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March 17, 2017

Who Wants to be a Millennial Millionaire?

by Steve Doster
Have the time and money to do what you want, when you want by embracing these three financial strategies now!

Four young casual friends having fun taking pictures at an urban celebration

Take the free money

Employers are offering free money, but a whole bunch of people don’t take it! Imagine telling your boss “Hey, thanks for the raise, but I don’t want it. I’d like the company to keep it so that I get paid less.”

Of course, no one would ever say that. But that’s what happens when you don’t put enough away in your 401(k) plan to get the full employer match. A report by Financial Engines found that 25% of employees do not receive the full match simply because they don’t contribute enough to their employer retirement plan.

If you have three friends, don’t be the one missing out on free money. Take it! Contribute the minimum amount (typically 6 percent of pay) to get the full company match.

Save an Emergency Fund

Everyone needs some cash saved up for emergencies. The car might break down, an unexpected trip to the hospital, or a family emergency may require a last-minute ticket. An emergency fund can pay for this stuff so you don’t have to use your credit card. Once you have a revolving balance on the credit card, it easily grows with more “emergencies” like those cool shoes on sale at Nordstrom’s.

An emergency fund should be 3 to 6 months of living expenses. That’s a big task, so take it in doable steps. Open a savings account and start putting away what you can each month. Maybe it’s $10, or $50. Get to $1,000 as your first big hurdle.

After you have a “starter” emergency fund, work on paying off credit card debt. Then come back to super-charging savings into your emergency fund until it’s enough to pay for 3 months of living expenses.

Follow this savings strategy

This is the super important part! To be a Millennial Millionaire you need to save at least 20% of your income. This is your total income before taxes or any expenses. Include bonuses and any part-time work like Lyfting on the weekends.If you can’t get to 20%, then you need to cut back. Typically, it will require some serious cutbacks to housing and food. That might mean having a roommate, living in an older apartment away from the cool part of town, and not eating out so much. It doesn’t sound like fun, but you will see that getting by on less money will actually make you happier and more creative!

Here is the savings strategy in order of importance:
1. Contribute to your 401(k) to get the full match.
2. Save into an emergency fund.
3. Open a Roth IRA and contribute the maximum ($5,500 for 2017) each year.
4. Go back and increase contributions to max out the 401(k) ($18,000 for 2017).
5. Still have more to save? Open a brokerage account at Vanguard and invest in low cost mutual funds.
6. It’s never too early to ask for professional financial help.

Wrap it Up

These are the three things you need to do now to become a Millennial Millionaire. Take the free money from your employer, build an emergency fund, and save 20 percent of pay. It won’t be easy, life never is! However, it’s attainable if you commit yourself to these simple goals.

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