RelayRides blogger Eric Rosenberg is a Millennial who takes personal finances very seriously. It is easier than ever to use free resources online with the click of a button.
If you were born between the early 1980s and early 2000s, you get the mixed blessings of being born into the Millennial Generation. While Millennials have a reputation for being lazy, entitled, and over-connected, this generation has more opportunities than ever before to take charge of its personal finances than ever before.
Great online tools and a free library of online information can make the Millenials the most financially savvy generation ever with new tools not yet available as recently as ten years ago.
In the old days, there was no Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey and there was no I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi. Instead, people learned money lessons from their parents or they learned them the hard way, through making costly mistakes and working hard to recover.
My grandfather taught me many money lessons growing up, and those were lessons he learned in The Great Depression through family struggles. I learned stories about how he had to literally sell his army issued pants when he left the service so he would have enough money for dinner.
Today we have a massive amount of available information for free at our fingertips. While many people will not rush to Amazon to buy Ramsey and Sethi’s books, anyone can visit their personal finance focused websites for free.
If you are looking for great places for Millenial focused finance information, some of my favorite blogs include Studenomics by Martin Dasko, Budgets are Sexy by J. Money, my own Narrow Bridge Finance, and the multi-author Mint Life blog.
If you want to fire up your e-reader some great Millenial focused books include I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi, The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris, and the book that got me started in personal finance, The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach.
Personal Finance Tools
I think the “lazy” reputation that the Millenials have earned is not totally accurate. I think a better word would be “efficient.” Kids who grew up in the ‘90s have more opportunity than ever before to do more in less time. Whether they are automating their jobs at work with databases and spreadsheets or trying to make their personal finances easier at home, the tools available today are more powerful than anything seen before.
My long-time most used online tools for budgeting and financial tracking are included in a free account at Mint.com. Mint offers free tracking of account balances, transactions, and automatic budget categorization. After just a few minutes of setup, your first budget can be on autopilot.
If you are less worried about budgets and want to focus more on building wealth and investments, look no further than Personal Capital. When I joined Personal Capital, I used the investment analysis tools to identify big savings potential in my mutual fund holdings. Based on the advice there, I saved hundreds of dollars each year in my retirement fund investments. That savings is worth tens of thousands of dollars over my working career.
Make Money from Your Assets
Don’t just track your money, make more of it! Millenials have more opportunities to earn more and turn assets into income than ever before.
If you own a home with an empty bedroom or two, you can turn it into income with a regular renter or through the sharing economy. A renter in a spare bedroom can help make you a consistent cash flow of anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars per month to more than a thousand depending on the home and your city.
Alternatively, you can make money through short-term renters using sites like AirBnB. Finance blogger Paula Pant at Afford Anything shared her own detailed blueprint for AirBnB income at her site, including a breakdown of costs and income.
Another asset that often sits for days at a time on the weekend is your car. You can follow in the footsteps of RelayRides member Justin Sakofs, who rents out his second car on weekends. Many RelayRides members make enough to cover the entire cost of owning their cars!
Millenials have more opportunities to be successful with their personal finances than any generation before. Just use your ingenuity and the great resources available, like RelayRides to earn more from your car. What are you waiting for? Take charge of your money today.