by Darlene A. White
Many of us look at how day-to-day spending and savings have changed as a result of coronavirus as we face uncertainty around incomes and jobs. Although there is no end in sight for COVID-19, millennials are remaining hopeful and using this time to work towards their financial goals.
Some millennials have already jumped on board when it comes to investing in their future. They are managing their money, investing and listening to good advice when it comes to improving their finances.
Michael Stanley, 32, of Detroit, says that during the pandemic he has really started working on improving his finances.
“I remember during my early college years, I was so reckless with spending money,” Stanley says. “I did not have a budget at all. I would take every credit card offered to me, my debts would go into collections and I would spend my entire paycheck on shopping for the latest clothes or fast food. I wasted so much money. I cringe thinking of how I destroyed my credit and the amount of money that I lost over the years.”
Stanley says nowadays he wants better for himself and has started paying close attention to his daily spending habits and credit usage.
“These past couple of years I had to repair my credit and start saving money,” he said. “Nowadays I make sure to look at my credit score, I utilize my online banking account, and I make sure to put a certain amount in my savings account every week. Most importantly, I have started the process of paying off my debts.”
It’s very important for all of us to save our money, especially through this pandemic, says Ebony Cochran, Credit Consultant and owner of Blackwood Credit Services.
“During times like this, uncertainty is at an all-time high,” she says. “This is when sticking to your budget and goals is very important. No panic shopping or not staying the course. Many people who have businesses were forced to shut down and had to sustain off of savings if that was available. Others had jobs that shut down and had to sustain off of unemployment. Times like these do not call for the latest bag or watch. It calls for making every dollar count.”
In order to manage money accurately, some millennials are shopping for needs and not wants, creating a realistic budget, and most importantly not comparing finances to those on social media.
Cochran says it’s not as hard as you think when it comes to money management.
“Automate, automate, automate,” she expresses. “I always advise my clients to open up an online account and don’t elect to receive a debit card. Set up a certain amount weekly, bi-weekly or monthly to transfer from your main account to your savings account. The out-of-sight, out-of-mind approach can work wonders for some people. Trying to remember to transfer or save can cause it to feel like a job.”
There are many different ways millennials can invest their money for the future, says Cochran.
“My three ways would have to be real estate, stocks and your retirement account,” she states. “Real estate is something that can yield some great returns if you find some of these great deals that are out there. One of my first deals in the city was a $500 home. I went on to rent it for $650 monthly. This one investment paid off in only a month’s time.”
Cochran says stocks are another great investment for young people to use.
“I know some people like to purchase and sell to make a quick profit, but the major gains are in holding them,” she explains. “Imagine if you held your Tesla or Apple stock from when they first made their stock available. Cha Ching!”
We have so many millennials who are starting businesses and those that are climbing the corporate ladder that don’t take advantage of their retirement accounts, she says.
No matter where you work, you can always start the saving process.
“Living paycheck-to-paycheck doesn’t have to be a lifelong sentence. Work on ways to increase your income to make this process easier. That may mean getting a second job, eliminating some monthly expenses or creating a side gig from home. I’ve found investing in yourself being one of the best investments one can make.”