4 investing tips all millennials should know

There are nearly 76 million millennials living in the US right now. Out of those 76,000,000 young people, Google logs just under 90k searches per month for "investing tips for millennials".

90,000/76,000,000 = 0.118%

Clearly we aren't too concerned with investing. (Yes, I know there are other search terms people use, but the idea is still the exact same- young people just aren't interested in this stuff).

So why do millennials suck so bad at looking at the big picture? We either

A. Don't understand how much investing can truly change our lives OR

B. Are too distracted by the here and now

I think it's a combination of both.

We've grown up in a world of Snapchat, 6 second Vines, and one-liner memes on Instagram. The A.D.D. frenzied consumption of media is all we know; we move from fad to fad, viral video to viral video, and we never stop to realize that 99% of what we look at is a complete waste of time. So when the topic of investing comes up (and how millennials should save for retirement), it's doomed to fall on deaf ears. But you know what? That's not an excuse.

At the end of the day, we're responsible for the outcome of our own lives. We can choose to spend all day on Twitter and binge watch Stranger Things, or we can take the time to learn a few skills that will set us up for success for the rest of our lives.

If you want to break the one percent, you need to take investing seriously. I get it. It's not a priority for you right now. You need to make it one.

I recommend starting your investing account with TradeKing. It's extremely easy to open an account, and at $4.95 per trade and no account minimums its one of the more millennial-friendly (and trusted) investing services. With our link you can even get $100 in free trade commissions(way more than enough to get started). Seriously, just open an account and get started while you're here- don't put it off because we both know you'll never get it done if you wait. Take action!

Alright, so there are two big mental barriers that a lot of millennials face when it comes to investing, but they're actually pretty east to get past.

1) You think you don't have enough money to get started

False. That might have been true a decade ago, but not today. Like just said, many investment services don't have account minimums. So quit kidding yourself- if you have even 5 bucks, you can get started.

You also want to get the ball rolling with your investments now, while you still have a ton of control over your cash flow. Once you have a family, kids, a mortgage, etc., the game changes. Big time. With some discipline and planning, you can actually save a lot more than you think.

If you're dead-set on starting with more money, here are a few ideas to get that extra cash:

2) You have no idea what the hell you are doing

I think this is a huge flaw in our K-12 education system- there's almost zero focus on personal finance. So up until now, you've never really had to think about grown-up stuff like this, so figuring out how to invest in your in your twenties and thirties can be feel overwhelming.

There's good news though: with today's technology, it's actually easier than ever for anyone to get started (even for someone with no experience).

I wrote a quick a little book on it, but the gist of it is to keep things simple- you only need a couple of funds (ETFs is what they are called, short for Exchange Traded Fund) to build a solid portfolio.

So without further ado, I'd like to share my 4 top investing tips for millennials.

Investing Tips for Millennials: 4 Key Pieces of Advice

Step 1: Understand that time is on your side

And it won't always be that way. The power of compounding becomes much stronger the longer you can let it your money work for you.

Consider this: If you start saving $100 bucks a month at 25 years old (just $1,200 a year) you'll have $187,500 by the time you're 65, assuming a 6% annual return.

Think about it this way: this result is the same as paying $100 a month for a Lamborghini. Investing is awesome.

HOWEVER, let's say you waited ten years and didn't start saving until 35 years old. Keeping everything else exactly the same, you'd end up with only $94,800. Barely half of what you would have had before. That's why I'm pushing you so hard to get started now. Time is money- literally.

Step 2: Automate everything and get out of your own way

Regular contributions are the key to really blowing up your account (the good kind of "blowing up").

The best way to make sure you keep up with regular contributions to your investments is to set up an automatic bank draft each month that goes straight to your brokerage account(s). By automating your savings, you won't be tempted to spend that extra money each month on stuff you don't need, since the money just goes straight to your investments.

If you don't make it automatic, it is SO easy to just skip a month or two (or three).

If you have a 401(k) at work, make sure you are contributing the maximum for each pay period that your employer will match. This is basically free money for you, don't pass it up!

