The SmartyPig Blog

Start Thinking About Retirement: 5 Helpful Tips for Millennials

Guest post by Audrey Clark:

People who were born between 1980 and 2000 are referred to as Millennials. Experienced financial services writer Michelle Nguyen has found that, as a group, Millennials seem resistant to the idea of investing for retirement. They distrust the financial community and feel more comfortable simply saving their money, rather than investing it. They are also used to instant gratification, meaning that they typically prefer short-term profits to long-term revenues. These factors make it somewhat difficult for financial advisors to market to them in the traditional way. Nguyen, writing for Advisor Software Sales, notes that Millennials have witnessed so many severe fluctuations in the stock market that they have learned to be suspicious of common investment opportunities. A new report published in Bankrate.com stated that almost 40 percent of young people between the ages of 18 and 29 prefer to simply save their money rather than invest it. On the other hand, a recent survey showed that 70 percent of Millennials who began working at the age of 22 also started retirement savings plans. Goal-oriented financial planning works best for them. Advisors can help them keep focused on retirement goals and help them prepare for market fluctuations. Here are five tips that may inspire them to view retirement plans in a positive light.

  1. Don’t trade. Invest. Look more for long-term investments instead of frequently traded stocks. Most of the horror stories about major losses in the stock market are due to trading. Instead, young investors will feel more secure if they regularly invest a certain amount of money into an individual stock or mutual fund.
  2. Invest in dividend-paying mutual funds. Investing is easier when some benefits are received quarterly or even annually and not at some far off future age of 65. Mutual funds that pay dividends can be held in a 401(d), Roth IRA or other types of investment accounts. Young people can also save for a Roth down payment with Smartypig.
  3. Invest in precious metals. More than 50 percent of Millennials say they do not trust the stock market as a place to invest and do not want to depend on it as their sole investment vehicle. A safe and increasingly popular alternative is to invest in precious metals. Precious metal investing is often a good hedge against loss with other investments and is not subject to the extreme fluctuations that may be seen in the stock market. SBC Gold explains how a precious metals IRA works by using cash available within the IRA to purchase certain precious metals like gold, silver, platinum and palladium.
  4. Use technology to monitor retirement investment plans. Millennials have grown up with technology. Many are able to transfer funds back and forth between savings and checking by using a smartphone app. They deposit checks by simply taking a picture of the check and uploading it through their bank app. These digital natives should consider using a phone app to monitor their retirement investments.
  5. Learn as much as possible about all retirement benefits. Millennials should learn as much as they can about all investment plans, how they work, and what best suits their needs. They should participate in their employer-sponsored plans. If the employer matches funds deposited, take advantage of that benefit. Ask for recommendations from family and friends about investments and financial planning consultants. Seek counsel from professional financial planners and be prepared to ask questions.

The recession has it made difficult for many Millennials to plan for their retirement, especially for those who have had difficulty finding a well-paying job and/or are still paying off their student loans. Nevertheless, it is never too early to start saving for retirement. Author Bio: Audrey Clark is a skilled freelance blogger covering a range of topics from careers and finance to travel and leisure, along with everything in-between. When not writing, she’s always on the lookout for her next adventure. Connect with Audrey on Twitter and Google+.

How Are You Using Your SmartyPig?

We asked our users to give us a few of their goals in the new year, here’s what we heard:

My goal this year is to do things for ME. and learn to say NO to others more often – Karen W.
Buy healthier food but still not increase my food budget. – Sharon B.
Start a new savings goal each quarter. Sarah L.
Start a goal for car repair and new car purchase
Save up for new house I will buy – Blanca S.

Reaching Your Financial Goals

financial-goalsSetting them is the easy part; saving “more,” paying down debt, not using a credit card. We all have areas that need work and identifying them is the first step in this process. After you’ve discovered your weak areas, it’s time to set the goals and conquer them. Just like the nearly half of all Americans intend to do this January. The experts at US News discuss how we can get there in a recent article posted discussing resolutions and how to easily achieve them.

First and foremost, be flexible. Things come up – deal, and move on. You can’t prevent a blown tire (usually), so pay for it and continue your emergency fund saving as planned. Visualize and specify your goals. SmartyPig is great for that. Name your goals and relish in your monthly updates. Can’t you just feel that warm beach sun now? Lastly, find your motivation. Working towards a good financial base for your family, or rewarding yourself with a new TV for a good job at work. It’s important to keep your eyes on your prize.

Wishing you successful saving.

Sarah Foss, SmartyPig’s Media Mad Woman, SFoss@SmartyPig.com

The 52-Week Money Challenge is BACK!

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By popular demand, the 52-week money challenge is back. It worked so well this year (and really, it’s been around a while by a variety of names)

So how does it work? Well, it’s a weekly progressive deposit program. It starts small, and as you gain speed your deposits get larger, and your funds grow and grow. The best part? SmartyPig is a great place to do it!

We can’t wait to hear your success!

Does Saving Top Your List?

 

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Who knew New Years resolutions could be so expensive? And I’m not talking a few hundred dollars here and there; try tens of thousands. We all know gym memberships for weight loss and resolving to travel more don’t come cheap, but what about the money incurred trying to reduce stress? That could be $1500. Or getting a new job? Up to $6,000 for career coaching, new suits, and setting up a personal website. It all sort of makes you feel like you ought to add “spend less” to your resolutions list as well, doesn’t it?

While the experts at Bloomberg.com say “saving more” could cost up to $1,500, we’d disagree and say, saving with SmartyPig costs nothing. And in fact, you not only earn money for saving with SmartyPig, we help you spend better than anyone else, too. So while you might resolve to save for travel in 2013, when it comes time to book that trip, taking advantage of SmartyPig’s cash back incentives could reward you with a nice chunk of change towards your next trip…or stress reducing tactics. Whatever you might fancy.

Begin your savings goals this week with SmartyPig and make 2015 your best year yet!

Wishing you successful saving.

Sarah Foss, SmartyPig’s Media Mad Woman 
SFoss@SmartyPig.com

 

 

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