For the first time in more than 130 years, more young adults are living with their parents than are living alone, with a spouse or with roommates. And it’s happening all over the country, according to a recent analysis of U.S. Census data by the online apartment locator service ABODO, though there are some cities where it’s significantly more prevalent.
The findings show that the majority of these millennials, ages 18 to 34, are men (54%) even though men represent just 50% of this age group population; most are on the younger end of the age spectrum, with 41% of 18- to 21-year-olds still living with the ‘rents. Surprisingly, though, nearly 30% of all millennials living with their parents are age 26 or older, and a full third of that group are between 31 and 34, the analysis found. (On the flip side, there are cities where millennials are buying homes at a pretty good clip.)
It seems like you’ll be punching a clock forever, right? Well, one day, you’ll likely stop spending 9 to 5 at a desk and will enjoy your golden years in retirement. But that’s assuming everything plays out nicely and you have enough money set aside to do so. Stressful, right?
Well, according to a 2016 Retirement Income Strategies and Expectations survey by Franklin Templeton Investments, 70% of millennials are stressed and anxious about saving for retirement. So if you’re one of the millennials who gets anxiety every time mom or dad brings up the importance of your retirement funds, take a deep breath.
We’ve got 50 easy-to-digest ways that can get you on the right track today so you’re ready to celebrate in style once your 65th birthday rolls around.
1. Start Now
“It’s never too late, and it’s never too early, to start saving for retirement,” Ty J. Young, CEO of Ty J. Young, Inc., a nationwide wealth management firm, said.
2. Don’t Fear Your Finances
“A healthy relationship with money is absolutely crucial,” Attila Morgan, Nuvision Credit Union’s manager of community engagement and public relations, said. If you shy away from planning for retirement, you’ll pay the consequences down the line.
3. Think About How Much You’ll Need
“It’s crucial that you know how much money you will need in retirement,” Roger Cowen, a retirement planner and owner of Cowen Tax Advisory Group in Hartford, Connecticut, said. This way, you’ll have an easier time figuring out an amount to save or invest. Don’t forget about inflation.
4. Pay Your Savings Account
There are bills that must be paid but you also need to pay yourself. This doesn’t mean buy something new — it means putting money aside for your future. As Warren Buffett said, “Don’t save what’s left after spending — spend what’s left after saving.”
5. Avoid the Couch Cushions
You won’t gain anything from hiding money under the mattress or in the couch cushion. Take that money to the bank. Sure, interest rates may not be high, but it’s still extra money you wouldn’t have had otherwise.
6. Make Sure You Have a Rainy Day Fund …
Experts generally recommend having at least three months worth of expenses socked away for emergencies. The amount you’ll need will change over time, so make sure it stays at the level you’d need.
7. … & Only Withdraw in Emergencies
You’ll want to use your emergency fund for “unexpected events, rather than dipping into your retirement savings,” Chad Smith, wealth management strategist at HD Vest, a financial services firm in Irving, Texas, said.
8. Set Up Automatic Transfers
“Having the money directly transferred will make [saving] easier,” Cowen said.
9. Avoid Duplicates
If you’re paying for multiple streaming services as well as cable, decide what you can cut. Same goes for multiple magazine subscriptions that you read online. Anywhere you’re doubling up, try to cut back.
10. Maintain Good Credit Card Habits
“Start small. Pay on time and pay of the balance in full at the end of each month,” Cowen said. This can help you maintain good credit.
11. Monitor Your Credit Scores
“Know your credit score and monitor it often,” Marc Cenedella, CEO of career website Ladders, said. Having good credit can help you get better terms and conditions “when it comes to taking out a line of credit or mortgage, which will make a big difference in your ability to retire at 65.” (Not sure where your credit stands? Find out right here on Credit.com.)
12. Invest in the Stock Market
“I think millennials are making a big mistake by not investing,” James Goodnow, an attorney at Fennemore Craig in Phoenix, Arizona, said. “If you take a long-term horizon, the market is still a safe bet.”
13. Don’t Shy Away Entirely From Risks
“We as millennials are in a fortunate position,” Goodnow said. “Because of our age, we are able to weather storms in ways that investors from other generations cannot. If there is another dip or crash, we have time on our side to help us recover.”
14. Utilize Your Company Matching
“If you aren’t contributing enough to get the free match from your employer, you are throwing money away,” Cowen said.
