Compare that to the 38 percent of Gen X and 19 percent of Baby Boomers that did the same. Even more impressive is the fact that over half of millennials either want to start a business or already have started one.

They Aren’t Afraid to Ask for Higher Salaries

Nearly a third of millennials say they will be chasing higher salaries with a different employer five years from now. Some people say this is because millennials hop from job to job too often, but that’s not really true. Research has found that many Generation X workers stay at their jobs for an even shorter amount of time than millennials, and both age groups are willing to seek higher salaries after five years.

Millennials Track Their Expenses Like Nobody’s Business

According to a survey of over 1,500 millennials a couple of years ago, roughly 75 percent track their expenses on a regular basis. Another 67 percent stick to a budget, so don’t take any news stories about how reckless millennials are when it comes to spending at face value. Of course not everyone is so diligent, but a large percentage of people born in the ‘80s and ‘90s are actually on top of their spending habits.

My Hot Take

Sure, I know that financial literacy is down in many millennials and that millions of people are swimming in debt. I also know that I excluded many negatives, like the fact that most millennials can’t come up with the money for an unexpected expense over $400.

I’m just tired of hearing everyone say that millennials across the board have no sense of financial planning or success. From now on, take those anti-millennial articles with a grain of salt. Instead, talk to the 20 and 30-year-olds around you to see how they’re doing financially and what we, as a society, can do to improve their standing.

Why Everyone Should Have a Side Hustle, Even If You’re Employed Full-Time

If you pay any attention to the world of personal finance, you know that the phrase “side hustle” is thrown around like a glorified weapon against debt and low savings. The question is, are side hustles really worth the extra effort? Are they for everyone, or just those struggling with money?

Although walking dogs on the weekend or starting a small freelance gig isn’t going to pay all of your bills, working on an additional source of income is a smart idea no matter how old or financially-stable you may be. Here’s why.

A Side Hustle Makes for a Great Backup Plan

Regardless of your career field, you’ll hit bumps in the road eventually. Economic recessions, company changes, or even societal trends can all impact your stability at your current job. Because you never want to leave a position without some sort of backup plan to help cover expenses, side hustles can help you transition between jobs with minimal worry.

Whether you’re already looking for your next job or you’re secure at your current place of employment, you’ll feel much safer knowing you have some way to bring in an income if you were to suddenly find yourself unemployed. Even if your side hustle just brings in a couple hundred dollars a month, it’ll still give you some peace of mind.

You’ll End up Networking With Minimal Effort

When you’ve been at one company or position for a long period of time, networking often falls on the backburner. That’s a personal finance no-no. You should always work on fostering new relationships with valuable people. After all, it’s not what you know but who you know that will help you succeed. 

It doesn’t matter what your side job is; as long as it involves working with other people in some capacity (even online), you’ll expand your network. For all you know, one of the people you meet from your side hustle could have a lasting impact on your career in the future.

Extra Gigs Come With Flexibility

Everyone encounters an unexpected expense at some point; medical bills, car accidents, house repairs, etc. You can’t always budget for the future. For instance, I went to the dentist last year and found out I need to have a whopping $1,000 worth of work done on my teeth. Of course, that expense was coming out of pocket, and I hadn’t planned for it.

Because I had a side hustle, I was able to come up with an extra $600 almost immediately. By the time my credit card bill came in next month, I had completely made up for the expense with my side job alone, which meant I didn’t have to dip into my savings.

New Skills Are Never a Bad Investment

Even if you barely make a dime from your side gig, obtaining new skills and knowledge is never a waste of time, especially if those things can translate into your full-time career. If you speak multiple languages, become a translator on the side to boost your fluency. Are you a teacher? Take up some hours at the local tutoring center so you can expand your knowledge of teaching techniques. Not only will you learn, but you’ll bring in money while you do it.

Working on a side hustle isn’t just a move for people living paycheck to paycheck. In fact, it’s one of the most financially savvy moves you can make, especially if you work in a field that fluctuates regularly. Start working on your extra income sources today. You’ll thank yourself later.

9 Times When Hiring an Attorney Makes Sense

Sometimes hiring an attorney isn’t warranted. For example, if you get a speeding ticket, you don’t likely need a lawyer. But when there’s a situation involving a legal dispute or a deal that needs to be made — complicated divorce, unfair job loss or a charge for driving while intoxicated — hiring an attorney for your legal defense can make perfect sense.

If you are unsure if you need to hire an attorney or whether you want to hire a particular attorney, many will offer a free consultation. Being able to communicate with a legal expert without worrying about having to come up with money is a plus. During the consultation, you can find out what type of case the attorney thinks you have and what the outcome might be. Here are 10 times when hiring an attorney makes sense.

1. You’re Confused About the Law

In certain legal situations, it’s important to have an experienced attorney representing you or you could experience legal pitfalls. “Even seemingly simple charges— assault or drug possession— can involve complex questions of constitutional rights,” according to the Matthew Hand law office. The more complex the issue you are dealing with, the more important it is to consider hiring an attorney who specializes in that issue, such as criminal defense or tax law attorney.

2. Other Parties Involved Have Retained Legal Representation

If the other parties you are involved with have legal representation, not having your own attorney can put you at a definite disadvantage. It will mean that you will have to represent yourself against an experienced attorney, which can mean that you may end up with a less-than-favorable outcome.

3. The Evidence or Testimony Needs to be Challenged

When you don’t have the benefit of legal education and training, there are certain aspects of your case, including evidence and testimony that you may not know to be aware of. An attorney is well-versed in the ins-and-outs of legal cases and will pick up on things that the average person might not.

4. You Need Advice About Your Options

When a legal case is complex, you will not only need advice from a practiced attorney to help you know how to plead in some cases, but an experienced lawyer can also help make the right choices during the actual legal proceedings.

5. A Plea Bargain or Settlement May Be the Best Route

An attorney with enough experience under his belt has either worked on a case with similar circumstances to the one you’re involved in or can make an educated guess about how it might turn out if it goes to trial. The attorney can advise you about things such as whether you might want to take a plea bargain or even settle and help with the negotiations if applicable.

6. Legal Contracts are Involved

Contracts stuffed with legal jargon can confuse anyone who is not used to reading that type of language. If you don’t comprehend some of the language, you won’t be able to make sense of the contract. An attorney is used to reading and interpreting contracts and can spot details that are cause for a second look.

7. Your Finances or Freedom are at Risk

If you are involved in a legal case that could have outcomes that would compromise your finances or your freedom, hiring an attorney is a very smart move. Do you want to end up spending time in prison or losing a substantial amount of money because you decided not to hire experienced legal representation?

8. Documents Have to be Filled Out and Filed

If you aren’t used to filling out legal documents, it can be a challenge to fill them out. Plus, they will likely have to be filled out by a deadline. If the documents are not filled out correctly or they aren’t filed on time, then it could cause issues with the outcome of your case.

9. You Need Experts or Witnesses to Help Win Your Case

If your case happens to go to trial, you may need the benefit of industry experts testifying on your behalf. That would mean you would have to research to find a suitable expert. Attorneys are in the unique position of having connections to these type of experts and can contact them for their help. Attorneys are also experienced in identifying witnesses that can help strengthen your case and obtaining their testimony — whether through the witness’ cooperation or by petitioning the court to issue a subpoena.

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