Millennials are the most educated generation in history, but they are still learning how to deal with the student loan debt of more than $1 trillion that they have accumulated.
On Tuesday, March 31, millennial influencer Chelsea Krost and MoneyTips CEO Marc Diana joined together with 25 finance experts, CFPs and money influencers to help millennials establish a positive relationship with money and support the lifestyles they want.
Judging by the great response, finance and college loan debt are at the forefront of the millennial mind. The Millennial Next Door Finance Chat (#MillennialTalk) generated an astounding 29.7 million impressions and reached more than 1.9 million unique users, according to analytics platform Nuvi.
The questions discussed in the chat were crafted from statistics gleaned from MoneyTips’ landmark Millennial Next Door study, which surveyed 291 successful millennials and formed the basis for the free eBook, “The Millennial Next Door: How To Be Financially Successful In Your 20s”.
A selection of the best and most informative tweets follows. Please note that all tweets contained the hashtag #MillennialTalk, which we have removed for the sake of brevity.
The chat started by asking millennials to describe their version of success.
- Mary Beth Storjohann (@marybstorj): “Financial success = getting paid to be in a career that you're truly passionate about and can make an impact in.”
- Samantha Klein (@samjoyk): “Financial success has been redefined to include financial, emotional and experiential factors.”
However, The Broke And Beautiful Life author Stefanie O’Connell warned that massive student debt is weighing heavily on the way her generation approaches investing and therefore has altered its definition of success.
- @brokeandbeau: “#Millennials want #financial freedom, but their hesitancy to #invest might prove a major barrier in attaining that goal.”
That served as the perfect segue into the question of how to handle student debt. In the MoneyTips survey, 40% of millennials had more than $15,000 in debt and 30% said that student debt has impacted their ability to be financially independent or successful.
Those numbers angered John Graham, who tweeted:
- @InstaGraham1906: “College is the only institution that will lend a minor $100k without having credit, a job, or the means to repay. #Disgusting”
CFP® Kate Homes advised changing our approach to higher education.
- @the_Kate_Holmes: “Don't rush into getting loans. Take your time getting a degree. You don't need to have your life planned out just yet.”
Financial Planner Michael Kay said that getting out of debt has to take priority over other financial desires.
- @FinLifeFocus: “Student debt is choking millennials. Attack as aggressively as possible.”
That sentiment was reinforced by CFP Katie Brewer, who said planning is the only way to get back into positive cash flow.
- @KatieYRL: “Figure out what you owe, know the differences in payment plans, portion out your budget.”
Successful millennials are listening, with 87% of them keeping budgets. For the rest of the generation, however, budgeting remains an anathema.
Budgeting tips from the experts:
- @MoneyTipsSocial: “Don't call it a budget, it's just tracking your expenses. Important to know where your $ goes.” Adding a reminder: “Pay attention to things you don't even think about: eating out totals will shock you!”
Jeff Rose, CFP, suggested taking advantage of technology in numerous tweets, talking about how easy it is to keep budgets using smartphone apps.
- @jjeffrose: and @YNAB are the hipster way to budget.”
What steps can millennials take to live within their means without drastically changing their lifestyle?
- LaTisha Styles (@YoungFinances): “Prevent lifestyle creep! With every raise, put aside a percentage in savings.”
- Thias Shefchik (@thiasCPA): “Implement the 3 day rule. Don’t buy items on impulse. Pause and give it a few days to see if you still want it.”
- Joe Saul-Sehy (@AverageJoeMoney): “Identify priorities & cut where there isn’t one. Love coffee? Buy expensive and cut TV. Love Community (I do)? Cut coffee.”
- @the_Kate_Holmes: “Look at your spending and ask how much #happiness each item truly brings you. You’ll be surprised.”
Other highlights included advice on saving for retirement, dealing with credit cards, increasing financial literacy and how to set – and reach – long-term financial goals:
- Bob Higgins (@DaltonFinancial): “Pay cash (same as paying off a card each month) for items that depreciate. Save debt for things that appreciate.”
- @AverageJoeMoney: “Life is about interest rates & priorities. Low rates? Chuck as much toward retirement as possible. #CompoundingFTW”
- MoneyTips co-founder Michael Dubrow (@MichaelDubrow1): “Fully fund your #401k. That’s the best deal anywhere. You’re compounding your money w/ someone else’s match!”
- Roger Whitney, CFP (@Roger_Whitney): “Your net worth statement is the KEY document to tracking your financial progress.”
- Winnie Sun (@sungroupWP): “Find a money buddy. It can be a parent, sibling, friend or even an advisor like us. Have someone you can talk money w/.”
- Ebong Eka (@ebongeka): “Money is a score card and progress equals happiness. Lower debt, more 401k saving, additional income sources!”
- Michael H. Baker, CFP (@MichaelHBaker): “Also consider that retirement is just an artificial finish line – no one quits their passion!”
The #MillennialTalk moved so fast, and was packed with so much useful information, that it was nearly impossible to digest it all as it happened. MoneyTips put together this Storify recap with all of the best advice and expert information.
If you missed the #MillennialTalk but still have questions about managing your finances, MoneyTips has hundreds of financial professionals available to offer you free advice. Just post your question in the green box in the upper right-hand side of the MoneyTips.com home page and an expert will respond within one business day.