15. Consider a Roth IRA
Roth accounts are not taxed if you make withdrawals after retiring. “Starting young is the key to retiring rich and the Roth account is the best way to accomplish this,” according to Adam Bergman, the president of IRA Financial Group.
16. A Little in Column A, a Little in Column B
“Do not put all of your eggs in one basket — diversification is key, ” Richard W. Rausser, senior vice president of client services at Pentegra Retirement Services in White Plains, New York, said.
17. Adjust When You Get a Raise
“Increase your 401K savings every time you get a pay raise, no matter what,” Rausser said.
18. Evaluate Your Portfolio Over Time
“As you accrue a larger portfolio, take your winnings off the table often,” Young said. This way, you aren’t leaving all you earn at risk.
19. Review Your Budget
Just like you check in on your portfolio, you’ll want to look at your personal finances. Young recommends you “review your finances every three months to determine where you can save.”
“Use savings and financial planning software … so you can manage how much you save, spend, invest and donate,” Cenedella said.
26. Ask for Advice
Garner experience from those who have “been there, done that.” You never know what gems of wisdom they may have.
27. Set Goals
“Work to create a goals-based plan,” Smith said. “This will show you how saving over time can lead to retirement.”
28. Negotiate Your Salary
“Even an extra $5,000 can help at each stage,” Cenedella said. “The compounding effect is enormous, and there’s always room to negotiate.”
29. Always Have a Plan B
If your company downsizes, what will you do? It’s important to have a fallback plan at any age in case your current one doesn’t work out.
30. Don’t Rely on Your Credit Cards
Racking up a lot of credit card debt means additional interest fees and serious stress. Only charge what you can truly afford.
31. Make Money From Your Hobbies
“Teach guitar lessons, buy items at a garage sale and then resell them online or pet sit for a family,” Cowen suggested. “These are just examples of personal hobbies that could turn into extra cash.”
32. Sell Things You Don’t Need
Whether you post your items on eBay or have a garage sale, it’s better to profit from what you don’t use than to have it lying around taking up space. The money you get can go toward your IRA, savings or even paying off debt. (Want more ideas? Here are 50 ways to help you stay out of debt.)
33. Keep Your Old Car
The shiny new cars on the lot may be alluring, but if your car still runs fine and doesn’t require a lot of repairs, it may be smart to hang on to it.
34. Shop Around for Better Rates
Whether it’s how much you pay for cable or your car insurance policy, make sure you’re getting the best deal.
35. Say Goodbye to Annual Fees
If you’re carrying a credit card with an annual fee that you rarely use or that doesn’t offer perks that truly benefit you, consider cutting ties and getting a credit card with no annual fee. Just make sure your credit can handle the ding of canceling a credit card before doing so.
36. Be Careful with Co-Signing
“Co-signers are on the hook for timely loan repayment, so any missed payments — even for someone else’s loan — can hurt a credit score,” according to credit bureau TransUnion.
37. Pay Off Student Loans as Early as Possible …
The sooner you get these off your back, the less you will pay in interest over the years.
38. … But Don’t Put All Your Extra Money Toward Debts
It’s good to focus on paying off your loans and other debts, but you still want to set money aside for retirement — even if it’s just $1 every day, or $10 every pay check. Something is better than nothing.
39. Go for the Health Benefits
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) help you save to cover healthcare costs with contributions that are tax-deductible (or pretax, if made through payroll deduction) and any interest earned is tax-free.
40. Consider the Protection You Get from Insurance
“You’ll save a lot of money over the next 30 – 40 years as you ready for retirement,” Dan Green, CEO of Growella, said. “All it takes is one accident, though, to clear those savings out. That’s the point of insurance … you get protection from loss.”
“Take advantage of transportation savings or flexible spending accounts that can save you money,” Cenedella said. “Invest the amount you save.”
43. Find Ways to Lower Your Bills
Whether it’s energy-efficient light bulbs or a smart thermostat, cutting costs on bills you have to pay can really help fatten up your wallet.
44. Invest Your Tax Refund
Getting money back from Uncle Sam may be just the ticket to increasing your investments.
45. Do the Same with a Bonus
If your boss rewards you for a job well done, consider taking part of that money and putting it toward your retirement savings or investments.
46. Strategize When You’ll Take Social Security
Even if you retire at 65, you may opt to wait until you’re at least 70 to start collecting on Social Security to make sure you get the most out of these monthly payments.
