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According to a 2013 Wells Fargo Retirement study, 54 percent of millennials, ages 22 to 34, say debt is their biggest financial concern. More than half have failed to begin retirement planning.
With average debt of $45,000 and inadequate financial literacy, today’s twentysomethings are struggling to manage their personal finances and build wealth.
Robert Lindquist, Ashford University professor and author of “Financial Independence for the New Generation,” says many millenials recognize the importance of higher education and a good job but don’t know how to manage their finances.
“Millenials fear financial instability and live paycheck to paycheck,” says Lindquist. “They don’t understand the basics and feel overwhelmed with financial responsibility. By thinking strategically, saving a little at a time, and getting a handle on their debt, they can get on the path to financial independence.”
In his new book, published August 2013, Lindquist identifies common concerns, such as debt, home ownership and retirement planning, and offers practical tips on creating wealth, regardless of personal circumstances. Lindquist offers the following tips:
Money is Freedom – To accumulate wealth, we need to save money. This seems simple but many say that bills prevent them from saving. The trick is not focusing on the amount of savings, but the process. Because it takes discipline to save money, the key is semi-enforced saving – paying yourself first and using leftovers for bills and other needs. Even $1 a day will make a difference.
Cut the Card – If money equals freedom, debt equals servitude. We live in a credit-driven society, with high credit card balances and finance rates. Although we need to establish credit for larger purchases, such as a home, the key is to avoid creating debt. To reduce credit card obligations, it’s necessary to cut the cards and apply any extra money, such as a bonus or birthday gift to debt reduction. Creating a strategic plan for lowering balances and switching to a debit card can expedite the process.
Know Your Debits & Credits – It’s important to understand monthly spending patterns and budget accordingly. This entails creating a personal income statement to identify revenues and expenses, and a balance sheet to determine financial worth. Just taking a look at spending by category can help plan for future expenses. Understanding the difference between a need and a want and carving out money for emergencies will further ensure a well-balanced budget.
Invest in Your Future – Many are intimidated by the term ‘investment’ and unsure about the steps for securing a profitable future. Although an average person may not want to play the stock market, they can invest in their future with basic investment plans, such as an IRA or a 401K.
Additionally, owning property offers a number of financial benefits so a home purchase can be a great investment. “Building financial independence takes time,” says Lindquist. “There is no quick fix, but in time anyone can become self-sufficient and create their own personal wealth. The key is to get started.”
About Ashford University
Where heritage meets innovation – that’s Ashford University. At Ashford, students discover relevant degree programs, innovative technology, and cherished tradition. Ashford offers associates, bachelors, and master’s online degree programs, while the Clinton, Iowa campus offers bachelor’s programs. Whether on campus or online, Ashford students enjoy the same supportive community. For more information, please visit ashford.edu or call Shari Winet Rodriguez, Vice President of Public Relations, at 858.513.9240 x2513.