We were all sold a bit of bullshit when Bank of America published findings suggesting that 1 in 6 millennials now have savings of over $100,000. It made it seem as if this economically embittered generation was finally on the rise. Leaving 5 in 6 of us to feel like financial failures. But is it realistic to expect a 20-something to have these kinds of savings as well as being able to experience life to the full?
For the first time in many years, people have been taking an interest in their money management- which was one contributing factor to this rise in savings according to a national study. It also suggested that millennials are saving more than other generations were saving at a similar age with 2017 being the year they saved the most.
But accumulating a large amount of savings is a double edged sword. Vice published an ariticle recently that claimed that our endeavours to save are causing us to miss out on life. Citing a poll by NBC, they claimed that 62% of millennials have more debt than they have savings causing many of us to delay experiencing the usual ‘adult expectations’; marriage, buying a home, having kids.
It seems like when we are asked to find a balance between living a full life and saving for the future, what we are actually being asked to do, is to choose one or the other. It is therefore understandable that people decide not to save their cash- why save for a future you can barely imagine?
Louis, a 34 year old designer living in London, seems to have it all sorted. “When all my mates were out getting pissed I was working and saving. Don’t get me wrong,” he told us, “I had a great life in my 20’s, I just didn’t waste what I had. Now my life feels easier- I can travel and I have my own home. Most of my mates aren’t in the same situation and it’s crushing to watch them struggle.”
In contrast, Cat, a 25 year old events manager from London, thinks savings are a waste of time. “I totally understand that when I’m 60 I will need to have money ready for retirement. But in my 20’s I just want to live my life, “ she explains. “I’d much rather experience what life has to offer than grow older and regret stuff whilst sitting on a pile of unspent money.”
There must be a way to compromise though- young people can’t be expected to choose between their present and future selves. So should you be panicking if you don’t have any savings? No, but don’t ignore the elephant in the room by saving nothing at all. Even if your earnings are low and your expenditure high, you could still save something. Putting aside as little as £5 a week can give you the peace of mind that you have at least some money to fall back on.
And with better money management, you can save a small amount of money whilst still experiencing all of the things you want to. The best way to do this is to keep track of where your money is going so you can understand your weak spots. Then you can budget the money you do have and save any surplus.
If you need a hand doing this, you can download Loot here. The app lets you set budgets and put money aside so you can start affording the things you want and start saving for the future.