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Millennials: You're Doing Budgets Wrong


If there is one aspect of personal financing that cannot be over-emphasized, it is budgeting. Knowing the specifics and the overall balance of inflow and outflow is the simplest way to ensure financial stability.

Just like any habit, budgeting can be learned and ingrained into everyday life. However, it takes the proper foundation and continual monitoring to be anything more than the yo-yo dieting plan of financing.

Much like nutritional health, budgeting needs to be embraced as a way of life, not a momentary exercise acted out for quick results. The goal of a successful budgeting mindset is to root the concepts so deep that they stabilize every financial decision, consciously or subconsciously. When the roots are strong, they can provide sustenance with little cultivation. With shallow roots, caring for a household's financial stability necessitates constant vigilance.

The Millennial Disadvantage

The Millennial generation faces financial obstacles that were not experienced by the previous generation and are unlikely to be faced by the following generation.

The Great Recession and its subsequent backlashes affected today's young adults at the peak of typical independence. Straddling college graduation and a crumbling job market, Millennials have been forced to apply budgeting basics just to survive.

Unfortunately, learning proper budgeting techniques can be difficult if no structured education exists early on. The result saw the majority of the generation in piling student loan debt and a significant percentage of boomerangs quite literally returning home to Mom and Dad.

The effects have been far-reaching –- Millennials, more than any other group, have put off major life events due to the vast financial implications of bleak and uncertain employment stability coupled with crippling student loan debt.

Related Link: In Defense Of The Boomerangs: What Millennials Need To Have In Place Before Leaving The Nest

However, out of this darkness, a generation of frugal adults has begun to emerge.

The Millennial Advantage

Frugality may unjustly receive a poor reputation, but the basics of living fugally are the basics of sound budgeting. The techniques are the same: make sure what comes in is more than what goes out; account for every penny; think before you spend.

For those fortunate enough not to have survived the last decade through frugality (referred to hereafter as financial ingenuity), budgeting may be more difficult.

Likewise, unless the concepts were firmly imbedded, maintaining this attentive lifestyle can easily be discarded once more ideal financial situations arise. The key to lifelong financial security is to not drastically change good habits, regardless of the circumstances. This means still living the financially ingenuous life, even if a better-paying job comes along or debts begin to diminish.

Luckily, Millennials have one of the strongest advantages available: technology. The dawn of financial advancement through technology is here. Rallying cries of "there's an app for that!" fill media. Platforms for altruism such as crowdfunding sites garner applause and support. And the technological know-how among Millennials is only surpassed by younger generations – who are fortunate to not face the same financial hurdles right now.

The concepts of budgeting do not change with age, but as the population ages and technology advances, it would be imprudent to not revisit how those concepts are applied.

Related Link: You're Never Too Old To Revisit Your Budget

With so much assistance available within reach, and the vehicles for these techie aides never beyond physical reach, it only makes sense for Millennials to use financial innovations to their advantage, embracing the fintech boom and enriching their lives by tethering themselves to their devices.

So, go ahead. Download those finance apps. Start crowdfunding campaigns. Use spreadsheets and online banking to make financing more simple.

The worst thing you can do for your financial situation is nothing. Take control. Invest in your financial tomorrow by acting today.


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Posted-In: Boomerangs Budgeting millennials USAAEducation Personal Finance General

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