We all know millennials get a bad reputation for spending too much on avocado toast. The truth is, millennials are not only spending beyond their means, but also not saving for their futures. recent study from the National Institute for Retirement Security states that about two-thirds of millennials have nothing saved for retirement.
So why is this?
A report from the National Institute on Retirement Security titled “Millennials and Retirement: Already Falling Short”, the Great Recession caused this financial insecurity for millennials. The Millennial generation earns 20% less in wages and have accumulated about half of the wealth of their parents at the same stage in their lives.
Of the millennials that have some money saved up in a retirement fund, the median amount is just $19,100. Experts suggest contributing at least 15% of your paycheck to some sort of a 401K retirement plan. The average amount contributed by millennials is about half that.
Millennials have an average debt burden of $42,000, most of the debt coming from student loans. Grant Sabatier of the Millennial Money blog states that retiring early for millennials will not be an easy journey. Millennials will be able to reach retirement, but maybe not the same luxurious retirement their parents have. But many millennials are hustling and putting in the work now, working 50+ hours a week at a corporate job, maxing out a 401K, and supplementing their income with a side hustle or two.
Start with the people you are hanging out with – the people that are influencing you the most. People who are also hustling in second jobs, following the markets, and looking for promotions and raises are the people who are going to help you in your financial independence journey.
I have a friend in LA who is currently working at a corporate job 50+ hours a week, doing freelance graphic design, babysitting, launching a company and website, and even squeezes in time for modeling. My goal for 2019 is to max out my company’s 401K plan at $19,000 (up from $18,500 in 2018). My take-home paycheck will be a little lower than last years, so to supplement that, I plan to generate at least two more sources of income.
My second piece of advice is to start throwing what ever you can into your employer’s 401K plan. Most employer’s will match your contribution around 2-4%.
The earlier you can start stocking money into your 401K account of choice, the better. Seriously, you wouldn’t believe how much faster your money will grow.
Say you are just starting to save for retirement at age 45 into an individual Roth retirement account (tax-free). Let’s also say you are contributing $400. Historically, you can assume you will generate a 7% return on your 401K contributions. By age 70, this account will have $326,000.
If you started contributing $400 at age 35, this account would be worth $725,000.
If you are lucky enough to start saving $400 a month at age 25, by the time you are 70, you will have more than $1.5 million in your retirement account. And this doesn’t even take into account what ever 401k matching options your employer offers (*dollar signs for eyes emoji*).
If you are reading this thinking “Oh my god I am so far behind already”, don’t worry. A recent study fro LendEDU shows that 37 percent of millennials are contributing no money at all to any form of retirement savings plan.
If you are lost, or just curious about your retirement plan options, I would suggest starting small:
- Play around with a Roth IRA calculator
- Ask your HR department what savings plans your employer has to offer, and what percent your company matches
- Ask around people you trust what kind of savings plan they are currently contributing to
- Do your own research to find out what options are best for you
- Just dive into contributing! Even if you can squeeze in $50 a month for now, it is better than nothing!