I was having a conversation with an acquaintance recently and they had given up hope that they could ever be in a better financial position. In fact, this person said that they would be broke for the remaining of their life. I was taken aback by those words; why would someone so young believe that there is absolutely no way to get out of the whole of bad financial decisions or simply financial illiteracy.
Have you ever felt that way? That you are so below water that even swimming to the shore is impossible. Do you know anyone who feels that way or do you even feel the same about someone? The truth is, any millennial has the ability to get unstuck financially, to stop being broke. If you’re tired of having no money, or not enough money, there is a path to escape. I believe it requires personal responsibility first, a willingness to take ownership of one’s actions, bad and, or poor. You will then need to be proactive and strategic and this might involve one or some of the following.
1. Break your bad financial habits
Do you spend your hard-earned money on things you don’t need without allocating a portion to savings? Are you an impulse buyer? Are you relying on your credit cards that you don’t pay back on time? Do you carry large amount of balances on your credit cards while only paying the minimum required? Are you always eating out? These are just some of the bad money habits that could be keeping you in the hole. It’s very important to budget your money in a way that allows you to leave under your means. There are needs and there are wants. Unfortunately, myself included, we fall sometimes for the trap of the wants and consequently do not delay gratification. As I mentioned in my book Money-Smart Millennials, financial stability is impossible without the discipline of delaying gratification.
As a banker, I realized that most people know the habits that hurt them financially. They recognize that they should draw a line in the sand and start fresh with better habits but somehow they end up falling behind. It may sound simple but it is not an easy process, especially if you haven’t been disciplined for a long time. So, take courage, set a goal that drives you and start today, breaking the bad financial habits.
2. Find ways to increase your salary
I am all about diversifying and finding ways to have several sources of income. However, it is equally important to leave no stone unturned in your current job. I have observed that so many people crippled by fear, timidity, inferiority complexes, never ask for a raise.
Increase your salary by doing the job with integrity, by working diligently and by continuing your learning. If unfortunately, your work is not recognize, looking for better opportunities may be the solution.
3. Consider a change of career
Many of us end up in a career that we want to move out of. It might be that we made the wrong choices in college, or our parents might have pushed us into something that we didn’t really want to do. Whatever the reason, it’s never too late to make a change. There are jobs that are both high-salaried and personally rewarding. After a quick Google search, we came up with science & biotech jobs, advertising & marketing positions, and careers in computing & technology. Think about what you’re interested in, and do a similar search for careers that will reward you both financially and personally.
4. Diversify your income
A side hustle can be a second job or any other money-making opportunity that can boost your monthly income. It might even be your own business, which once grown, could replace your current career if you want to escape from it. There are loads of ideas here, from freelancing ideas to coaching jobs, so have a look and consider anything that is viable for you.