Financial Planning for Millennials
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Financial Planning for Millennials: 4 Ways to Get the Most from Your Money

January 25, 2020 | 2 min. read

Explore four tips for military Millennials that can help you make smart financial decisions with lasting results.

If you’re like most Millennials in the military, when you signed the enlistment papers or received your commission, it likely marked a drastic transition in your life from civilian to service member. But if this is your first career, it’s also probably a significant milestone into adulthood. Not only will you likely move away from your childhood home, but you’ll also be on your own for the first time. And with that — you’ll also have to manage your own finances. If you’re just beginning your military career, here are some tips to help you start out on the right financial footing.

1. Make your money work for you.

For most Millennials in the military, creating a budget can sound daunting, especially if you are managing your finances for the first time. But if you view a budget as an organizational structure to help you take control of your finances, it can act as a helpful tool to make your money work for your current situation and your future goals. 

To get started, subtract necessary expenses like housing, groceries and car insurance from your paycheck. Then distribute the remaining money among non‐essential items such as shopping, gym memberships and dining out. Be realistic about how much you spend on these items. It may even be helpful to track your expenses for a month or two. You might be surprised about where your money is currently going, and you may discover some savings opportunities.

2. Pay yourself first.

Decide how much you should save each month and take that money out of each paycheck. Think of this as “paying yourself first.”

The easiest way to do this is with an automatic deduction going into your savings account. That way, you can make saving a priority and not accidentally spend that money on something else. Ideally, you should have three to six months’ worth of emergency savings that is easily accessible in the event of unexpected expenses.

In addition to a savings account, be sure to contribute to the Thrift Savings Plan and take advantage of the government’s matching contributions. Once you are contributing to your account, you can seek out other investment opportunities.

3. Have a plan to tackle debt.

If you have debt such as holding a balance on a credit card, create a plan to pay it off as quickly as possible. Once you pay the monthly minimum amount on all of your debts, use any leftover money to pay off debts one at a time, starting with the highest interest rate and working backward. If you have multiple high-interest rate cards and want to simplify your payments into one bill, you may want to consider a debt consolidation loan.

4. Ask for help.

Finally, don’t be reluctant to ask for help. Consult an independent financial advisor who can evaluate your needs and prescribe affordable, high‐quality solutions.

These tips can help anyone take control of their finances. But for Millennials in the military, they are especially important because cultivating good financial habits early in your career is the best path toward a secure financial future.

If you’re looking for more financial planning tips and advice, speak with one of our Financial Advisors today — 80 percent of our Advisors are veterans and military spouses who can personally relate to the unique challenges you face.

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