Money Lessons From Millennial Finance Success Stories

Taking Advice and Using Technology Are Helping Millennials Financially

Millennials jumping near a lake
••• Trinette Reed/Getty Images

As millennials age, they start thinking more and more about their long-term financial health. And by looking at the success stories of some millennials out there, you can understand how to get your own financial house in order before it gets too late.

A recent Bank of Report found that those born between 1981 and 1997 are doing just as well or better than older generations when it comes to money management and career confidence. Among the findings: 63% of millennials are saving, 59% feel financially secure, and 73% of millennials who have a budget stick to it every month, or most months.

But they face significant obstacles as well. A higher percentage of millennials are living at home compared to previous generations, and overall millennials face largely flat wages as the cost of living all around them continues to rise.

Here are some of the lessons you can take from successful millennials that can help you to overcome some of these obstacles.

Let Technology Handle Finances

One advantage that millennials have that their parents and grandparents didn't have is lots of technology at their disposal.

“They’re automating it all—savings, investing, credit card payments, you name it,” said Peter Faust, a certified financial planner and wealth advisor with Texas-based wealth management firm Tanglewood Total Wealth Management. “The millennials who are doing a good job don’t really even have to think about it. The 401(k) contributions and savings are all going where they’re supposed to go, automatically.”

Apps like Wealthfront, Mint, and Acorns have changed the game, connecting people to their budgets and savings like never before, said Connor Swofford, co-founder of Paytronage, a dual-sided marketplace connecting institutional sources of capital to students interested in receiving income share agreements (ISAs).

“You can just look down at your phone and connect with your portfolio in a matter of seconds,” Swofford said. “You can invest your spare change into paying off your student loans, or see instantly how much that latte you just ordered is going to set you back. You’re so much more connected to your money than someone who balances their checkbook once a month.”

Use Increasing Wisdom

The millennials at the high end of the spectrum are aging, and with age comes wisdom.

“If you were born in ‘82 as opposed to ‘92, you are going to be more comfortable in your financial path. You’re not out at happy hour every night,” said Arian Vojdani, an investment strategist at MV Financial.

According to one report, it’s the younger millennials overall who feel more optimistic about the economy. They spend more money on prepared foods and at specialty beauty and apparel retailers than do their older counterparts. Meanwhile, older millennials are outspending the younger set when it comes to home and kid-related purchases. That more responsible, more parental mindset is showing up in their saving and investing behavior.

There’s no doubt that the millennials who are doing the best are the ones who have reached the point where their focus is on buying homes and raising families, Faust said. “These are millennials who have made the conscious decision to save for their future," he added. "Of course, it’s easier to do that with a higher income."

Listen to Your Parents' Advice

Millennials also have a wealth of information at their disposal in the form of advice from their parents.

“There’s nothing genius or secret going on,” said Vojdani. “They haven’t cracked some unknown code in the market. The millennials who are doing well are doing things that their parents did, like putting away 10% of their income, contributing to their 401(k), not living beyond their means, having an emergency fund, you name it. Some of the techniques have changed, but the playing field is the same.”

Some of them might even be doing it better than their parents, Faust says, since they have access to savings vehicles that were just coming about when mom and dad were entering the workforce—investment retirement accounts (IRAs) and 401(k)s both came onto the scene in the 1970s.

“Most millennials recognize that the onus is on them to save,” Faust said. “They know that pensions are an anomaly. If they get a raise, they aren’t succumbing to lifestyle creep. They’re going to ramp up their 401(k) contributions, and sock away as much money as they can.”

Article Sources

  1. Bank of America. "2018 Better Money Habits Millennial Report." Page 2. Accessed March 30, 2020.

  2. Pew Research Center. "Millennial Life: How Young Adulthood Today Compares With Prior Generations." Accessed March 30, 2020.

  3. NPD. "Segment and Sell to Gen Y: 10 Ways Younger and Older Millennials Shop Differently." Accessed March 30, 2020.