You may be early in your career so may not have amassed many assets yet. You may be juggling long-term goals for saving and retirement planning, with other priorities such as paying off student debt, saving for a house or paying off a mortgage, saving for your children’s education, traveling, or just growing your career. It can feel like a lot. If this sounds like you, then we are here to help you navigate these challenges.
What is a financial advisor for millennials?
Financial advisors for millennials provide financial planning and investment advice specifically tailored to those born between 1981 and 1996, commonly referred to as millennials. The majority of financial advisors in the past focused on wealthy retirees, but now there are financial advisors who specialize in a variety of stages of life.
Millennial-specialized financial advisors can develop customized financial plans that address millennials’ common financial challenges. With a focus on millennials, our financial advisors understand the unique challenges you face, such as paying off student loans and choosing the best college savings account for your children.
Why is financial planning important for millennials?
Financial planning is important for everybody. However, it is particularly important for millennials. Millennials live in a time of increasing cost of goods and services. It’s becoming harder for millennials to purchase their first home and inflation may be eating away at their hard-earned savings. Millennials have unique financial needs and money challenges that other generations have not faced.
5 basic financial planning rules for millennials
- Start a structured savings plan: A good starting point is to look at your salary, monthly expenses, and other things that you are spending your money on. From there you can work out how much you should be spending and saving to meet your future financial goals. A highly effective approach for saving is to determine a specific amount and then have that automatically taken from your paycheck and deposited into an investment or savings account.
- Invest according to your goals and risk appetite: Every person will invest differently because we all have different goals and risk appetites. Risk appetite is how much risk you are willing to take when you make an investment. High-risk investments can yield higher returns but can be extremely volatile whereas low-risk investments yield lower but more stable returns.
The riskiness of your investments should coincide with your financial goals. If you are looking at purchasing a house in the near future, then you probably want to make low-risk investments since you won’t be able to ride the waves of the stock market. There are many different investment options such as mutual funds, stocks, direct equity, bonds, real estate, gold, and so on. Make sure you invest according to your financial goals, not the latest fad.
- Diversify your investments: By diversifying your investments, you are reducing the amount of risk you will incur since you’re not putting all your eggs in one basket. Different investments have different risks involved with them. For example, mutual funds may be considered riskier than putting your money in a fixed deposit. However, mutual funds will generally have higher returns. By diversifying your portfolio, you can reduce the amount of risk you are exposed to while also maximizing your returns.
- Have an emergency fund: An emergency fund, or a rainy day fund, is money that you set aside for life’s unexpected events. If you lose your job or need to pay a large medical bill, then having an emergency fund will help you avoid getting into debt and it will make those stressful situations a lot less stressful.
Plan for your retirement: Retirement planning can often feel like it’s a long time away. However, it’s important to plan for retirement because you won’t be working forever. You will probably want to invest in tax-advantaged ways that are specifically geared towards retirement such as an employer-matched 401(k) or an IRA.
A study found that only 58% of Millennials are saving for retirement. Another study by NAPFA found that 38% of millennials feel underprepared for the future. 34% also said that a lack of financial guidance is inhibiting their ability to prepare for retirement. A financial advisor can help you create a retirement investment strategy so that you feel more confident and prepared for the future. The sooner you start saving for retirement, the sooner you will also benefit from compound interest.
What are millennial financial challenges?
Millennials face several challenges that are unique to their generation. Some of these challenges include
- High cost of living: The cost of living has risen dramatically over the past few decades. This can make it hard to save for a down payment on a house or to pay off debt.
- High levels of student loan debt: Millennials are burdened with high levels of student loan debt and carry an average balance of $33,173 per borrower. This can make it hard to achieve other financial milestones.
- Lack of financial literacy: Many millennials lack basic financial literacy skills. This can make it hard to understand the importance of financial planning for the future. A recent study found that among the overall population, millennials are the age group with the lowest level of financial literacy. Only 24% of millennials in the study demonstrated basic financial literacy.
