Why Aren’t Millennials Investing?

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Why aren’t millennials investing?

Millennials investing seems to be a scarcity in this decade, but it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t. So what’s the problem? Why aren’t we millennials investing more?

I can’t speak for everyone, but I know personally, my top reasons for not investing in earlier years are as follows:

 

  • Lack of funds. When I first graduated college in 2009, I was feeling the recession along with many other freshly graduated college students.
  • Lack of knowledge. I never felt confidently enough to invest. I thought the risk was much too large and that the return would reflect this.
  • Lack of skill. I did not create a steady budget for myself nor did I have any type of savings. My personal finance skills were nonexistent.

Over the years, I’ve educated myself and learned the importance of investing. I’ve also improved my personal finances by taking the time to grow my savings and seek out financial opportunities. But, despite the improvement of the economy over the years, the rate of millennials investing is still low. Why is this?

Various studies show similar reasons as mentioned above as to why the amount of individuals that dedicate time to invest is lower than in previous generations. If parents were not encouraging or enforcing the investing, it seems to have rarely happened on its own. Or rather, it takes longer for it to happen on its own.

We need answers.

While this age group tends to be stereotyped as self-centered and entitled folk who are focused on instant gratification and all things digital, these studies portray a different (and more accurate) light. In addition to simply a lack of investing confidence, Merrill Lynch’s Private Banking and Investment Group’s survey on millennials and money shows that this generation is very careful in making investment choices. They want to be “shown the math.”

We want more control.

Merrill Lynch’s survey also found that trust is a big issue for millennials investing. In fact, 72% of the 153 young Americans surveyed stated that they are “self-directed in their investing.” We’d rather be the ones making the decisions than having an adviser we don’t trust working with our cash. We want to invest with people or resources we personally trust rather than just any certified professional.

We’re more conservative (when it comes to investing).

Millennials, in terms of money, have been compared to post-Great Depression era. We not only watched what happened to our parents in the early 2000’s due to the stock market crash and recession, many of us experienced it ourselves after college. Jobs were harder to come by, and therefore, our focus has shifted. We are just as concerned about our parents and their future as  they are with us. UBS Investment Bank’s 2014 survey confirms this notion. We do our research and are much less willing to take high risks with our money. Although high risk investments do often yield high returns, we are typically holding more than half of our assets in cash, according to the research.

Surprisingly, the results of these surveys show that it is more about being careful and not as much about student debt. We are still feeling the effects of the financial crisis, and this generation needs more education on the topic in order to confidently create a diversified financial portfolio. Millennials tend to have more short-term investments instead of long-term, and we also tend to care more about life experiences than substantial wealth.

The good news is that there are more online tools and resources to help educate and guide millennials on investing. WiseBanyan and Acorns are just a couple of examples of investing sites to get a beginner started. Additionally, if nothing else, young Americans should at least focus on a retirement account as their form of investing, whether it be a workplace 401(k) plan or a Roth IRA.

Knowing the importance of investing is the first step in this process, and it’s one that we need to know we can truly benefit from with the right tools and knowledge.

Are you a millennial who invests? What routes do you take?

 

Money Tips for Millennials

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Millennials and Money

Millennials follow a different path than generations before them, in more ways than one. This group is reaching milestones later in life, such as getting married and starting families, and focusing on life experiences more. We’ve been given all the job advice in the world growing up; the thought that all you need to do is work hard to make it big. However, someone along the way forgot to give more tips on money, especially given the difficulty of finding a job, especially in their field of study, for many millennials.

Although unemployment rates have been decreasing in recent years, millennials still make up roughly 40% of the unemployed in the United States, according to this Newsweek article. This fact can make it difficult for this generation to get ahead, but the good news is there are ways to leverage your finances even if you feel you are working a dead-end job.

Here are four money tips for millennials that I’ve used to help my own finances:

Make saving a social thing. 

I don’t know about you, but I can think of at least five friends off the top of my head who have yet to get that raise at work. While we all love hanging out together, sometimes that involves extra spending that we really should not be doing. But, a way to spend just as much time together without emptying your bank account is to take turns hosting a girls’ night in. Buying some cheap wine and snacks accompanied by some movies and laughter is a great alternative for a night on the town, which can be $81 per night on average.

Also, the crew can ban together to do money-free weekends together. Even if you are not physically hanging out, you can still help to keep one another accountable. Plus, it’s great to have an excuse to bond with friends, especially over common goals.

Create other streams of income. 

If you recognize that you are in a dead-end job, hopefully you are taking steps to get out in order to improve your financial situation. If you are having a difficult time finding a new job (another post for another day), another option would be to create some other sources of revenue as you continue the search.

Seasonal jobs are a great option for millennials as they are often a bit more flexible, but you can also offer to use some skills or talents you currently have to gain some extra income. House cleaning, babysitting and the like are all great ways to make cash fast, but you can also consider freelancing, especially if you want to land that dream job.

Get techy with it. 

Investing seems so unattainable and intimidating before you actually start doing it, not to mention it can also be risky. But, it is a great way to grow your wealth. There are so many online tools you can use now to improve your financial portfolio without the intimidation. These resources cost very little to get started and are great for millennials. The best part is many of them allow you to create your own minimum investment amount, giving you more control over than ever.

Be smart with your options. 

