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The Millennial Guide to Not Being Financially Shafted

It’s what my readers have asked for.

So many millennials are being sold and told crazy financial information, typically from a friend, salesman, bartender, cell phone store or heck you can fill in the blank. Because of the source, and the unwillingness to appear uncool, many end up making poor choices.

College – Do not have a major that does not translate into a job.  I have met tons of people that have incredibly interesting majors that are working at a low-level job.  Take a look at what the college will cost – especially how much student loan debt you will have when you graduate.  Now look up and see what that job will pay.  Go to for an idea (there are other websites).  Does the career pay enough for you to live and pay back that loan?  If not, then choose another major.  You are not selling yourself out – you are being a realist.

Let’s start with the job.  You are trading your hours for their dollars.  The more you know and differentiate yourself from the other applicants, the more you make.  How to get ahead: work hard while you are there, take classes to forward your career. Find someone a couple of levels above you; ask them if you could meet with them for 10 minutes one day.  Ask them what you need to do to get promoted and then do it.  You’re spending the time there anyway – might as well work hard so that you are noticed for your initiative. 

This is how you should be spending your money on (based on your monthly take home).  If you spend the minimums you will only spend 87% of your paycheck.  Now you can enjoy the other 13%.

Saving 10%
Housing 25   – 35%
Utilities 5 – 10 %
Food 5 – 15%
Transportation 10 – 15 %
Clothing 2 – 7 %
Medical/Health 5 – 10%
Personal 5 – 10%
Recreation 5 – 10%
Debts 5 -10 %
Charitable Gifts 10%

Life insurance should be $25,000 to $50,000, unless you have children or other people depending on your salary.

Cell phones are included in utilities.

Cable is included in recreation, so if you have all the channels and the fastest internet – you might be spending some time at home.

Work stock options – In most cases, if you are offered stock that is traded publicly at a discount, you should get it.

Company 401 (k) – if the company matches, contribute up until the match – come on, it’s free money (my favorite kind).  In the long run, stocks tend to outperform everything – the earlier you start, the quicker your money is working for you.

Debts include student loans.  If you have maxed this out already, no buying anything on credit until this is tamed.  You can’t afford it.

Look living within your means isn’t sexy – but it’s smart. This is the path to being financially comfortable. Spend less than you make.  Enter into contracts with the knowledge that you can afford them.

Be smarter than your friends.

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