It’s not easy being Gen Y. You’ve got little hope of getting onto the housing ladder and you pay more for your education than any generation before. It’s very hard to get a job when you do graduate, and there’s zero job security when you do.
No wonder younger Aussies have to manage their money very differently to older Australians: they’ve got no choice.
Right now, interest rates are the lowest they’ve been in history: that means it seems almost pointless to save, even if you did have the money to stash away. And while older people might moan about Gen Y being “irresponsible” with money, the Millennial generation has actually developed some pretty smart money habits that everyone else could learn from.
It’s about experience
With half a century of working life (if you can get a job) stretching ahead of you before retirement, you’ve got some time before you have to get serious about super.
According to research, 75% of millennials would rather spend money on an experience than a material object.
Ultimately, memories can last a lifetime but most stuff eventually breaks, goes obsolete or you get bored of it, so enjoying yourself while you can makes more sense. Sometimes it’s even worth getting a small loan to do so, as you have to grab opportunities when you can, or tickets sell out.
Using apps and mobile
What’s the point of visiting a bank branch and queuing for ages when you can just do most things yourself with online banking?
Most of the time you need to access your money on the go anyway. Mobile apps just make sense, which is why we’ve always ensured that the MoneyMe website is optimised for mobile devices.
There’s also a savings advantage. If you use mobile payments like Apple Pay or Paywave rather than cash, you end up with less loose change rattling around – money which is easy to lose or waste. So it works as a bit of a discipline.
Ditching credit cards
Most Gen Y are savvy enough to realise that credit cards are just a debt trap. Despite those supposedly record low interest rates, borrowing money on a credit card still costs a fortune and it soon spirals out of your control.
It’s far better to borrow money from family or get a short term loan that you can pay back easily over one or two months. Also, you can do a lot of things you used to do with a credit card via a debit card these days, like shopping online.
Gen Y aren’t stupid enough to pay full price when they don’t need to. With a heap of apps and price comparison sites out there to find bargains for you, no one views the price tag as the actual price.
As the generation driving online retail, young Australians will just buy stuff from overseas if they don’t like Australian prices.
Also, because Gen Y work or have worked in retail, they know that there are always discounts available. So when you buy a new gadget or whatever else, you know the salesperson can and will cut the price or in extras for free, you only have to ask.
Being open about money
Money isn’t the dirty word it was for our parents. If we don’t talk about it, how can we find out if we’re being ripped off, or if employers are paying one group more than another?
We need to know what we’re worth and how to negotiate it.
Financial education still isn’t a subject in most schools, but we’re all supposed to magically figure out how to budget and pay our taxes. So actually talking about money – how much we have and how much we need – is a lot smarter than suffering in silence.
So far from being irresponsible or “lazy”, younger people are actually way more clued in than previous generations when it comes to money. They’re also much more switched on about internet security and less likely to be victims of financial cyber scams.