You may want to save more for your child’s education, but remember: They can take out a student loan or work a part-time job to pay for school. You can’t take out a retirement loan.
48. See If You Qualify for an IDA
Some people qualify for an Individual Development Account (IDA), where contributed amounts are matched.
49. Consider Meeting with a Financial Adviser
If you want more guidance from a professional, it’s a good idea to find one who is certified by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.
50. Get Educated
“Invest in the stock market and the Forex market, but first get educated in both types of investments and do the math,” said Robyn Mancell, partner at Girls Gone Forex, a company that teaches women how to trade in the market.
It’s better to work to live, rather than live to work. Millennials are taking that sage advice one step farther, according to a new poll: They work to travel.
The ability to travel is nearly as essential a work motivator as food and shelter, millennials told surveyors recently. It’s a result that employers should consider carefully.
In the same online poll, conducted by job search site FlexJobs.com, young workers said they would take steep pay cuts — as high as 20% — in exchange for more flexibility at work. And nearly two-thirds said they’d be more productive working at home than at the office.
Meanwhile, 34% said they’d left a job because it didn’t provide enough flexibility. And another 24% said they are currently looking for a new job with more flexibility.
“Since millennials are now the largest generation in the U.S. labor workforce, it’s critical that companies pay attention to how, where and when they work best,” said Sara Sutton Fell, founder and CEO of FlexJobs.
Fully 70% of millennials identified the desire to travel as a primary reason to work, second only to paying for basic necessities (88%), FlexJobs said.
Only 47% of Baby Boomers said travel was a primary reason for work.
Other less-cited reasons that millennials work:
Passionate about success in my field (60%);
To have a professional impact on the world (49%);
To pay for continuing education (36%);
To pay for child-related costs (29%) or support their parents (21%).
The FlexJobs online poll was self-selected, and included about 3,000 responses: Millennials (678 respondents), Gen Xers (1,358 respondents), and Boomers (845 respondents).
The Boston Consulting Group says that millennials have particular travel habits, too. They want to see the world, clearly. In a survey, far more millennials than non-millennials told BCG they want to visit every continent (70% versus 48%) and to travel abroad as much as possible (75% vs. 52%).
Traveling More, Longer & Smarter
Because millennials are marrying older, they tend to take trips in groups with friends. They also book further in advance, book fewer (but longer) trips, and work hard to find good deals, BCG said.
“(They) tend to see booking as more of a game and respond opportunistically to low prices and interesting packages,” BCG wrote in a recent report.
It makes sense that younger workers with less income would be more deal sensitive … and more inclined to hop on a deeply-discounted, last-minute, four-day Europe trip. It then follows that young workers want the ability to make sudden requests for four-day weekends.
That’s partly why, in the FlexJobs survey, work flexibility was cited by 82% of millennials as important when evaluating a job prospect, well above factors like as health insurance (48%), company reputation (45%), and retirement benefits (36%).
It should also be no surprise that millennials are twice as likely as boomers (11% to 6%) to show strong preference for working at a coffee shop or other place outside the office.
Flexibility = Loyalty
“Millennials said they would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options and nearly a quarter would be willing to work more hours,” Sutton Fell said. “So offering millennials work flexibility isn’t just a strategy to avoid negative consequences like losing talent — employers have a lot to gain by modifying their strict, traditional, office-based model of working.”
Remember, if you love to travel, the right credit card can make all the difference. If you’re shopping for a new airline credit card or travel rewards card, it’s a good idea to consider how often you travel and whether you tend to patronize a particular carrier. If you do fly a single carrier, or its partners, that company’s mileage card can be the right choice for you. But if you don’t have a hub in your area or your flights are varied, you might to look into general travel rewards credit cards.
You can also consider maximizing rewards by accumulating airline miles via loyalty programs, and complementing that balance by earning credit card rewards that can be transferred to those airlines.
Feel like you’re bouncing around between jobs? Have no fear, you are hardly alone. A typical young adult in the U.S. has held an average of 7.2 jobs by age 28, new research shows, which is roughly equivalent to having one new employer each year.
The study, released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, examined a nationally representative group of 9,000 young men and women born between 1980 and 1984.
As you’d expect, the job change rates slow as young adults age, but not much: “Individuals held an average of 3.9 jobs in the four-year period from ages 18 to 21. The number of jobs individuals held dropped to 2.7 in the three-year period from ages 22 to 24, and then dropped further to 2.5 in the four-year period from ages 25 to 28,” the report said.
