5 tips for millennials to secure your financial futures during the COVID-19 crisis
We are living in unprecedented times. The unprecedented use of the word “unprecedented” has been both hilarious and annoying. Global markets are the most volatile they have been since the financial crisis, economic indicators have plunged and uncertainty over employment and finances is rife. For millennials – a number of whom struggled to enter the job market after the global financial crisis and now find themselves in the midst of another crisis as young professionals – these are particularly testing times. It brings to mind a quote from a Batman villain which I will adapt with artistic license:
‘Others merely adopted crisis – we were born in it, moulded by it….’
So how do we continue adapting and making sure that all these hurdles that life will inevitably continue to throw across our running track are managed in a way that allows us to secure that proverbial gold medal of financial stability? I have outlined five tips below.
- Invest in yourself – Looking after your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing is of utmost importance. As useful as money is, it is just a tool for us to be able to do things to further our core wellbeing. By focusing on how we can improve ourselves and develop skills we end up being in a more positive mindset and may even find that this can lead to income from other avenues. Do things that bring you joy – Exercise, find online courses and videos to stimulate your mind, take up a hobby, study for a new qualification, meditate and pray. We have a lot more free time that we may not necessarily have had before so even taking the time to just rest and be still is important – listen to what your body and mind is telling you.
- Adopt a steward mentality – One definition of stewardship is ‘utilising and managing all resources God provides for the glory of God and the betterment of His creation’. Even if you do not believe in God an example of being a steward is when you borrow something from someone else – you make sure you look after it properly. I personally take the view that I should act as a steward over everything that I am given. As humans we are given the earth to look after and so we should care for the world and the people in it. In the same way, money is given to us to manage well. When you take the view that it is something that you should have stewardship over you begin to think more carefully about the decisions you make. Allocating an amount to a particular charity you are keen to support or to the church (even if it’s just £1!) is a good place to start. My view is that my money isn’t necessarily mine – it comes from God and it’s a gift that should be used well. For me that means tithing 10% of my income each month and responsibly investing with environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles in mind.
- Create a budget – We should all have a clear outline of where our money goes each month. If you have high interest rate debts to pay off this should be accounted for and you should know how much is being paid off and how long it will take you to finish. It can be difficult – especially if you have lost a job in this difficult time, but having a plan is key. Having a budget doesn’t mean you deprive yourself of anything fun, but it gives you discipline. There are some hard expenses that you have to pay each month, but you can make room in your budget for things that make you happy without sacrificing your long- term financial security. Be sensible and plan ahead.
- Save for short term goals – It helps to set goals for what you want to achieve as it gives you something tangible to work towards. Goals should be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound. For example, if you want to go on holiday next year and know you will need £1000 and you have twelve months in which to save for that holiday then your goal can be to save £84 a month in a specific pot towards it each month. Breaking things down into manageable chunks helps a lot.
5. Invest for long term vision – One thing we are not really taught about at school is how to invest our money. That is the reason I first set up my blog – to encourage millennials to invest early and secure their financial futures. Investing is basically making sure that your money works harder for you. When you save money and keep it in the bank, you may be surprised to find that it actually loses value over time. This is due to inflation (an increase in general price levels). Using one pound to buy items today would get you less than it would have if you had bought them last year. By putting your money into different things – financial markets, real estate etc, it has the opportunity to gain you additional returns over time. The earlier you start the better as your money can then take advantage of compounding which is the result of reinvesting interest and means that your money can grow much more in the long run. We live in an age where we have easy access to investing through roboadvisor apps and online brokerages so it is easy to start even if you only have small amounts of capital.
In conclusion, whilst this is a difficult time, there are definitely steps we can all take to help ensure we emerge from this crisis in a decent position to build for our financial futures. We started with a Batman villain quote and now to end with a quote from the hero himself to remind us how we should work towards our goals:
‘I have one power. I never give up. ’