There is one piece of financial advice that young people, especially those who are high earners, are taking very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that they may be doing more harm than good. That is saving, specifically saving for retirement.
After living through the financial disaster of 2008 (often called the Great Recession of 2008)and watching as stagnant wages and shifts in the economy has left many people who worked hard all of their lives unable to retire, the drive to save as much as they can for their old age has increased. The problem, some financial experts say, is that this arbitrary and aggressive method of saving may leave them unable to accomplish other, equally important financial goals; like homeownership. Millennials have been blamed for the decline of traditional department stores, chain restaurants and disrupting numerous industries. Their spending habits have hollowed out the mid-range market and contributed to the boom in both the luxury market and the lower end markets. As much as some people would like to blame millennials’ affinity for avocado toast for the changes in the economy, it’s more likely that changes in their spending habits are reflective of their experiences and worries.
Worrying about your retirement and starting early are both very good things. Planning for the future is still sound advice. The problem is that what that future looks like is very individual and should include shorter term goals. Remember that before retirement there should be decades worth of financial decisions to make. College tuition, buying a home, starting a business, or simply pursuing a passion all require capital. It can be tempting for high earners with little or no financial obligations to save aggressively. There is always the fear that they may not always be high-earners. Maxing out your 401K in your twenties seems like a great thing in your twenties, but may not be possible when you’re older and have more responsibilities. However, this view is short-sided.
Sitting down with a financial planner and talking about what you can realistically save for your retirement while also planning to live is a great place to start. They can help you decide how to meet your long term goals while leaving enough money in your hands to accomplish more immediate goals.