Just the other day, I saw this post on social media. I’ve redacted the face and name.
This was written by a young millennial, judging by the age of the person in the headshot picture. It sort of broke my heart. It wreaks of hopelessness.
He is wrong on more than one level, and I’ll explain it point by point in order to give you hope for your future! Knowledge leads to Belief leads to Hope!
1. Quarantine does not equal retirement in real life.
His post implies that being stuck at home in quarantine is similar to retirement.
I know that a lot of retired people spend a lot of time at home.
But let’s remove from the discussion those that want to be home. Perhaps they spent their lives on the road or simply worked out of the house and now want to hang at home. My granddad was like that. After a lifetime in other people’s homes performing flooring services, he was very happy to spend the rest of his life, until age 90, “stuck at home”. I know he was happy doing so. He told me so.
For those who stay at home against their will, let’s hazard a guess that they are medically or mentally unable to leave. Many are ill, and my heart goes out to them.
Perhaps a few are under house arrest? Not my problem.
For what other reason does a retired person stay at home, except by choice, physical/mental infirmity, or government mandate?
2. No money does not equal no retirement.
His post implies that millennials will never have the money to retire. But that pre-supposes that retirees with no money must stay home.
The rest of retirees, in real life, are not staying at home. I know, and so do you, because we see them everywhere!
This group can be divided by those who have enough money to do what they want and those that do not.
Those that have money are travelling, visiting families, taking up hobbies, or who knows what else. I hope to travel the country in an RV and write. If you have enough money to do what you want in retirement, I want to hear from you… what are you doing in your retirement?
Those that don’t have lots of money are still out and about. There are so many super-cheap or free things to do that if you have the ability and desire, there’s no excuse. Many volunteer, join clubs (Lions? Rotary? American Legion? VFW? Just to name a few) or simply get outside. I want to hear from you, too. What are you up to in retirement? Give millennials some hope!
For those that have the resources, they can do what they want. For those that do not, they can still get out of the house, if they’re physically able and want to get out.
Retirement does not have to be like a quarantine.
3. Millennials are more financially savvy than boomers and GenX generations.
His post implies that millennials will never have the money to retire.
You and I know a bunch of millennials. I’ve hired a bunch, too. My observation is that, as a group, these young people are more financially savvy than we were. They start investing early, they control or omit debt, and they tend to keep up on their bank balances. They embrace new tools to manage their money, like on-line access and computerized budgets. They don’t seem afraid to ask for advice.
That’s not to say that millennials have it all figured out. They’re still young. I’m just saying that as a group, they’re smarter than others at the same age. I’m not sure why, I’m just observing.
So why the lack of hope from this dude and other’s like him? Is he on the left of the financial knowledge bell curve? Or has be bought the lie that he will never get ahead?
It is a lie. This is America. Everyone here with ability and attitude can get ahead. Not ahead of their neighbor or their friends they see on social media. Not ahead of the Kardashians. Not ahead of Buffet. That way lies envy.
They can get ahead of where they were. They can get ahead of where their parents were at the same age. They can reach their potential. They can change their family tree. If they want. It takes hard work, sacrifice, and ability. It takes smart decisions with their money. That way lies hope.
4. Millennials do not have more student loans than can be paid off in a lifetime.
The post implies that something will keep millennials from retiring, and I hear their reason all the time. Student loans take a lifetime to pay off. Many millennials feel they will retire and die with their student loans.
It doesn’t have to be that way. I see four ways to make this happen. All require thought and hard work. Sorry, there is no free lunch.
A. Don’t do it. So many young people see college as required education. It is not required. It’s not even required to get ahead. I have personally met thousands of tradespeople who are living testimony.
Instead, college is an investment in yourself towards a field of study. If you have the desire and ability to pursue a career that requires a college degree, or would be so advanced by a college degree that the benefits outweigh the costs, then college is for you.
If you want to do something that doesn’t require a college degree, then don’t go. Get started on your career right away, apprentice under a master, or consider an inexpensive trade school. There’s no need to pay huge money to get your career underway if it’s not required or advanced by a college degree.
I can hear you now. But college is a time to find yourself.
College may be a place to find yourself, for those who haven’t already adulted up. But it’s not the time to find yourself. Find yourself on your own time. If necessary, take a year between high school and college and get a job. See what life’s like. It makes zero sense to pay gobs of money to find yourself (and then find out you’re on the wrong track) when you can find yourself and make money at the same time.
B. Work your way through.
This is the Berry household plan. The missus and I are paying some towards the Berry boy’s college education. They’re working to pay the rest themselves. No money was saved in advance by anyone, so we’re all working our way through it.
Since they have skin in the game, lo and behold, they chose local in-state universities they can afford. And they’re doing it. Number one is almost done. Number two (he hates it when I call him that) is part way. They’re pulling it off, and will graduate completely free of student loans.
Maybe your folks can’t afford their share. Maybe you don’t have parents (I’m very sorry, but don’t let that stop you!!) Well, you’ll have to work twice as hard as my boys. Considering how much time they spend goofing off online, I’m convinced that’s feasible.
Also, don’t discount scholarships. The hardest part of giving away a scholarship is getting an applicant. I kid you not. I know from experience. People are so brainwashed into accepting that college isn’t possible without student loans that scholarships go unclaimed. Lots of them. Apply for a bunch!
One last thing: very few employers care where you got your degree. I hire mostly college-educated professionals. I haven’t yet cared a whit what school they attended.
C. Pay it off fast.
So, you have a student loan. That makes you screwed, so implies the post above.
That’s just hopelessness talking.
I know from experience that huge student loans can be paid off by millennials. I’ve personally helped millennials do just that. One couple had over six figures in student loans with payments based on income. The math said they would never pay it off. Yet, after some financial education, they increased their payments and will now be debt free by thirty. They’re not wealthy. They’re teachers. Yet they’re doing it.
It takes dedication, sacrifice, and hard work. It takes dilligence, fortitude, and perseverance. Wow, that does not sound fun. And it won’t be. But you accepted the debt and now you have to pay it off.
I won’t go into their story and the financial process here. Maybe a later post. Or, read the complete story in Buying Bacon. The link to buy is on http://www.bobberryauthor.com. I apologize for the shameless plug.
Or, if you’re not interested in my book, go to http://www.financialpeace.com to see how to get control of your money so you can pay off your student loans. They’re currently running a special where you can get the entire series at no cost to you!
Don’t tell me it can’t be done. I know for a fact it can.
D. Parents save and pay.
This won’t help you if you weren’t handed your college tuition by thoughtful hard-working parents. But if you have kids, this is where you can change your family tree. Start saving today. Talk to your accountant or a financial advisor about ESA’s and 529 accounts to save for your kids college. If you start when they’re little, it doesn’t take much to fully fund their college.
So, you see, this post by a hopeless millennial does not need to be reality. Millennials as a group are better poised to reach a dignified retirement than anyone before them. And if they have ability and the right attitude, there’s nothing stopping them from reaching their dream retirement!
See http://www.main-landdci.com for Bob’s Booklist which contains recommended reading on the subject of personal finance and retirement.