Are you acting your ‘wage,’ millennials?

As millennials, our passion, drive and make it happen attitudes serve us well.

Despite the naysayers, I think it’s pretty awesome that we’re not willing to settle for second best. We go after what we want and make things happen far quicker than previous generations ever did.

We’re constantly criticised for our addiction to instant gratification, but I don’t think it’s such a bad thing that we’re more educated and we’ve travelled to more countries by the age of 21 than our parents have in their lifetimes, is it?!

There’s one area though, that our penchant for now, now, now has let many of us down.

Our money.

We’re getting older Millennials, the oldest of us turn 40 this year and the youngest of us is now 25.

For the most part we’ve finished university and have been working and earning an income for quite a few years now.

However, having never really learnt the art of delayed gratification, many of us have little or nothing to show for it financially, and we’ve also never learned to act our ‘wage’.

With easy access to credit, we’ve been travelling the world, running around in designer clothes, attending lavish events and running up astronomical restaurants bills on a far too regular basis.

What created this new ‘normal’?

Easy access to credit.

Put simply, most of our generation had our first credit card in our hot little hands within days of turning 18.

So there we were, no formal financial education and packing plastic. Free money.

What could be better? The temptation to spend was at an all time high and there were a million and one things to spend it on.

Cue the arrival of social media and all of a sudden ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ took on a whole new life.

Many of us lived at home a lot longer than previous generations, and so between our credit cards, payday, and no real commitments, we started adult life free to spend money on all the good stuff.

This is where the problem began…

We developed a behaviour of spending everything available to us on lifestyle.

And for anything big we’ve needed to purchase (like a car) there’s been a myriad of financing options available. There’s no real need to save when you can get the item now even if you don’t have the money.

So for many millennials, we never developed a good savings habit and instead of living within our means, every pay rise meant more money to spend.

Are you acting your ‘wage’?

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of responsible money-smart millennials who’ve managed to avoid the trappings of personal debt. However, there are plenty who haven’t and it’s easy to see why.

Rather than spending everything we earn, and then some (via debt), here are: 

6 ways to responsibly manage your money:

  1. Live within your means. Budget to see where your money is going now and cut out what you can. There has to be something leftover. Use your surplus each month to pay down debt and start saving and ultimately investing.
  2. Know where your dollars are going. Once you’ve completed a budget and started building wealth, keep on top of your spending on an ongoing basis by using a tracking tool like those mentioned in this article.
  3. Use pay rises to get ahead. Instead of just spending more each week with your recent pay increase, use the additional dollars to reduce debt or increase your savings.
  4. Give up on keeping up. Blowing all of your cash on material items just to make your Instagram followers jealous is a sure way to ensure you have a sh*tty financial future ahead. Be prouder that you’ve got an investment property and a share portfolio than the best wardrobe on the planet.
  5. Say no to credit. Marketers have done a great job of making paying on plastic seem sophisticated and successful. F*ck that. You’d rather actually have your own money to pay for what you want than need to put it on credit, wouldn’t you? Oh, and the whole points thing? That’s just part of the marketing spin. Cut it up, pay it off and build wealth instead.
  6. Develop a love affair with investing. Once you start investing, it’s hard to stop. Seeing your portfolio increase each month is a pretty great feeling. You’re not going to want to spend any of that money (like you would having cash in a savings account).


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