Step 3: Keep your fees low

Step 1 showed you the power of compound interest. Unfortunately, it also works just as potently in the opposite direction. Yes, I'm talking about fees.

Assuming you'll be building your portfolio using ETFs (I don't recommend buying individual stocks until you are much more familiar with the ins and outs of investing), you'll be paying a small annual fee for each of those funds. This isn't a bad thing, as long as you keep yourself in check.

You are likely best off using low-cost index funds that mirror the stock market (for example, an S&P 500 index fund). This also takes away your excuse of not being a stock market wizard; index funds are a great way for beginners to invest. Index funds have extremely low fees which have made them quite popular among both new and experienced investors.

As a general rule of thumb, you should try to invest in funds that have annual expense ratios under 0.50%. There are plenty of funds that are even under 0.20% per year. If you're paying any more than .5%, you're being ripped off. Don't get ripped off.

Step 4: Be Aggressive

While you're in your twenties (and even into your thirties), you should probably be really aggressive.

In order to achieve higher returns, often times it means taking on more risk with your investments. Remembers, stock prices fluctuate every day with the market, some more than others.

Because you have time on your side, learning how to invest in your 20s allows you to take a more aggressive approach with your investments in hopes of locking in higher returns. This means favoring stocks over bonds, and buying companies that have higher growth potential (and more risk). If you choose to be conservative while you're young, you risk losing out on market gains and compromising your long term savings and retirement goals.

Investing early sets the stage for you being a baller in retirement. And maybe even before then, if you do it right.

Letting your money work for you while you are busy crushing it at your career or your own business (the best path to true life-changing wealth), is so important. As millennials, time is the most valuable asset that we have. And investing is one of the most effective ways to leverage both your time and your money. Do it.

I want to challenge you to be proactive and take steps starting TODAY to get your finances in order and open up that investment account. Even if you only start with a hundred bucks, generating just a tiny bit of momentum is key.

The post Investing Tips for Millennials: 4 Keys to Killing the Game appeared first on Breaking the One Percent.

RELATED: Finance tips you need to know

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Making your budget work for your lifestyle

"Are you on a laptop all day? Would keeping an excel file or Google doc file help you track your expenses easier? Would it be more convenient to keep an old fashioned pen and paper type of budget? How about keeping a running tab on the fridge so that you are tracking all expenses?

The bottom line is do whatever works for you! Make it as easy as possible for you to stick to your budget by fitting your budget-keeping into your lifestyle." -Everything Finance

Revisiting your goals

"For the few that actually look at their goals again, it’s common to revisit them only at the end of the year. This is a crucial error.  As our circumstances may change day to day and month to month, so will our goals. A lot can change in twelve months, which is why I propose reviewing once a month, or at the very least every three months.

Revisiting also keeps our desires relevant.  It’s helps us remember that we even have them.  Ideas aren’t enough, we must execute.

As the great Thomas Edison said, 'Vision without execution is hallucination.' " -Jiu-Jitsu Finance

Increasing your income

"After you have lowered your expenses, it is time to bring in more income. There are many ways to bring in more income especially during the holiday season. Maybe your full-time gig will let you work extra hours for overtime. In addition, retail stores typically hire for the holiday season. That part time holiday gig could turn into a longer gig...

Retail jobs aren't the only part-time jobs available. There are plenty of other side hustles you can pick up right at home to make extra money like: Freelance Writing, Virtual Assistant, Social Media Management." -Financially Fit & Fab

Turn on your automatic savings

"Another no-hassle way to save is by setting up an automatic transfer to your savings account. By automating your transfer, you're making sure that you don't forget or pay your savings last–and as a bonus–automating your savings means you never "see" that money and subsequently makes it sting a little less.

