Have you ever felt like no matter what you do, you never seem to have enough money to save? First, a big chunk of your paycheck goes to taxes. Then, you have to hand over half of your remaining income each month just to pay rent. If you’ve started a family, you’re now spending another 10%-20% of your household income on child care—making you wonder if it was even worth going back to work in the first place. You’re afraid to check your mailbox since the only mail you get consists of spammy ads and medical bills you didn’t even know you owed. Yet, when you scroll on Instagram, it sometimes seems like your friends have magically figured it all out.
If you feel like it doesn’t all add up, you’re right. A new report from the Fed this week revealed that millennials are going through their 20’s poorer than any other generation in modern times. The typical millennial is lucky if they have $1,500 in their savings account and a staggering 46% of millennials now have no emergency savings at all. It turns out that behind each of those glossy Instagram stories, most of your friends are struggling to make ends meet, as well.
So what are you supposed to do about it? The pundits like to make saving money sound as easy as cutting avocado toast out of your budget.
But the data tells a very different story. While the economy has boomed over the past 10 years, income for millennials has stayed relatively flat. At the same time, the costs of everyday life have continued to grow to the point where on average, just five basic needs now take up over 80% of this generation’s income; housing, transportation, healthcare, food, and child care. And with the $1.5 trillion in student loans that millennials have taken out, a large portion of the remaining 20% is tied up in debt payments. Even if you wanted to save, there’s simply no meaningful sum of money left to put away. It can be overwhelming trying to navigate the current affordability crisis. But, there a few new innovations you might not know about, all of which can help you save money and live the lifestyle you want.
- Turn your security deposit into emergency savings: Most people don’t realize that you can actually get your security deposit back from your landlord and put it away for emergencies or to help pay off debt. With new services like Rhino, you can insure your landlord for as little as $5 / month and put thousands of dollars back in your pocket.
- Shrink your monthly student loan payments: Most millennials have taken out student loans on variable interest rates over the past 10 years since the rates have been so low. But now as rates start to rise, your monthly payments could skyrocket. New startups like Pillar can help you save money by guiding you through when to refinance, where you can get the best rates, and whether you’re eligible for lower-cost income based repayment plans.
- Get the government to cover part of your child care costs: Hidden away in your benefits fine print, there’s a child care tax subsidy called FSA credit. You can use this to put up to $5k tax-free towards care costs. New child care memberships like Kinside can both take facilitate your tax credit and also get you discounts at its network of top care providers in the country.
So don’t despair. The deck may be stacked against millennials, but this generation is also full of entrepreneurial thinkers who will continue coming up with new ideas to make everyday life more affordable. And like with the above ideas, Kairos will be here to help fund and launch them.