I’ve spent the last three months listening to and watching popular financial podcasts and videos targeted toward Millennials and Generation Z – so you don’t have to. And the knowledge I have learned I’ve compiled into the ultimate financial information list. So grab a notebook, coffee and get ready for my millennials guide to money.
To begin, here are the sources that provided the information I will discuss below. I highly recommend engaging in this content, as it has really transformed my financial situation.
All Round Financial Inspiration
Now that we have covered where I have gotten my information from, let’s get into my internet education in finances. Enjoy!
1.0 Super Important Superannuation
One of the most common topics when it came to Superannuation (Super) discussions was the focus on consolidating your accounts. When we start our first jobs we generally are signed up to our employer’s Super provider, and we get paid into that on every pay cycle. However, it is SUPER easy to have additional accounts opened when you change jobs, work more than one job or (overtime) forget about your high school job and the fact you ever even had previous accounts.
Not only is it vital that you are aware of ALL your Super accounts because it is quite literally the money that will support you once you retire. But it is also essential to be mindful of the fees you are paying. Because the more accounts you have mean more of the payments you’ll be making for administration and other company charges. So, the quicker you bring your accounts together, the less of a chance you have of losing track of your Super.
Unfortunately, like so many financial activities I have learned that they are not ‘cut and dry’. Meaning there is often not one clear solution for everyone and Super accounts and consolidation fall into this category.
For all the Aussies out there, the myGov website enables you to locate your Super accounts (if you have more than one) and consolidate them, if you choose to do so.
But remember, before closing accounts make sure you are no longer getting contributions from your employer to that fund. Also, ensure you tell your employer if you are changing your accounts, so you do not miss out on any contributions.
One piece of advice that is explained further on the moneysmart website is the importance of doing your research before consolidating your Super to ensure you are choosing the right account. They discuss how the account with the most money should not always be the one you choose to merge into. They also mention how research may show a brand new account to be more beneficial for you to consolidate into.
Interestingly, as I found on the moneysmart website, over 70% of Australians have life, TPD and/or income protection insurances through their Superfund. I had no clue that this was a thing because before listening to these podcasts and watching these financial videos, I had NO knowledge about Super and what it did. But this fact makes it super important for you to understand what insurances you have through your Super account/s to ensure
- it suits you, and you are being insured for what you want;
- the insurances you have from your fund plays a significant role when you consider consolidating accounts.
Also, be aware that some companies may charge exit fees, so make sure you are aware of this before closing and consolidating your Super.
Also, another thing I learned is how one Super account equals only having one fund to keep track of and contribute additional money to if you feel financially fit to do so; making your life simpler.
2.0 Don’t Have Accounts With Fees
As Victoria Devine very simply said in her episode on the KIC Pod, there are plenty of accounts with no fees, so why are you paying for banks to hold your money and paying these fees?
It is essential to look into any bank account before you open it to ensure that these fees are either non-existent or understandable/reasonable. However, that is a critical discussion to have with a financial advisor or your banker.
I have spoken to a variety of bankers at a variety of banks over my life to get further insight into accounts I was looking into opening. This allowed me to get the full picture of the account in laymen terms, so I could make a personal decision as to whether or not I went ahead with opening the account.
3.0 Respect Everyone’s Money Story (including your own)
Money Story is a term I first heard the fantastic Victoria Devine delve into multiple times on the She’s On The Money podcast. And then she also continued to discuss it on other podcasts she appeared on including her episode on the KIC Pod. This concept is one that got me thinking when I started to focus on finances earlier this year and has helped me respect my money situation, but also be more aware and considerate of other’s.
I was fortunate to grow up in a family where money was an open topic. I never felt like I couldn’t ask my parents for money advice. And I think this has a lot to do with them opening a bank account for my sister and me when we were young and involving us in the process of going into the bank to deposit and withdraw pocket or present money.
I am incredibly grateful to have had such a positive money story, with my family always instilling within me the ‘it is not how much you earn, it is how much you spend’ mentality. And this advice is something I apply every day in my life which has empowered me to make sound financial choices and be considerate of my income before I make purchases. Also, coming from a family where they ran and continue to run their own company, the focus on hard work and commitment for long term success is something I saw every day. Understanding that success and money do not just come to you; you have to work every day for it and make sacrifices (within reason) to reach your goals.
