Written by Annie Zhang
This post was originally published on FinLitMe.


logo-4A study by the Bank of America Merrill Edge gives some interesting perspectives as to how millennials think and what we do with our money. Yes, I’m a millennial.

The report states that 63% of millennials “are looking to save a set amount of money or income necessary to enjoy their desired lifestyle.” The report goes further to state that millennials are 81% more likely than their older counterparts to spend money on travel, 65% more likely to spend on dining and 55% more likely to spend on fitness. From this it looks like we are more interested in saving and spending on shorter term goals versus long term goals like retirement.

What I find fascinating about this report is that the majority or 63% want to have enough money to live their ideal lifestyle. I suppose for each person this lifestyle is different but it’s interesting how a comfortable retirement doesn’t seem to be top priority; instead, the focus is the next getaway to a faraway land.

The main issue I see with this mentality is, practicality; how are we going to retire with no savings? Had we had enough savings, we could enjoy our retirement and travel later in life with the money we had saved. If we don’t have savings, we may be working a part time job at the age of 65.

I’d like to think of this as the millennial paradox. If our ultimate goal is to have the money to live the lifestyle we want, why are we not pursuing that in the long run? Ultimately, without savings in the long run, this “lifestyle” for the vast majority of individuals will not be sustainable.

I think one of the main issues is we believe that we don’t earn enough to save. Really, that’s an inaccurate assumption. Even $20 out of each of our paychecks is better than nothing. That’s about $1 a day and less than the cost of a coffee. This $20 doesn’t just stay at $20 in value. Assuming we put in something that earns us interest, it will grow. The $20 will earn interest and the interest will earn interest for the next 30 years until retirement. If we could save more, the growth potential increases exponentially.

Another issue being that we just don’t care. I say; wake up! Aging in inevitable, one day we will want a break. The question is, will our finances allow us to take that break?

Written by Annie Zhang, CPA, CA

Annie is the founder of FinLitMe. She has worked in public accounting for 5 years in both audit and consulting. Her client base mainly consisted of large mutual funds and pooled funds, and large banks in Canada in their adoption of new accounting standards. She currently works for one of the biggest banks in the world supporting the finance function in reporting underwriting deals, trade activity and operations. You can find her on LinkedIn here.