From the Editor


A Leg Up for Young Adults

Janet Bodnar

If you have millennial kids or grandkids, share our special section with them.



It was a suggestion from our younger staff members that led to our special money guide for millennials. Here at Kiplinger’s, we have a wonderful group of young people. Most of them arrive shortly after college, often with little or no background in personal finance. But it doesn’t take long for them to catch on, and they soon become go-to sources of financial information for friends eager to pick their brains about stock tips, credit scores and setting up retirement accounts. So it’s appropriate that our millennials offer their personal insights into saving on a starting-out income, balancing student loans with other expenses, and thriving on a budget in an expensive city such as Washington, D.C. We think their tales will educate and inspire other members of their generation, who can certainly benefit from advice and encouragement in money matters (see our interview with Gary Mottola ).

See Also: Our Starting Out Columns

Not only did the Great Recession hurt the job prospects of young people just starting their careers, but millennials were so traumatized by the bear market that they’re reluctant to invest for their future at a time when they should be charging full speed ahead. In a survey of young adults between the ages of 22 and 32, Wells Fargo found that more than half of those interviewed were not confident in the stock market as a place to invest for retirement. At the same time, more than 70% said they think personal finance should be taught in high school or college, 70% wish they had learned more about basic investing in school and 60% want to know more about saving for retirement.

Their wish is our command. We cover all those topics in our guide, and then some. For example, our primer on investing shows how you can build a diversified, low-cost portfolio with as little as $1,000. More than one-third of respondents told Wells Fargo that student loans are their biggest financial concern. De-stress by setting up a manageable repayment plan.

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A head start. It’s admirable that 57% of the millennials in the Wells Fargo survey said they should be financially responsible for their own retirement. Yet only 49% are currently saving for that goal. Of those who aren’t, more than half said they’ll start saving when they have more money—generally, about age 30. But as we point out, starting just a few years earlier can make a world of difference. In our cover story last month (How to Profit From Your Passion), we wrote about a couple in their early forties who had accumulated $1 million in their retirement accounts. The wife attributed her thriftiness to her father, who talked her into opening an IRA when she got her first full-time job.

Which brings me to the critical role that parents play. In the Wells Fargo study, nearly three-fifths of those interviewed said their parents had most influenced them and the way they view money; parents were also their primary source of advice when it came to investing. We’d like to support that effort. So if you have millennial kids, grandkids, friends or acquaintances, share our special section with them. And remember the special role you play—even if it’s giving adult kids a (temporary) respite to regroup their finances. A friend of my 25-year-old son’s came back home to cut his expenses, return to school and beef up his savings. “I’m in the black for the first time, and I’m never going back,” he told me. “It’s an amazing feeling.”

P.S. For those at the other end of the age spectrum, the 2014 edition of Kiplinger’s Retirement Planning Guide is now available.



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