As explained in the previous post, members of Gen Z face greater financial challenges than previous generations. Many are burdened with college debt, face inflation and soaring home prices, and are more likely to be unemployed or underemployed.
If you were born between 1997 and 2012, how do you move forward against these economic headwinds? Tropical Financial can help you in a number of ways:
- Create and maintain a monthly budget. Where does your money go? With so many accounts for cell phone, internet, and streaming services, you may find it hard to do more than pay monthly bills. Cover the basics – rent, utilities, groceries, and car expenses including insurance – and set aside a specific amount for savings each month. Begin your journey with these TFCU resources, which include a free consultation with a financial coach.
- Spend wisely and shop frugally. What do you want, and what do you really need? Using our “Fritter Finder,” you can uncover all the little places where money leaves your pocket without you even noticing. Our shopping guides will help you find ways to save at the grocery store and avoid the mistakes that many people make.
- Start saving and investing now. It’s easier than it sounds. Your employer may offer a 401(k) plan that includes matching your contributions. Mutual funds have made it easy to start with just $500 and as little as $100. Dollars invested today will grow over the decades to help you buy a home and enjoy retirement.
- Shrink your debts. Paying off your student loan doesn’t have to take 10-20 years. You can accelerate the payments using this guide from the U.S. Dept. of Education. Second, pay down your credit card balances and keep them low. With finance rates climbing toward 30%, every dollar you no longer owe will improve your finances and your credit score. Another smart way to pay off your loan sooner – the ChangED app available through Tropical Financial that rounds up your spare change and applies it to your loan balance.
- Get smarter about money. Tropical Financial’s resource center, Get Beyond Money, is filled with information, emailed tips and an action plan that you customize to your situation. There’s even a quick quiz to jump-start your savings plan.
- Raise your credit rating. It will make borrowing less expensive and better establish you for the big things in life, such as buying a home. Begin by downloading a free credit report from the S. Federal Trade Commission that shows your current score. Then, follow our guides to improve your credit score and challenge inaccurate information that may hurt your record. At least once a year, download a free report from the government website to track your progress.
- Invest in yourself to improve your earnings. Take certificate courses and earn employer-sponsored degrees that qualify you for a raise or a better-paying job. The hours spent enhancing your knowledge and skills will prepare you sooner for an opportunity that will bring home more income. If you have the urge to one day work for yourself, start a side business now using our Elements of Money
Tropical Financial is invested in you. As a non-profit financial institution run by volunteers, it serves only its members. We want to help you feel good about banking. Learn how to become a member for just one dollar.