How do millennials find financial advisors?
1. Search on Google: If you are searching for a financial planner, then you may want to consider going to Google first and searching for terms such as “financial advisors for Millennials” or “financial planning for Millennials”. This will provide you with a few options for financial advisors who specialize in millennial clients.
2. Look for a fee-only certified financial planner (CFP®).
You will most likely want to work with someone who has CFP® credentials, has a fiduciary responsibility to their clientele, and is a fee-only financial planner. A CFP is a credential given to financial planners who have extensive experience working with financial planning and have passed a rigorous certification exam.
A fee-only financial advisor offers financial advice, investment management, and other financial services for a set fee. They do not earn commissions from recommending certain products or services and there are no hidden fees. You can rest assured knowing that they have your best interest at heart.
3. Here are 4 great websites to find a fee-only financial planner near you:
- National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA): a non-profit association of fee-only financial planners.
- The XY Planning Network: the majority of the fee-only financial advisors listed here work with Generation X and Generation Y clients.
- Fee-Only Network: all of the financial advisors listed here are fee-only and are fiduciaries, meaning that they act in your best interest.
- The Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Board: this is the entity that administers the CFP® designation which is perhaps the most well-known and trusted financial planner designation. However, not all CFP® professionals are fee-only financial advisors so make sure to ask.
What are some key questions to ask a millennial financial advisor?
1. Are you a fiduciary?
First, you will want to confirm that they are a fiduciary financial planner. This means that he or she will act in your best interest.
2. How do you get paid?
You will want to work with a fee-only millennial financial planner who has transparent pricing. Fee-only financial planners only get paid through the fee. There are no commissions, kickbacks, or referrals.
3. What are your credentials?
Look for financial planners with either a CFP®, AFC®, or ChFC® designation. They have undergone rigorous training.
4. What is your client demographic?
It’s important that your financial planner has experience working with people similar to you. If you are a millennial then you will want to work with a financial planner who caters to millennials.
We also put together a list of the top 10 questions to ask a prospective financial advisor to help you navigate the interview process. This will help you decide which financial planner is right for you.
Do you need to be a wealthy millennial to work with a financial planner?
There is a general misconception that you need to be already wealthy to work with a financial advisor. Financial planning can actually help you even when you are early in your career and are trying to save and manage your student loans. Your financial plan will then change and evolve as your life unfolds.
A 2021 survey found that 65% of millennial investors are likely to begin working with a financial advisor over the next two years. If this is you, you may want to look for a financial advisor who works specifically with millennials and someone who can create a detailed roadmap for your financial future.
Why hire District Capital as your millennial financial planner?
District Capital provides financial planning for professionals and entrepreneurs in their 30s and 40s. Our strong investment team has worked with over 300 professionals in their 30s and 40s in the tech, consulting, government, non-profit, and small business owner world. We have encountered almost every personal finance issue that millennials face.
As a millennial-specific company, we understand the unique challenges that millennials face. We also understand that millennials are busy and have a lot of priorities so we hold virtual financial planning meetings to maximize time.
Financial advice for millennials in 2024
Financial planning is a lot more than just money. We all have unique goals and money is a means to accomplish them. It’s a good idea to work with a financial advisor who is attuned to your specific needs and can help you navigate through life’s financial decisions. Here at District Capital Management, we specialize in financial planning for professionals in their 30s and 40s. Book a complimentary discovery call to see how we can help you achieve your financial goals!
Alvin Carlos, CFP®, CFA is an investment advisor and fee-only financial planner, in Washington, D.C that works with clients across the country. He has a Master’s degree in International Relations from SAIS-Johns Hopkins. Alvin is a partner of District Capital, a financial planning firm designed to help professionals in their 30s and 40s achieve their financial goals through smart investing, reducing taxes, retirement planning, and maximizing their money. Schedule a free discovery call to learn how we can help elevate your finances.