Hello fellow financial enthusiasts!

There have been some crazy articles on the millennial generation lately, most of them being negative in tone. The articles portray us as a bunch of lazy, entitled, individuals and express quite a bit of animosity toward our future. In reality, we are such a diverse group of people there is no way you can lump us all together. As the next generation, I believe we have a lot to offer, and many of us are working hard to improve ourselves and the world around us. Financial understanding and freedom is essential for the road to success and I want to help us all get there!

I’ve created this series of posts to explain Six Financial Foundations to help millennials, (or really anyone) understand their current financial situation and work on planning for the future. These are all steps I have used in my own life, and now use with my clients. Let’s dig in.

Step 1: Vision, Goals, Values, Big Dreams

What’s your vision for your life? What are your values?  What’s your biggest dream?

These questions may seem daunting, but understanding your specific vision, values, and dreams is essential before tackling your finances. What you want out of life provides context for your financial decisions. 

So ask yourself, where do you want to be in 10 years? 20 years? 40 years? When you have an idea of where you’d like to end up, you can connect your daily tasks to your larger vision of your end goal. Every big project you tackle is a lot of small steps put together and you can treat your life in the exact same way. Keep in mind that your vision of the future doesn’t need to be financial in nature. More often than not it isn’t. It’s a feeling; a feeling of independence, accomplishment, or whatever feels right for you.  

Take some time to think about where you want to be, who you want to be, and what you want out of life. This is an ever-evolving process and things like reading, learning, meeting new people, and experiencing new things will help build your vision as life goes on. Do those things.

For some vision comes easily, for others it is more difficult. Don’t worry if you struggle with it early on. Your twenties and thirties are an important time in your life. It’s where you take everything you’ve learned thus far and begin to implement it. For a lot of us it’s the first time we haven’t had boundaries enforced, or a schedule set before us. This freaked me out until I realized that you get to shape your own reality. This realization gave me the confidence to leave my corporate job and found Crafted Wealth!

Crafting your vision and learning who you are is all part of the process of becoming an adult. I’m happy to help push you along your journey. 

Step 2: Saving or Spending? 

You need to decide if you will be a saver or a spender. This decision is easiest to do when you start your first job. Why? Because you are already used to living on a strict budget. If you continue to live on your smaller budget and sock away your extra income you will start to set yourself apart from most of your peers. Through the process of saving to accomplish your goals you will learn the value of a dollar. You’ll come to realize that every financial decision you make will either increase your savings and get you closer to your goal, or decrease your savings and push you farther away. Look at every decision you make and see if what you spent your money on is more important to you than your goal. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but you might surprise yourself once you're aware. Be a saver.

Saving is all that separates those that are ‘financially successful’ from those that are always living paycheck to paycheck. To a large extent income doesn't matter, because making more money helps only if you save it, if you spend it, it makes no difference. I’ve seen this in action many times. I’ve worked with people that made millions of dollars per year but never amassed any wealth because they spent most of what they made. This left them locked into their current situation and not well suited for the future. To me, this solidified the behavior trait of being a spender or saver as one of my financial foundations. Without this basis, there isn’t a lot I can do to help you without changing your mentality around money first. As Carl Richards has said, "You can have money or you can spend it — but you can’t do both." 

Thanks for reading! In the next post we will explore the financial and math related aspects of financial success. Please like, share and/or subscribe so that we can spread the love and more people can learn the steps to financial freedom.

Read the next post here