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The millennials are an educated, open-minded, and a culturally-diverse generation. Being a well-connected bunch, millennials tend to be conscious with their money. And a study from the 2016 Schroders Global Investors Study observed that millennials prefer short-term investing. Their fast-paced lifestyle demands fast results, hence, short-term investing fits such needs well. However, while they are keen short-term investors, research also shows that this generation are putting their savings all in the wrong places.
Time is the most important asset for a millennial. They have decades before they retire and have long enough time to invest - one thing they should realize! But the lack of millennial presence in the long-term investing scene makes time spent unwisely. So, for millennials out there, a smart investment is something you dynamic and young savers should consider! And here is a long-term investing guide to help the tech-savvy millennial ensure a healthier financial future.
1) Eliminate Your Debt First.
Yes, the drive to understand investments and the risk it takes attracts a millennial. But before anything else, you have to eliminate debt first. According to a report by Manulife, there are four out of ten Filipino investors who are indebted, and most of these Filipinos are under 35 years old! On the average, millennials below the age 35 are indebted with around P291,582 compares to P207,428 by their 35-49 year old counterparts. Getting rid of debts while investing is a head-to-head battle in terms of priority. Iron out your priorities, it is advised to be debt-free as quickly as possible so you can concentrate on investments and get a healthy financial lifestyle.
Millennials are indeed exceptional! They are more tech-savvy, have more opportunities to learn and go to school, are really more competitive, open-minded and ethnically diverse. However, half of millennials live paycheck after paycheck. Budgeting is as important as your social life! This is a financial solution that disciplines your spending and savings behavior. It is exhausting to live on a mediocre income. So, if you consider long-term goals, then start budgeting. If you don’t have a budget framework, you can always use the 50/30/20 rule of thumb for budgeting: 50 percent towards needs such as housing and bills, 20 percent towards financial goals, like paying off debt or savings, and 30 percent for wants, like dining or entertainment. (Winks)
3) Invest for long-term.
While millennials can be competitive and go-getters in nature, it is not quite true when investing. A lot of working age millennials do not invest because they say they don’t have enough money. The lack of investment knowledge keeps them from starting to create their own portfolio. They hinder their investment path for the fear of uncertainty. But with access to information available and opportunities to go try, that shouldn’t be the case. So, instead of letting your savings park in your bank accounts, you could invest into mutual funds. While short-term investment is good depending on the economy, long-term investment is better, ideally 10 to 15 years! Because TIME is the key in stocks investment.
4) Make good use of technology.
Modern investing becomes more convenient as they cater to the growing millennial population. Millennials love a smooth and easy experience when it comes to handling their finances. They expect real-time information on their deposit and credit accounts and they generally want to be able to flip through new information on the fly. There are apps you can download and install on your mobile phones to give you real-time updates and trends on economic changes.
Even better, there are applications today that allow you to invest and manage your investments through your smartphones, a far-cry development that successful investors of the past did not have access. You might want also to read finance blogs to help you increase your financial I.Q. as well- it’s also one of the key secrets to success!
5) Don’t rush, start small.
No pain, no gain! As millennials, you should understand that long-term investments don’t build your money overnight. You have to be patient. While a lot of you have grown to get your wants and wishes in a snap, long-term investments tests your investment character. Avoid entertaining such thoughts of easy long-term investments. Also, keep your portfolio small and simple. Don’t be greedy to buy all stocks in the market, especially if you do not know what you’re getting into. The ideal portfolio contains four to eight stocks. Anything more will be difficult to manage, monitor, and will pose a greater risk.
6) Ask the Right People for Advice.
The first thing most millennials do is ask their peers, family and friends about investing, but that might be the worst strategy, because what works (or worked) for them won’t necessarily work for you.
If you want an expert, objective and sound advice, ask the professional who can look at your financial snapshot objectively and give you sound advice on how to approach investing- the smart way!
7) Be aware of the presence of risks.
Risk is the middle name of most millennials, however, when investments don’t turn out the way they expected, they would blame the markets for all the loss sustained. Keep in mind that every investment has its risk.
8) Find out what type of investor you are.
There are two types of investors: the aggressive and the conservative investor. For a young investor such as millennials, they generally fall on the conservative side. Now for many starters, it is recommended to do cost-averaging method, it is one of the easiest strategy you can use when you start investing. So, don’t mind the “Buy Low, Sell High” concept for now because such techniques are used by the big players in the investing game.
9) Bet On Risky Investments While You’re Still Young.
Yes, you are young but you don’t have to be entirely conservative like your grandparents! Being risk-averse at a young age wouldn’t help you learn. That being said, go and bet on risky investments. Try and learn to play the game, but be sure to invest only what you are willing to lose on the risk.
10) Diversify Risk.
Since the stock market and the economy are, by their nature, very volatile and uncertain, don’t put all your eggs in one basket, instead diversify your risk. Spread them in different fund baskets. Of course, before doing that, you must also study the stocks that you are investing in. Just ask the right people which among the fund baskets would give you the gains, but don’t expect too much, even the best people in their fields can’t escape this unpredictability. A wise decision-making and caution go a long way.
11) Don’t Panic.
If the stocks fall, the one thing that you should not do, is to panic. Do not panic if there is an economic slump. It is normal for both the economy and the company to go through hard times! Don’t join the bandwagon of withdrawing investments, that will just cause the market further distress! Remember this golden rule? If you believe in the company and they are still presenting profits, then your investment will be alright. After all, TIME is the key in investments. You’ll be shook to know that your investment may triple or may increase a ten-fold in the next decade.
12) Learn and learn more.
Learn more about what you are getting yourself into. You don’t have to always rely on what the experts recommend. Attend seminars and various talks about investments. Read and discuss what you know to like-minded people. In time, you will be able to make wise decisions. So, instead of crunching your time scrolling and shifting from one social media account to another, why read about investing in stocks, right?
13) Reap the rewards.
Celebrate your milestones! That’s one way to keep you motivated in the game. You only live once, so indulge on your rewards, but always do that in a smart way.
Investing young will be one of the nicest gifts you can give to yourself ten or twenty years from now. Remember that starting now, no matter how small the investment, is better than nothing at all. Anyone can invest in the stock market, even a young millennial can. You don’t need six figures to start, you can really start with a small capital. So jumpstart your investments and turn those three zeros into six zeroes. Good luck young investor and may the economic odds be ever in your financial favor!
Carol Soriano is a consultant for PawnHero.ph, the very first online pawnshop in the Philippines. A writer at heart and a social media enthusiast, she finds personal finance, investment and money matters interesting topics.