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What millennials need to know about finances

Money matters, from budgeting to saving to investing


Each month I host a networking lunch where some of Denver’s leading women in business gather to discuss topics that have helped on their path to success. As graduation season draws on for many young adults, we discussed the financial advice passed down from our parents as we entered adulthood.

Financial literacy is significant knowledge that can have lasting impacts down the road. Everyone should start with a foundation for financial success, including a basic understanding of budgeting, saving and investing.

Here are some tips for those just starting out on a financial path:


Learning how to budget and live within your means is extremely important for financial health. Know what lifestyle you can afford and evaluate whether you really need that high-end apartment or luxury car. Even a daily habit of $5 lattes can add up. These days, there are dozens of free budgeting apps that can help you work toward savings goals and calculate your daily spend.


Don’t just save, invest. Some may be intimidated about investing. Educate yourself about how to invest through a course online or a trusted advisor, and learn about the rewards of compound interest. If you are unsure, start slowly and invest small amounts.


Just like your physical health, you should monitor your financial fitness. Even if you live with a partner who takes care of most money matters, you should be fully aware and involved. Money discussions can sometimes be uncomfortable, but it is important to keep communication open with those you share finances with, especially when planning for the future.


Debt can be a burdensome ball and chain. The average graduate in 2016 had $37,172 in student loan debt. Be sure to make payments on time and pay more than the minimum when possible. Each day that passes results in more interest and debt. This goes for credit card payments, too.


It is impossible to plan for unexpected circumstances, but you can be prepared. Life always throws curveballs – such as an unexpected job loss or injury. Prioritize building a savings cushion into your broader budget and financial plan. This will allow you to manage difficult times without worrying as much about your finances.

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Shelley Ford

Shelley Ford is a financial advisor with The Pelican Bay Group of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in downtown Denver.  Shelley can be reached at 303-572-4839 or visit http://www.morganstanleyfa.com/shelley.ford/.

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