In desperate times, you may be tempted to apply for a payday loan or sign up for another credit card to pay off other expenses; however, by doing so, you are only creating more debt for yourself. These quick options may be easy to get, but they dig your hold even deeper. Don’t get caught up in these fast solutions to solve all your problems; instead develop a strategic and specific plan that will get you out of debt and get you ahead. This plan may include automating a monthly savings amount, consolidating current debt, starting a retirement fund, and cutting back on leisurely spending.

This is another reason why having an emergency savings fund is so important; it will keep you away from wanting to (or needing to) resort to these choices. Avoid accumulating credit card debt and instead work on building your assets and net worth.


 

Millennials definitely have had to face many challenges economically that may not have been expected or predicted by previous generations. By spending some time being careful about your finances, though, you can slowly but surely build a reliable and steady financial future for yourself.

These are just a few ways I’ve focused on improving my finances. What have you done that works for you?

 

 

 

 

2016 Real Estate Trends

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Real estate trends for 2016

Real estate trends for 2016 are looking great, which may come at a surprise to some of you considering how well the market did in 2015. Can the momentum really keep going? The short answer, according to various reports, such as Emerging Trends of Real Estate: Yes.

The last couple years were the best the housing market has seen since 2007. While 2016 is off to a slower start than 2015’s market, investors and buyers should not worry about another decline any time soon. The market does vary from location to location, year to year, but with a decreased unemployment rate, things seem to be looking up in many areas. If you are looking to buy your first home (or a new home), you will want to consider the local job market first. Furthermore, this slowed pace is just an indication of the market returning to normal conditions after years of suffering from the housing bubble.

Before we look at this year’s real estate trends, let’s look at some of the contributing factors of this growth in recent years:

  • First, millennials have different spending priorities than previous generations, and they will have a major impact on the economy, according to this report by Goldman Sachs.  As Gen Y becomes more financially savvy, they are choosing investments they can make money on. Luckily for the housing market, homes are one of those investments. Despite it taking longer for millennials to start families and purchase homes than Gen X and Baby Boomers, they are contributing to this rise in the market and actually make up a large portion of first-time buyers.
  • Locations like Austin, Seattle, Denver, San Diego and Portland are among Emerging Trends 2016’s list of top 20 markets for real estate and development. The report also attributes this to the fact that many of these locations doing well in the market are also on the Kauffman Foundation Study top 10 list for entrepreneurship. Because of this, they are seeing many young business owners relocate to these areas for more opportunities.
  • Baby Boomers are reaching or are currently in retirement age and looking to downsize. This means more real estate opportunities in both selling and buying.

While many other factors contribute to the recent rise in the housing market, such as technology and globalization, here are some key trends happening in 2016 for real estate:

  1. A great year to sell. We’ve already mentioned the impact Generation Y has had on the market, but as millennials are reaching their prime spending years looking to purchase their first home, Generation X and Baby Boomers are looking to decrease their cost of living, after already spending years as homeowners. This means their contribution is a double function on real estate. While your local market does still determine the supply and demand of homes, this seems to be a trend across the board that will impact suburban areas, especially from those looking to start a family.
  2. The spotlight is taken by 18-hour cities. Areas defined as 18-hour cities, such as Portland and Austin, are perfect for millennials looking to advance in their career. These second-tier cities are developing rapidly and typically have a lower cost of living, hence their attraction to the younger crowds. They also provide lower costs for doing business along with similar job opportunities as the big scale cities, such as New York City and San Francisco. The 18-hour cities are perfect for investors right now, and 2016 will see more real estate investment options. It’s a great time to jump on this bandwagon.
  3. More office space comes in demand. With the rise of entrepreneurship and job growth in recent years, office space is also becoming more in demand. This means less vacant rental space for realtors and an increase in rents. An open floor plan is the latest trend for offices in addition to co-working spaces, thus resulting in a change in layout and design. These factors have all been helpful in strengthening commercial properties.
  4. Mortgage rates will slowly increase. Although there is a decrease in distressed sales property, mortgage rates are expected to slowly increase. The increase will mostly seem to be manageable as homeowners will begin to get creative with alleviating the amount such as utilizing opportunities through Airbnb. It will need to be taken into consideration, though, as this could mean borrowing more money with higher interest rates. Areas with the highest mortgage rates will see fewer (or slower) sales in real estate; however, the good news is that the pressure for affordable housing is on the rise. This brings me to the next trend:
  5. New homes to be more affordable. In previous years, new-home prices have been rising much more than existing-home prices, which makes it difficult for lower- to mid-level income folk to purchase a new home. Despite the profitability of building luxury-style homes, it limits potential financial growth and entry-level sales.  This year should see a shift from this strategy as home-builders begin to create a more affordable product.
  6. Unaffordable rents posing a problem. The cost of rent is excessively high in most of the United States, which is pushing people more toward home-buying options. This may seem like a positive trend toward real estate, it is in fact a concern. Due to low credit scores, limited savings and the like, purchasing a home for renting households is not an easy solution. The housing market does depend upon multiple key factors, and affordability and the economy are among them. If individuals are spending half of their income on rent, it can predictably hurt the overall well-being of the housing market.

Whether buying or selling, you always want to pay attention to your local market to determine what is best for you. Overall, as an investor or consumer, these key real estate trends should help to guide you along and keep you in the loop of what is happening and what is to come. In addition, it’s important to stay updated on the housing market regardless if you are currently involved in real estate. Consider these, along with location, before making your next big move.