You know about coin rolls?
The little wrappers into which you deposit 40 or 50 coins and, when it’s full, you take it to the bank?
Well, those were my toys growing up.
No, The Millennial Miser was not a deprived child. I had other toys, too. Matchbox cars. Basketball on my Little Tykes hoop and graduating to the full-size one in the driveway.
But money — more specifically, saving money — was always up there.
I’m a goal-oriented person. Always have been. That’s the way I think about money, budgeting, and investing. It’s about setting goals and making a plan to reach them.
Recognizing this, my parents bought me a bag of those coin rolls. Ten-year-old me didn’t have much money, but what I did have went into those wrappers and then off to the bank.
One Christmas, I got one of the motorized units that sorted the coins for you. (Much to my frustration, it seemed to have a low rate of accuracy.)
My goal wasn’t to buy anything in particular. I just wanted to see my savings account increase. Fifty cents or $2 at a time, no matter.
Nearly 20 years later, the goal is the same. This time, there are more concrete savings goals — and the target numbers are a little bigger!
I’m a millennial. Perhaps you’ve heard about us. We’re the generation that — depending on which side of the 20-year generational period we were born in — got hammered by the Great Recession early in our career, or watched it impact our families while we were growing up.
So, millennials should have it in their DNA to be good at personal finance.
But many are not.
My generation suffers from a lack of understanding about money, budgeting, investing, short- to mid-term goals, and retirement. Ironic, because we’re the first generation to have grown up with the Internet.
Yet a lot of personal finance advice is tailored to people already “in the know.” Too often, there’s a barrier to entry into investment options: a minimum investment amount, or technical jargon to learn, or the feeling of making a costly mistake.
K-12 education is another problem. I remember getting less than one week of personal finance lessons in high school.
Think about that. Something that will help determine your quality of life forever gets less than a week of attention in school. You get four years of education on topics that sure won’t help you live, but will help you on a government-mandated exam.
In the years since, I’ve taken up a passion for personal finance. My first job out of college taught me to be an intense budgeter. I’ve navigated loans, learned about tax returns, and clipped coupons.
I’ve defined my financial goals, and have started to develop a plan to reach them.
I also have a lot to learn.
The point of this blog is to share my tips and the lessons I learn along the way. I want as much of my generation to be financially independent, and to avoid the avoidable mistakes of generations before.
Millennials have the benefit of time to reach our financial goals. But we have to know where we’re going, and we have to start now.
Even one coin roll at a time.