Planning for Retirement – A Millennial Perspective

February 10, 2022

Growing up, my friends and I were always asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I wanted to be a starting point guard in the WNBA until 7th grade when my life ambition changed to becoming a professional volleyball player. Some answers from my peers included: singer/songwriter, nationally known standup comedian, Hollywood actor/actress and an NFL quarterback. All we could think about was how much money we would make and what we would spend it on. Making an appearance on MTV cribs, fancy cars, fancy clothes, all the technology and a dog or three was all that was on my mind. When I would tell people my career aspirations, I almost always got laughed at. Let’s face it, at 5’0, it would have been extremely hard for me to spike a volleyball on Gabrielle Reece’s 6’3 stature. 

I can’t tell you how many times I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I can’t tell you all the ways people my age planned to spend their fortune when they became a superstar. I can tell you, however, that not one of those people ever mentioned saving for retirement. That was the last thing on any millennial child’s mind. But, we’re adults now. Some became lawyers or doctors; some went to work for a family business and some are job hopping while trying to find their purpose.  Regardless of the path they took, planning for retirement and developing an emergency fund is probably one of the last things on their mind even today, superstar or not.

I wasn’t taught to save. I wasn’t taught to manage my money appropriately. Therefore, I didn’t think I needed to. I had no idea what a fiduciary was. I had no idea I needed an emergency fund. I wasn’t thinking about my savings plan or planning for my retirement. I thought, “I’m too young to be thinking about retirement” and “I’d rather spend my money on things I can have now, rather than put it into a 401k that I won’t see for years!”

My life took a very different path when I turned 25. I landed myself a job in the financial industry with American Trust Wealth Management, a company that has taken me under its wings and has shown me the importance of helping people achieve their financial dreams. Unfortunately, not every millennial will have the life changing opportunity to work at a financial services firm and learn from fiduciary investment advisors who only have your best interest in mind.  Yet, millennials need this guidance.

I read an article on BestLife stating that millennials aren’t prepared to retire due to a combination of things such as pricey rent, the amount of student loans they may have and low paying jobs (number six on the list). A survey they produced showed that 66% of millennials have nothing saved for retirement.  Yikes!  The sooner you can start saving for retirement the better even if it’s just a little bit in the early stages of your career.   Instead of eating out for lunch every day, pack your own and put that money toward savings or your retirement plan.  Consider brewing your coffee at home instead of paying $4 for an extravagant coffee each morning (this one is particularly hard for me).

Parents of millennials- help your children understand the importance of developing financial goals and planning for retirement or seek the guidance of financial resources to assist you. As your family fiduciary, American Trust Wealth Management can help you have these conversations and implement a plan that best fits your needs and the needs of your children. We are with you for every step of your family’s financial journey.

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