CARMEL, Ind. — The youngest millennials are closing in on their 30s, which means financial awareness and understanding are even more important.
That's according to Casey Marx, the founder and CEO of Crown Haven Wealth Advisors in Carmel.
Marx said the world of social media is playing a major role in the financial downfall of millennials. While generations used to "keep up with the Joneses," social media is pushing more young people to "keep up with the Kardashians."
"One click, two clicks, three clicks, purchase," Marx said. "You need to make it that automatic for your own savings and for your own debt."
Here are four steps Marx said millennials can take to ensure financial success in the future:
- Make a budget
- Pay off debt
- Invest in health care
Make a budget
"The best way to budget is to first do an audit on yourself, and look at what you're actually spending your money on," Marx said.
Marx suggests that Hoosiers first compare essential expenses – things like food, shelter and utilities – with take-home pay after taxes.
"What is the difference?" asked Marx. "Hopefully, there is a difference."
Marx says whatever money is left can be applied to debts or savings.
Overall, he says understanding and creating a budget is a skill you can carry for the rest of your life.
Pay off debt
Second on the to-do list, according to Marx, is to pay off debt.
"Most people are going to have debt," Marx said. "They are going to have student loan debt. Maybe they have had a healthcare problem that they're paying off those bills."
When tackling debt, Marx suggests Hoosiers start with the highest interest rate or highest total amount and pay that off first, while making minimum payments on all other debts.
"You're going to want to pay off that debt," Marx said. "The reason you're going to want to pay off that debt is because, let's say your debt is 5% interest. People think they need to be saving first. Well, if you have debt, that 5%, you have to think of it like this, your cash is earning 0%, and you can pay off a 5% debt obligation, you're actually earning 5% by paying that debt obligation off."
"We have to be able to determine the difference between important and urgent," Marx said.
Marx says when it comes to financial success, you should be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. That means paying off debt and saving simultaneously.
To ensure you are saving consistently, Marx suggests people automate their savings.
Automating savings should be as simple as online shopping, according to Marx.
"We are all on our own paths, and your path is totally different than the path of the person to your right and the path of the person to your left," Marx said. "If you don't realize that, then you are constantly going to be in a state of wanting. If you are constantly in a state of wanting, then you are never going to be happy."
Invest in health care
Financial success and empowerment should be a holistic unit, according to Marx. That includes your emotional, social and physical health.
"If you are not paying for your health now, you are going to pay for your health later," Marx said. "I see it every day with clients. Clients come in at 65 years old, and they're concerned about the cost of long-term health care."
That's because long-term health insurance can be very expensive as you get older, according to Marx.
"If you get it when you're in your 20s or 30s, the premiums are extremely inexpensive, and you can maintain that for the rest of your life," Marx said. "Then, you've got that covered."
Marx says his job as a financial advisor allows him to connect with people on a personal level to help them achieve their life goals.
"I promise you that any quantitative concern a client has is rooted in a qualitative issue," Marx said. "Our goal is to really understand what matters most to people."