How Millennials Are Changing It All

It’s fair to say that Millennials are an unorthodox bunch, right? To say the least, we’re delaying home and car ownership, and putting off marriage and parenthood until we find ourselves more financially independent. However, I keep asking myself, “What’s financial independence?”

Despite higher education levels (compared to my parents), we are still making significantly less money than our counterparts from decades ago. If you’d like to listen to my experience in financial services for a year and a half I’d be more than happy to share. And while more of us are going to college, we’re also finding ourselves strapped with student loans that will take years to pay off because of compounding interest. This is probably why some of us are putting off relationships and marriages!

This long era of bank failures and scare job security has forced my generation to look after one another. In reality, we have been forced to become self-sufficient which, for many of us, means being self-employed. Combined with how tightly technology is ingrained in our culture, we are better equipped to research and share knowledge in a transparent way. This has led to a rise in entrepreneurship. Given the current economic times, not to mention how they could play out in the upcoming years, we have turned to creating our own jobs and finding unusual ways to jumpstart our careers.

My generation (well some of us) have a preference for setting aside money, whether it be in the form of a rainy day fund, 401(k), IRA or whole life insurance. Last year, a survey revealed that 67% of Millennials will save by any means necessary, even if it means eating ramen noodles and drinking watered down protein shakes.

More than half of Millennials contribute the maximum amount to their retirement funds to benefit from an employer match. Unfortunately, that won’t be enough because those people clinging to job security, savings, retirement plans, and other relics of the past will be the ones financially-decimated from 2010–2020, the most volatile world-changing decade in history.

So how exactly are we saving? Remember, this is a generation that suffers from a mainly flat-income environment and has seen little, if any, raise at all in their paychecks over the past year. As an example, I’ve been paying myself first, changing my shopping habits, and living a minimalistic life (for now).

What do I mean by that? As Robert Kiyosaki says, “Financial freedom is available to those who learn about it and work for it.” At the end of the day, I’ve always wanted to put my name on something. I just wasn’t sure if that was a white board, brick, piece of real estate or a book. Nevertheless, I’m confident in the legacy I’m creating because of my disciplines and trainings which started at 22 years old.

As an example of spending habits, which we all have my friends, I would like to briefly introduce you to a radical concept. A paradigm shift as some would say. According to a 2015 report, America’s biggest online sales day still doesn’t come close to topping China’s biggest cyber sales day, Single’s Day, which is the largest shopping day in the world.

Chinese shoppers spent more than $14 billion last year. IN ONE DAY! I can only imagine how much they spent three days ago. Clearly, we’re not nearly as close as they are, yet. However, with Cyber Monday dominating Black Friday in today’s day and age of click-and-order, Walmart shutting down hundreds of stores, and the advancements in technologies, the choice of consumers have changed.

Last year, 7% of all goods and services were purchased online. That means 93% of goods and services were still purchased in the physical store(s). What’s going to happen when that number rises to 10%, 14% or even 25%? Wouldn’t you like to get a piece of that double-chocolate-chunk pie?

For those of you shoppers looking to spend any sort of money during this holiday season I’m sure you’d appreciate SAVING MONEY TOO! If I told you major retailers offered you money for shopping at their store(s) what would you think? Most likely that I’m crazy, delirious and fibbing, right? I’m not. For example, Macy’s, 4%. Home Depot, 2%. Ace Hardware, 2%. Boxed, 2%. JC Penny, 2%. Kmart, 2%. Apple iTunes, 4%. Overstock, 2%. Petco, 2%. Quill, 3%. Coach, 2%. Forever 21, 2%. L.L.Bean, 2%. Travelocity, 4%. Vera Bradley, 2%. And thousands of other stores too!

I am no mathematician, but 2% — 7+% compounded overtime is greater than the savings percentage we’re currently getting in our PNC, Wells Fargo or American Express accounts. Sometimes if you want to achieve the impossible you have to see the invisible. Damn, interest rates were nearly invisible for years! I may have a healthy disregard for the impossible, which is true. If you take the roots of that word you get I’m possible…maybe you’ll catch that one on the way home. In all seriousness, at this point in my life I’m doing things that most people would not and here’s why. It’s always the people no one imagines anything of who do the things no one can imagine. You must take risks in your life!

If you REALLY want to, take the money that stores are willing to PAY YOU for shopping through them and invest it in a savings account that will put money in your pocket, not take it away. Invest in your family, your future family and supportive friends (aka mentors and leaders). But most importantly, continue to grow your mindset because at the end of the day you’re growing or dying. I believe in YOUR growth and excellence!

My Very Best,

Donovan Vogel

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Philadelphia based teaching financial literacy | Prospering all other hours | Writer | Lifter | Reader | Traveler | Freedom & Wellness

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