I mentioned present money before because that was something that was always very present for me growing up. But is something I now know is a weird concept for other people. Being gifted cash is something that my family has always done. Always teaching me the value of money by being encouraged to save my money and buy something I really want. Rather than being continually gifted tangible items I really did not need or want.
However, I have an extremely distinct image of me telling a close friend of mine that I got cash for my birthday, and she was quite surprised that that was considered a gift; always having been given physical items as gifts in her family. And from my money story point of view, I do not have a problem with that. I do not think that being gifted/not being gifted money is a massive reflection of money values or family financial situations. However, I do believe being exposed to actual cash and having to go into the bank to put that into a savings account, then withdrawing it when I wanted to buy something was a practice I am grateful for. Along with teaching me how to use an ATM, it also exposed me to the practice of taking out money and seeing my bank balance drop when I wanted to buy something. This taught me to value money and strive to shop as mindfully as possible.
4.0 Don’t Overlook The Importance Of Investing (& compound interest)
Despite extracting so much knowledge and tips on investing from this content, investing is something I need to look more into to grow my financial portfolio. Apart from having a few term deposits over the past three years, I have not done any other investing.
Currently, I am looking into the super popular micro-investment platform Raiz, which is one that has been touched on a few times in the content I have listened to and watched. And I do have A LOT of friends who utilise this platform, but as I have been continually saying – you have got to do your own financial research, and that is precisely what I am currently doing.
However, as Victoria Devine and multiple other people have taught me, INVESTMENTS ARE KEY. With there being lots of small and large ways you can get involved in the investment game to boost your finances.
I always had the mindset that investing was for people with a cushy income and financial situation. And while it is vital that you can afford to spend money and part with it for however long your investment runs, you do not need to output massive sums to get a good return.
She’s On The Money’s ‘a rookie’s guide to investing: part one & two’ is a FANTASTIC starting point for understanding investing from a complete “I have no idea what I am doing” thinking process to a “hell yeah I am an in control money master” – that’s how I felt anyway.
As long as you can do so, consist investment is where I have learned you are going to get the most benefits, as it becomes part of your lifestyle. Also, the earlier you start investing, the more benefits you will reap from compound interest.
Not sure what compound interest is?
Well, as Victoria Devine very clearly discusses it on She’s On The Money, it is your interest’s interest. So, the longer you have money invested, the more interest you will receive. And then when you re-invest your investment with your interest, it compounds as you continually invest more. (how many times can I say ‘invest’ in one paragraph?).
But remember, that all investment ventures come paired with a certain level of risk. You must educate yourself to find out what suits your financial situation and seek advice from friends, family or a financial advisor.
5.0 Have Clear Long & Short Term Financial Goals
Want to pay off your Afterpay? Buy a house? Pay off your HECS early? Go on a holiday? Get a car?
Financial goals are a MUST when it comes to getting your finances organised and feeling in control of your money. And these do not always have to be massive long term goals like buying a house or saving for your wedding.
While long term goals are essential, I have also learned that we should all have short term goals that are easier to reach in terms of timeframe and monetary amount. It is easy to lose motivation or forget about goals when they are so far down the line, and we struggle to see the endpoint with the small amount of money we have in our accounts currently.
However, short term goals that may only be a few hundred or thousand dollars allow us to ensure we stay on track. They enable us to receive the joy of reaching these goals sooner and reaping the benefits from achieving these objectives (e.g. no Afterpay debt!).
These short term goals could be to paying off Afterpay, buying that handbag you’ve loved for years, saving up for a fancy dinner out to celebrate your birthday, buying your parents a really lovely Christmas gift of something they have wanted for a while. Whatever it is, make sure you are giving yourself the chance to reap the rewards of working to save so you can translate that motivation to maintaining your long term goals too.
6.0 Credit Cards Are Only For The Essentials
We can’t always afford to cover emergency costs including doctor bills, car problems (etc) which make credit cards a great financial support system IF YOU NEED. However, if you are trying to get on top of your finances, getting a credit card and using it for everyday items like clothes, coffees and holidays it not such a good idea.
In the KIC Pod episode featuring Victoria Devine, Laura Henshaw commented on how her mum said there is nothing worse than going on a holiday and still having to pay for it when you return home; and I agree! Credit cards (especially at our age when we are trying to assist our financial situation to flourish) are for unexpected essentials that we need the money for right away. We can’t be dipping into our savings to cover these expenses or prep for them in our budgets, so these cards do offer peace of mind.
