smart spending

Financial tips for millennials

You might be surprised to find out that getting that college degree isn't the hardest thing you'll do in life. Once you enter the workforce in search of that big paycheck, that's when the real work begins.

At entry level, every penny counts, so take full advantage of any company-offered retirement plan. It may not seem like something you need to prioritize and save toward, but inertia is a powerful thing. The sooner you begin to set money aside for your retirement, the more time your money will have to grow. And if your employer matches your contributions to your 401(k) how could you afford not to save?

The best time to invest aggressively is when you're young because you have time on your side to recover from any risky investments that don't pay off.

You should explore your options, not just with investing, but also when choosing a bank. Recent studies have shown that young adults visit the ATM more often than the average bank customer because they tend to be more cash-centric. So, if that's important to you, find a bank with many branches, or one that reimburses you for ATM fees.

Young adults tend to oversimplify budgeting their money. Many admit to not monitoring their finances as closely as they should. Often all they want to check is: Is the money there? What's the balance? And is there a bill due?

If this is your case, look for a bank that offers budgeting tools and ways to better monitor your account -- like low-balance notifications and bill-pay alerts.

Remember, each generation faces its own challenges when it comes to finances, with unique wants and needs. It's important to do what's best for you at your current life stage.

For more personal finance tips for millennials, visit Bankrate.com.

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