How Millennials Can Make the Best of a Bad Financial Situation

If you haven’t had more than an earful about the poor Millennials and the broken financial system they inherited through no fault of their own, you haven’t been talking to people or watching the news. Millennials, if we believe media sources, are an ill fit for the working world. They’re lazy, inexperienced, entitled, and any of a dozen other common Millennial-bashing adjectives. Millennials are also going to represent 75% of the working population in just a few months. So like us or not, you’re stuck with us. As a proud Millennial, I think our generation is great. I see us as a generation of learners, who balance a sense of self with a sense of a broader purpose and responsibility to humanity as a whole, as well as the world itself. Call that high-minded, but if you are a Millennial, I think you’re going to see a lot of positive changes in the world due to our efforts.

But when it comes to finances, Millennials aren’t there yet. Part of that is due to financial realities outside of anybody’s control. Despite the harsh money climate the nation has been emerging from, there are specific ways that young people can be investing in their future. There are still ways to make money, even when global factors suggest otherwise. Here’s how.

Invest. That is a broad word, and I am using it broadly. I would advise any young person to reconsider higher education. College has gotten a bad name in the past decade, but if you are able to identify an education path that will give you a specific career and earning potential, I say go for it. That’s investing in yourself. Also invest in your community. If you live in a city, join neighborhood boards. Vote. Create a community where you are happy living. If we’re living with less, we might as well live well together. Finally, and most obviously, invest in your finances. Kill off debt with every spare dollar you have. Work another job to kill it faster if you have to. Then once it’s gone, start saving and investing. Invest in CFD trading for the short term and mutual funds and ETFs for the long term. Invest in a house if you can, as mortgage payments are usually lower than rent payments. Start young and keep these investments going. You’ll create a better situation for yourself, regardless of your level of employment.

Be an Individual. Don’t be afraid to stand for something, to pursue your own path. That might mean working for yourself, engaging your innate entrepreneurial spirit. That might mean writing or traveling or living a non-mainstream lifestyle. There’s something to be said for going out into the world and finding “your people”. When you are well connected with like-minded individuals, it’s easier to create an economy than it is working for someone else in a cubicle. Learn everything you can, and jockey for position. But try to do it on your own terms.

These two things might seem incompatible. On the one hand you’re giving of yourself, on the other hand you’re fighting for yourself. But no one person has to be one way all the time. Life calls for different modes of being, and each of these will serve you at different times, to create the future you want, financial and otherwise.

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