Saving is the best way to become a home owner, but most millennials are struggling with the basics when it comes to financial planning.
New research from Commonwealth Bank shows a worrying 61 per cent of Australians aged 24 to 39 do not have a regular savings plan, and 14 per cent said they live pay cheque to pay cheque.
The same survey also found that more than half of millennials (58 per cent) intend to buy a home within the next five years.
So, in other words, most millennials want to buy a house but aren’t sticking to a dedicated savings plan to make it happen.
Here are some tips to bridge that gap.
1. Goals, budgets and savings plans for millennials
The first step to savings success is working out where you want to go.
Are you saving for a house? Holiday? Or just for fun?
Once you’ve got a goal, Hugh Robertson of Centaur Financial Services said budgeting and saving tools can help you organise a savings plan.
But don’t forget the basics, either.
“You need to firstly understand where all the bills are, then technology can wrap it all up and consolidate it nicely for you,” he told TND.
Goals, check. Spending tracker, check. Now you need to work out how much of your income you want to spend and how much to put away.
There’s a sweet spot between saving enough to meet goals before your retired and being so frugal that you have no fun, Mr Robertson said.
A common strategy is to try to save about 20 per cent of your income.
2. The moves good savers make
There are a few savings no brainers you’ll also want to get on top of.
First, make sure you’ve got a separate savings account, preferably one with a higher savings rate than your everyday one – free money, folks.
Better yet, consider setting up an automatic transfer to an account in an entirely different bank, Mr Robertson said.
“It could be in an online bank, because you’re not going to need to access the money,” he explained.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll want to rein in unnecessary expenses:
- Focus on paying off outstanding debt first to prevent interest bills
- Audit all your monthly subscriptions and consider what you need
- Try deleting UberEats and other delivery apps – they’re pricey.
Another trick is a bit more social. Mr Robertson said that one of his secret strategies to saving has been to get a handle on his priorities.
In other words, you don’t need to be a hermit to become a good saver, but you also can’t just splurge on anything and everything you find.
“Find things that are important to you, and then feel free to spend money in those areas,” Mr Robertson said.
“Spend there, but don’t spend on things that aren’t a high priority.”
3. Have you thought about investing?
You might also want to consider putting some money into a diversified investment vehicle, like an exchange traded fund (ETF).
It’s a little risky, but with house prices as high as they are, more savers are turning to investing to give them a leg up before getting to property.
You’ll want to do a fair bit of research before doing anything like that though, check out our guide on ETFs.