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The top 5 pieces of financial advice for millennials

Money lessons I wish I learned from my parents


Do you remember those endless discussions with your parents when you were a teenager? You built your defenses with wonderfully worded reasons to get what you wanted. They were slowly wilting under your barrage of comebacks only to pull out the dreaded and ultimate parent tool:

While I never liked that final statement, I now wish my own parents would have used it more when it came to shaping my early financial future.

For some reason my parents didn’t talk about money with us. My dad is “conservative” (cheap) and my Mom was “thrifty” (used any coupon she could find). But they never shared specifics about money and how it would help guide us as young adults.

As a financial advisor today, helping young professionals grasp the importance of personal finance motivates me. Since this topic hasn’t become a high school or college credit requirement, it often results in lessons learned from the school of hard knocks.

Whether you are a millennial, a parent or employer of millennials, stay tuned for few important details on the generation’s mindset about finances and some simple tips for money management.


Millennials are the biggest generation in the U.S. representing a quarter of the population. Born between 1982 and 2004 and now between the ages of 20-35. According to the Colorado State Demography Office, Colorado has been a very “young” state historically, the result of years of attracting young adults age 22-37, and today many of those are part of the millennial generation.

According to a study by Fidelity, the top three issues millennials are trying to tackle include:

  1. Accumulate more savings for: retirement (52%)
  2. Pay off credit card debt (41%)
  3. Pay off student loans (28%)

Roughly 53 percent have not started to save for their retirement, and nearly half of millennials have received some kind of financial assistance from their parents since leaving home. Topping the list are cell phone bills, car insurance and groceries.

Maybe some of this sounds familiar.

If so, here are a few tips to help guide the millennial generation toward financial success.

    • Shop the sales
    • Be patient when spending
    • Start an emergency fund -- $20, 50, 500 per month for unexpected expenses
    • Max out your 401k at work or make a monthly contribution to an IRA
    • Invest your bonus or salary increase
    • Check your credit score every 6 months
    • Pay off high items interest first
    • Want to own your own car or house, take a trip or start your own business? -- Set a realistic date for the goal
    • Have a plan to pay off student debt
    • Read one book this month on a finance related topic of interest to you

Let’s take care of Money 101. Start by applying these tips to your own life or share them with an added, “Because I said so!”

It sounds easy, but many of us were never taught good financial discipline.  No matter what generation you come from, this should help you get started. 

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John Bohan

John Bohan is a certified financial planner and market leader for Centennial Bank and Trust. Reach him at 303.643.3521 or jbohan@centennialbanking.com..

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