In other words, even into their late 20s, young adults held onto their jobs, on average, for only about 18 months. A “job” in the survey is defined as a period of work with a specific employer; being promoted at the same place of employment would not constitute a new job in this research.
Surprisingly, the rapid rate of job change doesn’t vary much among gender and doesn’t change much among men despite their level of educational attainment. On the other hand, women who spent more time in school changed jobs more frequently.
“Women with a bachelor’s degree held eight jobs from ages 18 through 28, compared with 5.6 jobs for female high school dropouts,” the study found.
People with lower levels of educational attainment see their jobs end quicker. Female high school dropouts held jobs for the shortest duration, with 52% of jobs ending in less than six months, for example.
Job change rate didn’t vary much among race. Hispanic or Latino individuals in the group held 6.5 jobs during the 10-year span while African Americans held 6.8 and whites held 7.5. Education levels didn’t affect whites or Hispanics but did affect African-Americans. Members of that group held only five jobs when failing to earn a high school diploma, but 7.1 when earning a college degree or higher.
Of course, the better question is: Are people job hopping more in today’s economy? Job hopping data isn’t actually that easy to come by. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have data on the number of jobs held during an average American’s lifetime, for example, despite persistent conventional wisdom that adults today will undertake multiple careers — up to seven! — before they retire.
However, a similar study released last year offers some helpful context. Baby boomers born between 1957 and 1964 held 11.7 jobs from ages 18 to 48. They also held 5.5 jobs from ages 18 to 24. There was no 18 to 28 calculation, so an apples-to-apples comparison isn’t possible. But data on the boomers suggests millennials aren’t job hopping that much more than their parents.
If you’ve always suspected that millennials have hearts of gold, a new study from Merill Lynch may help solidify that opinion. According to findings from this new report, 60 percent of millennials are interested in starting their own organization to give something back.
Of course being interested in starting a non-profit and doing so successfully are two very different things. Matthew Dupuis is a Merill Lynch financial advisor who has worked with dozens of millennials and other clients to help them set up their non-profits. Here’s what he had to say about getting started on the right foot.
What are some of the most common mistakes millennials make when trying to set up a non-profit?
Dupuis: There are so many great organizations and amazing ideas out there, breaking through to the mainstream is difficult. Take the time to understand what you are trying to achieve, the impact you want to have, and how you plan to get there. It’s so important to do your homework and understand what it takes to build out the infrastructure from scratch, both from a financial and time perspective. Surrounding yourself with people who share your same passions and ambition to make a difference is critical. Setting unrealistic expectations is one of the biggest issues I see.
Also, make sure you are balancing the efforts it takes to set up a non-profit with other personal goals. Particularly for millennials, you still need to be sure to be saving for a rainy day fund or even long-term, such as retirement. Setting up an organization requires heavy lifting, and some people fall short of their personal goals when they don’t look at the big picture.
What are the three most important things you need to do when trying to set up a non-profit?
Dupuis: First, take the process one step at a time and have patience — get to know what you’re trying to do and what the roadblocks in front of you might be.
Second, find someone to act as an advisor so you bounce ideas off them and really use them as a soundboard. A good advisor will be able to point you in the right direction and help you put a working plan in place.
Third, understand and focus on what your short, medium and long-term goals are. One of my clients, Clarissa Black, is the founder of Pets for Vets, which matches shelter dogs to returning veterans to help them with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, anxiety and depression. As Clarissa was building out the program, we spent time talking about what kept her up at night, the impact she wanted to deliver, and what she was ultimately hoping to achieve. By having a goals-based plan in place, we are able to identify the right solutions to build out the organization for the long-haul.
What other advice do you have, particularly for millennials interested in setting up a non-profit?
Dupuis: Keep in mind it’s never too early to talk with an advisor about putting a plan in place and how you can structure your assets to meet your financial goals. Contributing time and/or money for something that’s important to you is becoming a part of many people’s goals and aspirations. And for those who might not be looking to start a non-profit but want to give, there are organizations and investments you can consider to make an impact. Millennials are redefining philanthropic giving, both in the form of time and money. It’s no longer all about how much one can accumulate, but rather how much one can give back to something they’re passionate about during their lifetime. This millennial generation is making positive impacts every single day and will be alive to see their determinations become realities.