FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Louisville, KY—May 12, 2016—With more than 75 million Americans falling into the 18-34 age group (as of 2015, according to U.S. census estimates), Millennials are now the largest generation. Although retirement is still 30-45 years away for this generation, it’s not too early to start planning.
“As digital natives, Millennials can find almost anything online, but are still struggling with how to start on the path of financial success. I’ve learned that the challenge for most Millennials isn’t finding information, but sifting through all the noise. While employers are now aggressively targeting retirement preparedness and the financial industry is publishing reams of information about retirement preparation daily, these sources aren’t providing Millennials with access to advice that applies to them personally. Nor are they providing a road map of how to start, right now,” said Carla Dearing, CEO of SUM180, an online financial planning service created by women for women.
“Most Millennials, even those who think they don’t know what to do with their money, are facile with Venmo and PayPal. And they’re adept at working their way through financing a first car or getting a good starting salary at a first job. In other words, they already know more than they think. Wherever they stand now, following are three steps they can take now that will translate into more financial security in the future,” Carla continued.
- Get a handle on your expenses. When you know where your money goes, you are in control and can be thoughtful about aligning spending with priorities. Use an online money tracking service, like Mint or Quicken, to see all your financial accounts in one place and even create your first budget. Doing this, you will always know where you stand financially. Mint, for example, gives you complete access to your data through the website and your mobile device, whether you use iOS or Android. Better yet, Mint keeps an eye on your money for you. It even sends alerts to remind you to pay your bills or when you go over budget.
Tracking your expenses may also help prompt you to address some important loose ends if you’re newly on your own, such as:
- Is it time to transfer your cell phone number to your own bill?
- If you have started a new job, when does your health insurance coverage start, and what will it cost you?
- Save six times your monthly expenses as a cushion for emergencies. Now that you know how much you spend every month, multiply that amount by six. This is the amount you need to set aside in a readily accessible savings account in case unexpected expenses come up, like repairing your car after a fender bender or surgery for your dog. Be disciplined about saving a little every month until your emergency fund is where it needs to be, even if it means sacrificing little luxuries once in a while. Remember to replenish the account every time you use it.
Having your cushion ready whenever you need it will give you a great sense of security and freedom. It will also free you up to work on other savings goals without getting derailed by unexpected expenses.
- Bite the bullet and start maxing out your 401(k) and saving in an IRA. Too many Millennials delay saving for retirement because they don’t know which accounts they need, which funds to buy and how much to contribute. Don’t overthink it. Get help. Your benefits administrator and reputable fund companies like Vanguard and Fidelity can answer those very questions without requiring you to get a finance major in retirement accounts along the way.
Nervous about committing yourself to the maximum contribution for a full year? Start as close as you can to the maximum, then bump up your contribution at the next enrollment date (usually quarterly) after you understand your expenses more clearly. Set a calendar alert so you won’t forget!
Whatever you do, be disciplined about never borrowing from your 401(k). Over the years, emergencies will come up and you will need to cover unexpected expenses. Find other ways to cover these expenses. Your 401(k) is for one thing only: funding your retirement.
“One final note. These days, many Millennials are deliberately ‘traveling light’ financially—by choosing not to own a car or by delaying buying their own home, for example. If you are one of these Millennials, remember that you still need to cover the basics: building a cash cushion, paying down debt and saving for retirement. By spending less and assuming less debt, you may be in a position to start an investment portfolio earlier than your peers. Do it. Time is on your side. The earlier you begin, the more you will have when you need it in the future,” Carla concluded.
SUM180 is an online financial planning service designed by women for women. With the goal of making financial planning simple and affordable for women, SUM180 provides a radical alternative to current financial advisory offerings.
Specifically, SUM180 is differentiated in the following ways:
- SUM180 meets women where they are. SUM180 plans are personalized to help women wherever they are right now on their financial journey; whether they’re just beginning, starting over or well on their way.
- SUM180 plans are simple. Clients need only focus on just three of their most important next steps at any given time. This approach is empowering for most, but especially for women who have been “tuned out” of their financial picture for a period of time.
- SUM180 doesn’t try to give clients a degree in finance. SUM180 clients don’t need to become financial experts to meet their financial goals. SUM180 provides the tools they need, without overwhelming them with the details they don’t need.
- SUM180 offers a community for users, unfiltered. SUM180’s community forum allows users to support one another in their plans.
- SUM180 serves; never sells. Earning and keeping client trust is SUM180’s highest priority. SUM180 never makes money based on the advice provided.
Additional information about SUM180 may be found at https://sum180.com/.
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Robin Schoen Public Relations