However, make sure you 100% understand the card you are signing up for and have read the terms and conditions; preparing for fees and charges that may occur for using the card or missing repayments. So again, make sure you speak to a professional before committing to a credit card.
7.0 Make Money a Talking Point
One thing that these podcasts and youtube videos have made available is a source of accessible, honest and relatable financial discussion and education from a mix of everyday people and professionals.
For me personally, I don’t want to go a speak to my family accountant or a financial advisor at this stage of my life. Not only does that intimidate me a bit, but for right now I don’t feel like I need to be spending that money when I can find this generalised information online and then disperse it into my personal life as I need to.
Being able to find this wealth of relatable information online has empowered me to talk more to my friends about money. It has allowed me to strengthen my bonds with them as we learn each other’s money stories and help each other get our budgets in order. Between one of my friends (who I share the same pay cycle with) and myself, it has become an exciting Thursday night activity to split our money up into our saver accounts and speak openly to each other about our budgets for that coming fortnight. This has allowed the trust in this friendship to flourish and creating a supportive environment for us to speak frankly with each other within. We are also able to work through our money problems and worries together; taking the scary parts out of money and saving at this young age.
8.0 Empower Others
One of the biggest reasons I wanted to write this post was to empower others to deal with their finances. As I understand, not everyone wants to or has the time to listen to and watch the multitude of content that I have been immersed in over these past three months to educate myself around my finances.
And the best way, in my opinion, to empower others is to educate and support them. So, despite not being able to control other’s financial decisions as money is something so personal. We can be as open as we feel comfortable with and encourage others to do the same. Even something as simple as sending others a link to this blog post, or sharing a video or podcast link with them. Or also listening and watching this content together so you can both discuss your thoughts on the financial topics discussed is a great way to empower others and also grow personally.
9.0 Be Realistic and Honest With Yourself
If you are only earning $1500 a fortnight, is it really attainable for you to be living in an inner-city, multi-bedroom apartment that is taking over 50% of your pay in rent costs? My answer to that and from what I have learned from all of the information I have taken away from these podcasts and videos is NO!
There is a broad mix of information surrounding how much of your paycheck you should be spending on things like rent, food and so on, but I have seen 20-30% as an average amount.
Being realistic is relevant to all aspects of your financial life. How often can you afford to eat out? Do you ALWAYS need to buy high end makeup and clothing? How about you try thrifting, or finding dupes online?
Can you only stay in 5-star hotels on your upcoming holiday? Or should you look at some nice lower star hotels that would provide you with similar experiences; allowing you to return home with money still in the bank?
Being honest with yourself will allow you to unpack your personal financial needs, so when you break down your paycheck, you can better organise the dollar amounts or percentages you are splitting into different accounts. Being transparent with yourself will also allow you to catapult your control of your finances and reduce the risk of overspending or unexpected costs popping up as you are always preparing yourself. Is your best friend’s birthday coming up? Well if it is, be honest with yourself and distribute money to a fund that will allow you to afford something for them. You may need to pull back in your clothes shopping or eating out budget for that cycle- but at least you are prepared and do not fear those extras costs.
10.0 Budgeting Doesn’t Have To Be Boring (it’s actually fun)
Not only does budgeting not have to be boring, but it also does not have to be as stringent and mundane as we all think it is. You don’t have to input every single thing you spend into a bland excel spreadsheet and pull your hair out if you overspend in one area. Budgeting should make you feel empowered and in control of your money, not anxious and stressed every time you go to add something in.
What I have learned is that if you are feeling anxious when it is time to look at or edit your budget, there may be something more profound happening that you need to address. You might need to be more honest with yourself with what you are spending compared to how much you are earning and adjust accordingly.
There are levels to budgeting, all aiming to just bring your awareness to what is coming in and going out of your accounts—also bringing awareness to areas where you could reconsider or pull back your spending in. Furthermore, allowing you also to be more prepared for upcoming payments and financial requirements including bills, debt repayments, and so on.
So there you go- there is your ultimate guide to getting on top of your finances. I still HIGHLY recommended listening to these podcasts and watching these videos as I have merely scratched the surface on the wealth of information they provide. But I hope this post has inspired you in some way to get in control of your finances.
Please remember that I am NOT a financial advisor and everything in this post is here to collate the information I have learned via the aforementioned sources and through personal experience. Please seek in-person professional advice for tailored financial guidance.
Have a great week x.