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by Manisha Thakor
Six Reasons Why Gen X & Gen Y Need Some Serious Financial TLC
They’re scared: They’ve entered their adult years during a gut-wrenching economic and job market. With unemployment over 9.5%, they’ve seen their parents struggle. Over 7 out of 10 Americans are now living paycheck-to-paycheck.
They are making poor decisions: As a result of that fear they are not making the best long-term decisions for their futures. A recent ICI study shows only 34% of investors under age 35 are willing to take substantial risk with their retirement money – the exact time in their lives when they should take that risk.
Something as “simple” as a 20-year head start can give you 5x more money: Let’s take 2 people. Jane starts saving $5,000 a year at age 25 for her retirement every year until age 65 and gets an average return of 7%. Jane has a $1 million nest egg by retirement. Joe starts saving $5,000 a year at age 45 for retirement every year until age 65 and also gets an average return of 7%. Joe has $200,000 in his next egg. That 20-year head start gave Jane 5x more money. That’s why learning the basics of personal finance – how to budget, get out of debt, and save so you can get that retirement fund funded in the key early years is so vital.
Young adults consume information differently so there’s a delivery challenge when it comes to education: Studies shows that young adults want their financial education delivered in a 21st Century way. They want it web-based with robust, interactive tools. And unlike their “I’ll do it myself” parents, these emerging adults want help and guidance.
Nearly half of Gen Y has below average financial fluency: A study by The National Foundation for Credit Counseling showed that nearly half of this generation did not understand how to save and budget and that 45% of them have no savings!
The financial world is geometrically more complex: Part of the reason for the above statistic is due to the fact that financial literacy is not taught in schools as a core life skill. Young adults often rely on parents who were brought up in “financially simpler” times and aren’t equipped to help. They are also bombarded by so many more unrealistic media images about what “normal” lives are like.
So, what’s the solution?
If you or someone you love is a Gen X or Gen Y-er… encourage them to self-educate. Here are some of my favorite personal finance sites – all of which I’ve either written for or read regularly myself:
For everyone: SmartAboutMoney.org
For men: IWillTeachYouToBeRich.com
What about you – any additional resources to recommend to Gen X & Gen Y?
by Manisha Thakor
Tough economic times present an interesting financial conundrum for our tum-tums.
During rocky periods it’s natural and healthy to want to seek out friends and companionship. Breaking bread and having a good chat is a wonderful way to release work/life stress. But given our busy lives many of us end up spending time with others while eating out… which can really add up. So here are 5 simple things you can do to eat out for less.
1. Share an entree or make a meal out of appetizers: In modern America food portions have become so super-sized that the average meal can feed at least 2… and sometimes even 3 people. To avoid any surprises when the check comes, be sure to see if the restaurant charges a split entree fee. On a related note, some appetizers are so large they could easily fill you up as an entree and they generally cost half as much as a main dish.
2. Be sure to ask how much the specials cost before ordering: This a major hot button of mine. How many times have you found yourself in a restaurant when the wait staff describes a succulent sounding dish? You go for it, only to find yourself fighting the urge to hurl when you see the bill and find out the price. Personally, I think it’s a sign of financial self-confidence to politely ask “and what do those specials run?” so you can make an informed decision. It can be awkward to do it at first – but trust me, the whole table will appreciate it, and you’ll be a trendsetter.
3. Soup, it does a body good: A nice bowl of hearty soup (think gumbo, beef stew, tortilla soup, or chili) often costs a lot less, contains healthier ingredients, and fills you up as much as a regular entree.
4. Think before you drink: Beverages – alcoholic and even non – are very high margin products for restaurants. At a minimum, think twice before doubling down. If you can, savor one drink throughout the meal. And if you’re really trying to cut back, go to nature’s best… a glass of tap water. Doing this can easily shave 20% or 30% off your bill (not to mention pounds off your waist line!).
5. Do lunch: If you have a really strong urge to meet friends at a fancy new restaurant, try doing it at lunchtime instead. Prices are much lower, portions are more realistic, and you’re less likely to run up a costly alcohol bill.
What about you – any other suggestions you’d add to this list?