Many people grew up with the idea that younger people should respect their elders and look to them for guidance on how to live their lives. While this maxim is certainly true, it is also true that older generations can learn from younger people who have had to grow up in different conditions and with different expectations.
Here are five financial strategies that baby boomers can learn from millennials:
Invest What You Have
Gone are the days when the only people who could get professional financial advice had to have five figures in savings. Many financial advisors and counselors are eager to work with clients of all income levels and economic circumstances. Boomers who have suffered financial reversals or who have not been able to save for retirement shouldn’t be ashamed about seeking out advice from someone who can help them address their situation through wise budgeting and investing.
Back when boomers were in their 20s and 30s, shopping secondhand usually meant combing through piles of moldy furniture and dated clothing at Salvation Army stores or garage sales. Only the wealthy could shop upscale consignment shops.
Nowadays, buying high-quality secondhand items is much easier and less expensive than it was in the past. Amazon, for example, sells used books and other merchandise alongside new items, and it is often possible to save 50 percent or more of the retail price of some items. Craigslist and eBay are also popular marketplaces for finding used items at reasonable prices.
Reconsider the Car
Owning a car is convenient, but can also be a huge expense. Payments, maintenance, gas, parking and insurance can all eat into your budget. If you live in a medium-to-large city, consider getting rid of the private vehicle and making use of public transportation as well as rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft. You may very well find that you are spending less than half each month on what you typically spent on your car.
Another advantage of going carless: You’ll probably find yourself walking a lot more, which is free, good for the environment and good for your body.
Get a Side Gig
Lots of millennials, even those who hold full-time, salaried positions, have side gigs that range from tending bar, driving for Uber, to freelance writing. Side gigs bring in extra income that millennials can add to savings or use for larger purchases.
In addition to extra income, freelancing and second jobs can also provide a degree of financial security. Millennials know that jobs, even good jobs, aren’t safe in an era of automation and offshoring. Having established side gig can make it easier to survive during a period of unemployment.
Repair and Upgrade Possessions
Millennials know that nothing blows a budget faster than constantly replacing clothing, furniture, and household items. While it can take a little time and effort, repairing or upgrading your possessions is an important money-saving strategy. For example, if your sofa or loveseat is looking a bit dingy, look into buying slipcovers or having your furniture reupholstered. Laptop running slow? Invest in some file cleaning software and upgrade the RAM rather than the purchase of a new machine.
In many ways, millennials have embraced the do-it-yourself culture that many boomers helped create. As the boomer demographic ages, looking to the up-and-coming generation for ideas on how to live in a changing economy may be its best hope for a fulfilling retirement.