Our nieces are millennials and have tons of questions about “what to do next.” As Gen-Xers who grew up during the 80s and came of age during the booming 90s, we can share unique insight to this maturing cohort.
Of course, there’s no end to the advice given to millennials (one can rarely go to a financial news site that doesn’t include some wisdom for this demographic) and everyone’s personal goals and accompanying financial situation will be different. However, we’re sharing the advice we gave to the millennials in our lives for your consideration.
1. Should I Travel or Get a Job?
Travel is one of the best things in life. The earth is beautiful. The similarities and differences of people and cultures are amazing. There’s so much to see and do that can’t authentically be seen or done virtually. You may want to consider going to different lands and experiencing new activities, art, people and ideas post-college.
When our niece asked if she should stay closer to home or travel abroad after graduation, we first disclosed that we’re biased, then we told her to travel. She’s young. She’s not encumbered by the comfort and habit requirements of older age. She can be more flexible and audacious. While us older folks can be flexible and audacious too, in truth, it’s a little harder. If your finances can handle it, you may want to consider budgeting for travel. (There are ways to keep the costs of your trips down, too.)
2. Should I Take the Secure Job or the Job I Want?
There’s a lot of concern about the part-time/contractual/gig economy. While we’re open to opposing views and ours may change, we’re now excited about this new economy.
Since we’ve started The Debt Free Guys and turned a hobby into a business, we see the opportunities of ever-changing technology, work and work-life balance paradigms. We’ve met so many people who are starting their own businesses through websites, podcasts, freelancing, consulting and so much more. This new economy offers a wealth of freedom and income to those willing, brave and smart enough to embrace it.
Millennials may want to explore all their options. With more established companies open to contractual, part-time employment and working remotely, there can be less risk associated with starting your own business these days.
Millions of dollars in venture capital investments are no longer required to launch profitable companies. Sometimes all that’s needed is a tablet, a website or blog-hosting platform and/or a few social media accounts. With a few hundred-dollar investment in recording equipment and basic editing knowledge that can be gained from these resources, the right person could create a successful blog or podcast. These mediums could be monetized with affiliate marketing and sponsorships that can provide a stream or multiple streams of income.
When our niece asked if she should choose a permanent, secure job, we advised her to go for the job she wants. Our advice for her situation is to go for what she wants and blog about it. There are millions of young women and girls who’d love to read about her struggles and triumphs to help them with their life decisions. If she can build and monetize this, she may supplement or even surpass the income from another job she is considering.
3. What Should I Do About My Student Loans?
Many recent college graduates are stressing about their student loan debt. Many prospective college students feel trapped by the cultural belief that college is required for a good life, but college costs get more and more expensive.
While we could talk ad nauseam about the higher education bubble, our advice to our niece who’s graduating with a heart-pounding amount of debt is to not let it rule or ruin her life — that’s defeatist. We paid off over $51,000 in credit card debt in 2.5 years. Through our work, we’ve met people who have paid off four times that much faster than they ever thought possible.
With the right focus and drive, any debt can be paid off. It’s not always easy, but it is doable. So, step up to the challenge. You can start tackling overwhelming student loan debt by researching forgiveness or income-based repayment plans or refinancing and consolidation options. (You can also see how existing debts may be affecting your credit scores by viewing your free credit report summary on Credit.com.)
This is our solicited advice to the millennials in our lives. Remember, we create our world with our thoughts and actions. Amazing lives can be created by those willing to put forth amazing effort or amazing creativity. Create your amazing life.
This story is an Op/Ed contribution to Credit.com and does not necessarily represent the views of the company or its partners.
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