Millennials tend to get flack for their lack of financial savvy, but in reality the group of 20- and 30-somethings aren’t doing too shabby.
According to Bank of America’s winter 2018 Better Money Habits® Millennial Report, nearly 2 in 3 millennials save for a rainy day — and of those with savings goals (like buying a house or paying off student loans), about 67 percent of them are successful.
So indeed, if you’re a millennial, you probably have a pretty good grasp on how to manage money. But a challenge remains: How do you go after your dream career while balancing the realities of paying rent, saving for retirement and staying healthy? Especially when your career goals may not involve the typical 9 to 5.
Many millennials have entrepreneurial aspirations. They want to be artists and writers, beer brewers, startup founders, nonprofit leaders — and altogether untethered from corporate overlords. But how do you make that happen when the bills keep coming?
Well, by getting creative. This means going beyond the basic financial tips we’ve all heard before, bright ideas like “cut your expenses” and “stop drinking Starbucks.” If you really want to go after your dreams with gusto, try the following four steps.
1. Find a Side Gig
Side hustles have taken off with millennials: About 1 in 2 moonlights, according to the New York Post. And that’s for good reason. Side gigs don’t just provide extra cash — they give many people a chance to test-drive a new career.
From driving for Lyft to teaching yoga, the “gig economy” can serve as a gateway for turning passions into fruitful careers without giving up a steady full-time job that pays the bills. Need help finding your next side hustle? Check out these 50 ideas from Entrepreneur.
2. Digitize Your Budget
Technologies that track expenses and income can help you spot trends in your own financial picture and teach you how to manage money in a better way.
Take Mint, which brings together your entire financial life — from credit cards to checking accounts to student loans — to put together an actionable plan for smarter money management.
You’ll see a dashboard of your spending grouped by tags like “eating out” or “utilities” and learn whether you’re in the red or the green at every month’s end. But even if Mint’s not for you, there are other apps worth a try. Check out Student Loan Hero‘s list for more ideas.
3. Let the Robot Help
Since most millennials don’t have a seven-figure nest egg, many of them turn to “robo-advisors” to help them grow their money. Using algorithms and automatic trading, robo-advisors offer a hands-off approach that allows you to invest smaller, more approachable amounts.
Bloomberg reports that banks like Morgan Stanley have already stepped up their game to attract younger audiences with machine-driven management, but they’re not the only ones. Charles Schwab and Betterment have options that can help you get in the investment game, too.
4. Rethink Your Health Coverage
Even though you might be young and healthy, health costs make up a big chunk of your financial picture. What if you get in an accident? While regular health insurance may be good enough in some cases, it doesn’t hurt to have extra help for unexpected bills so that surprise medical costs don’t wipe out your savings.
Consider supplemental plans like accident or fixed indemnity insurance, which give you cash in addition to your regular health insurance coverage. Let’s hope, of course, that you won’t ever need it. But if you do, you won’t regret having the help, especially if you’re planning to use your savings to fuel a future career jump.
Chasing your dream job is about keeping your bases covered while staying poised to tackle opportunities when they arise. Knowing how to manage your money — from your income to your savings account to your bills — is your first step toward your future.