Money Management for Millennials:
Protect Your Income + Tips to Boost It

See also: Budgeting

The millennial generation was born between the early 1980s and the early 1990s. Many of that generation are reaching a point where college debt is in the rear view mirror and now they can start saving and managing their money for the future.

Personal finance can be intimidating. Public schools do not teach money management. For many young people, this is a subject that they need to learn about on their own.

Starting out, the focus is just trying to cover their monthly expenses. Their mind is not thinking about retirement or budgeting for the future.

Technology has made it easier for millennials to protect their money and to earn more. Unfortunately, it has also added a layer of complication. There are tools like online trading platforms, money-saving apps, and technology driven investments like cryptocurrency making it difficult to decide what is the right vehicle to use to protect or to grow your money.

Although personal finance is a complicated subject, there are important things millennials can focus on as they manage their money. These are insurance, savings, debt, and budgeting.

Cartoon showing a had holding a scale balanced with money and ideas.

Financial Planning Is Impossible without Budgeting

Without budgeting, there can be no financial planning. If a person doesn’t have a budget, how do they know the amount of money they are making, saving, or spending? Budgeting is what tells you if you need to spend less or if you have money that you can set aside to invest using tools like online stock trading apps, which are increasingly-popular amongst millennials and Gen Z.

Budgeting requires a person to take their income and then partition it into funds that will be spent on different expenses. When that is complete, determine how much should be left over for savings. These figures are used to keep spending on track.

Income is everything that a person makes, be it from work, gifts, tips, and bonuses. Expenses and savings should be subtracted from money earned until every dollar earned has been accounted for. A mistake that financial advisers see millennials making is wanting to set aside “fun money.” This fun money approach creates a blasé attitude toward finance and can be destructive.

It’s better to designate funds for entertainment and shopping as opposed to leaving the amount of money you will spend on these things to chance. Accumulating debt by purchasing things that are not in your budget is fatal. There are several tools millennials can use, including several apps, that are designed to track spending and savings.

Investing using reputable stock trading platforms is one of the most secure ways to multiply your income over time, but only if you’re investing wisely. It can be tricky if you’re a beginner so look for advice from trading experts to avoid mistakes that could cost you.

Piles of $100 bills.

Protect Your Money by Saving

For most millennials, their college years were not so long ago. Most college students needed to learn to live in a thrifty manner. Unfortunately, when a person finishes college and earns a decent salary, it can be easy for them to want to live beyond their means.

However, protecting their wealth means maintaining the thrifty attitude they had while in college. Just because a person earns more money does not obligate them to spend more money. If they do, they are erasing the extra income they earn.

Setting aside money for savings does not mean that a person needs to eat Ramen noodles for the rest of their life. It means making savvy choices, such as shopping at thrift stores instead of buying designer clothing or renting a less expensive apartment instead of purchasing a home outside of their budget. There are several things that can contribute to savings.

Millennials may find it difficult to turn down an invitation out of fear of missing out. However, the sooner young people learn to say no, in a polite way, the sooner they will see financial benefits. Again, moderation is key. There’s no need to be a recluse.

For one month, why not track your expenses? Write down every time you spent a dollar unnecessarily that you could have saved. While you thought you only spent $100 on restaurants and food, maybe you actually spent $300. Over the course of a year that adds up to $3,600 you could have saved.

Protect Your Money by Avoiding Debt

For most people, debt is unavoidable. Fear of debt has caused people to completely avoid things like credit cards. However, credit cards, when used responsibly, are a powerful tool that can help build credit for the future. The key is being smart about debt and credit.

Student debt is a reality that most cannot avoid. When billionaire Robert Smith announced in May 2019 that he would pay off the student loans for all Morehouse graduates that year, he gave those students a phenomenal advantage. Most students don’t get this. They need to learn how to handle this debt.

Woman's hand writing figures in a notepad with a red pen.

Protect your money by taking advantage of income-based repayment options. Make monthly payments that work well with your budget. If your situation changes and you can repay your student loans faster, then do so.

With credit card use, make small recurring purchases each month and then pay the balance off in full. The mentality should be that if you cannot afford to pay for the purchase in full by the time the bill comes, you can’t afford to make the purchase. Never charge more than you can afford.

Protect Your Wealth with Life Insurance

Married or single, parent or childless, debt-free or full of debt, a life insurance policy allows you to fulfill financial obligations. It protects those you love from needing to cover those obligations for you. Although the oldest millennial is 39 years old at the time of this writing and is likely not thinking about planning for their death, time and unforeseen occurrences befall us all.

A good insurance policy will see to it that your loved ones are not worried about how they will pay for your burial. The last thing you want are those you love going into debt because you did not take steps to protect them.

Establishing a good budget means that you have planned for savings, repaying your debt, and spending. A good savings plan means being thrifty with your money and setting aside funds to be used in case of an emergency and for retirement. Debt is unavoidable most times, but the goal should be to pay it off as quickly as possible. Insurance is the final part of any finance plan as it protects those you love if the unfortunate were to happen.

About the Author

Kate Noether is a PR Specialist, SEO expert and all-round tech enthusiast. Apart from that she enjoys biking on weekends and spending time in nature.