Two new apps that I am loving lately are Digit (which has a cult following). It automatically transfers money from your checking account you won't miss. I also love Qapital, which has rules you can set to "save the change" from your purchases. I saved over $75 my first month of Qapital, which was really astonishing to me. Click here to give it a try." -Financial Best Life

Develop the habit to spend with cash than card

"To spend with cash is also an actionable way to get out of debt. According to the research on peoples spending with credit cards; it was revealed that those who shop with credit card are impelled to spend more on luxury items because they feel they are paying with “play or fun money”. In other words, people who shop with credit card spends more than required.

Evidently, finance advisors hold a strong stand on this. They strongly advise that people who are working on eliminating their debt should cultivate the habit of spending cash, to avoid being tempted to spend on irrelevant items." -MoneyMiniBlog

Leave your wallet in the car when shopping
"This trick is simple but impactful. When doing any kind of shopping, use cash, and only take the amount of money you want to spend in the store with you. Leave all other cash, credit cards, and debit cards in the car.

This is very powerful, especially when grocery shopping. In addition to the amount you plan to spend, you can consider bringing in a small cushion of a few dollars (in case there are hiccups at the register). You will shop (and spend) completely differently when you only have a hundred dollar bill with you versus a hundred dollar bill and your debit and credit cards.

Don’t give yourself a way to spend more money than you want to — and you won’t." -Hope + Cents

Start and maintain an emergency fund

"There is no fixed formula for how much you should have in an emergency fund. Some school of thoughts say 6 months’ worth is sufficient, some say a year’s worth. Everyone’s situation is different and as such, each strategy should differ. To start however, I would suggest understanding your spending habits, and then implementing a 3-6-9 guideline.

3 Months: If you are single without kids, renting, no car, partially dependent on parents for income or any combination of these factors, start off with a target of 3 months’ worth of expenses for a rainy-day fund.

6 Months: Married, kids under 18, own a house or condo, own at least one car, or any of these combined, the base target should be 6 months’ worth of expenses (if married, base it off the income of the highest earner).

9 months: Self-employed, freelancers, anyone with a volatile job or unpredictable paycheck, 9 months’ worth should be the benchmark." -Investment Conversations

How students should avoid the debt trap
"The easiest way to prevent yourself from falling into the debt-trap is by living within or below your means (that is, not overspending). In addition, it is necessary to do research before getting credit cards (or signing any contract to take on loan/ debt) so that you really understand how it works. As a student, you must learn to treat your credit card with respect.-Investment Conversations
Build a budget and stick to it
"There are many free apps available to help you track expenses, but I always prefer using my own spreadsheets. That enables me to have the most control over what I’m doing. I understand that being able to access your spreadsheet on your phone makes tracking significantly easier, which is why I prefer Google Sheets over Excel. You can download the Google Sheets app and pull up your expense tracker wherever you are to input a transaction or monitor your spending. By combining the expense tracker as separate tabs within the same spreadsheet as the bill tracker, you can have all your finances in one easy-to-access location." -The Budget Boy
Create an automatic savings account for travel.
"Here's how this automated system specifically works for you and your travel fund. Once it's set up, it goes like this:

-Your checking account receives income.

-The next day, your checking account automatically transfers money to a separate (different bank) savings account—aka your travel fund.

-Transfers repeat every month.

-You end up with a big, fat travel fund to see the world." -Take Your Success

Know your interest rates and then lower them
Know Your Interest Rates
If you have anything that you are making payments on every month, you need to know how much interest you're paying. Make sure you know these numbers, too. Ideally, you'll want to pay debts down that have a higher interest rate first. However, there is another school of thought out there that suggests paying the bill with the lowest balance first. I'd say either way is fine as long as you're making progress and as long as the higher interest rate stuff isn't astronomical.

Action: Look at your statements or call the companies to get your current interest rates on all monthly obligations.

Negotiate Lower Interest Rates
If, by chance, you ARE paying astronomical interest rates on any of your liabilities, call and try to negotiate a lower rate. Oftentimes, if you've demonstrated a history of paying on time, the company will work with you to reduce your rate. The only trick is, you have to ask.

Action: Know your numbers and call the companies to negotiate if you're paying high interest rates.
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