Survey Says: Financial Tips I Wish I Knew When I Graduated College

Millennials offer financial tips to young money: Survey says saving starts early.

Print
https://tickertapecdn.tdameritrade.com/assets/images/pages/md/Bubble test: Financial tips from millennials to their younger selves
2 min read

A little hindsight is always useful, but for college students, getting money advice now can go a long way toward their financial future.

A “Young Money Survey” by TD Ameritrade looked at millennials’ attitudes toward money, education, and working life. It asked college graduates: “What one piece of advice would you give to your 18-year-old self regarding college?”

The number one answer was to earn some money while you are in college. That goes along with the top two changes millennials would make if they had to do it all over again, which were to study harder and spend less money/get into less debt.

College Advice

FIGURE 1: COLLEGE ADVICE

Working to earn money while you're in college was the top suggestion from post-college young millennials according to the “Young Money Survey” by TD Ameritrade . Source: TD Ameritrade. For Illustrative Purposes Only.

One Millennial’s Financial Outlook

Thirty-year-old Anjulie, who works for a nonprofit organization in Chicago, agreed that she would spend less money in college.

“I worked three jobs in undergrad. It sucked my energy dry, and I could have lived on a smaller budget, but I was determined to do everything,” she says.

Her biggest advice to her younger self—besides listening to her dad—was to set up an emergency fund as soon as possible that makes it easy to deposit, but hard to withdraw. It took three years, but she’s proud to say she’s met that mark now.

Like many people in her situation, she has student loans. Living on a nonprofit salary means she has a smaller income, but she is diligent about both paying down debt and investing. She has a personal retirement account and some small investments, and now she is looking at socially responsible investing.

Millennial Money Tips

Grant Sabatier, founder of the blog Millennial Money, says on his website that saving even $5 a day adds up to $1,825 per year. Investing that in a simple total stock market index fund with an expected 7% annual compound rate of return could add up to $10,840 in five years.

Many millennials face the tough choice of paying down student loans or saving, and while individual cases vary, Sabatier suggested investing surplus money rather than paying extra on student loans—especially if the loans can be refinanced to a lower rate.

For students who decide to work in college—or even after college—those side hustles are great opportunities to save, Sabatier said. Automating savings makes it painless, and if the side job is in addition to a full-time job, you can earmark that extra cash for investing. That’s what he does.

“I do this because the future value of this money will very likely be exponentially greater than spending it today,” he said.

Call Us
800-454-9272

Grant Sabatier and the Millennial Money blog are separate from and not affiliated with TD Ameritrade, which is not responsible for their comments or policies.

adChoicesAdChoices

Market volatility, volume, and system availability may delay account access and trade executions.

Past performance of a security or strategy does not guarantee future results or success.

Options are not suitable for all investors as the special risks inherent to options trading may expose investors to potentially rapid and substantial losses. Options trading subject to TD Ameritrade review and approval. Please read Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options before investing in options.

Supporting documentation for any claims, comparisons, statistics, or other technical data will be supplied upon request.

The information is not intended to be investment advice or construed as a recommendation or endorsement of any particular investment or investment strategy, and is for illustrative purposes only. Be sure to understand all risks involved with each strategy, including commission costs, before attempting to place any trade. Clients must consider all relevant risk factors, including their own personal financial situations, before trading.

This is not an offer or solicitation in any jurisdiction where we are not authorized to do business or where such offer or solicitation would be contrary to the local laws and regulations of that jurisdiction, including, but not limited to persons residing in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, UK, and the countries of the European Union.

TD Ameritrade, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. TD Ameritrade is a trademark jointly owned by TD Ameritrade IP Company, Inc. and The Toronto-Dominion Bank. © 2018 TD Ameritrade.

Scroll to Top