Turning Millennials into Millionaires

The secret to finance? Pay attention. Seriously, that seems to pretty much cover it if you’re willing to act according to your observations. For instance, take this article I just stumbled across. If millennials are just willing to pay attention (and adhere) to their budget, they will put away enough money to become a millionaire on retirement. For more information, please proceed to aforementioned article.

Using Social Media to Millennial Advantage

Millennials are time and time again accused of a lack of attention span, an inundation with technology and an obsession with social media. Yet, what is often neglected is that these very characteristics could be viewed as positive attributes. In fact, social media in particular presents a phenomenal opportunity for growing these young men and women’s career, enhancing their professional reputation, and cultivating their corporate/client relationships.

As Millennials trail-blaze their way into a professional future saturated with digital media and technology, here are a number of things they should keep in mind:

Focus on the long-term.

As they say, “content is king,” and cultivating a long-term relationship rests upon this very notion. By providing value to your digital audience, you are forming an organic relationship with what will be your loyal customer base. If you merely reach out to ask for referrals or advertise mediocre specials, you will lose the interest of your online following and thus reduce your potential customer base.

High-quality, informative and engaging content is what will naturally drive customers to your brand and is what will keep them coming back. Give your customers (or professional network) something they legitimately want to read, and they will keep returning to the source (you) for more.

Maintain professional social media profiles.

Just in case you haven’t already taken care of this, make sure you have created and are maintaining a professional online presence. LinkedIn and Twitter are both fantastic platforms for increasing your digital exposure and refining your professional brand. As you increasingly post informative and engaging content, you will be adding to your image as a ‘thought-leader’ in your industry, which will in turn bolster your overall image.

Stay relevant.

Keep your finger on the pulse of the online community to ensure you are writing about things and engaging with trends that have traction behind them. You can increase your digital audience by writing things people want to read, but the only way to write thing people want to read is to see what they are already reading somewhere else. Websites like Right Relevance and even the Google News add-on are wonderful tools for seeing what the internet is discussing, interacting with, and commenting on. Take advantage.

In today’s day and age, social media is a fundamental aspect of building, refining, and perfecting your professional image. There is no excuse to not grow your online brand along with your career. In fact, your career itself may very well depend on it.

Saving in the Modern Age

Alec Shklyar, Finance, Money, SaveAmerican spending habits are being increasingly questioned as the saving rates of many citizens continue to plummet. In fact, the St. Louis Federal Reserve releases data every month on personal household savings rates. In 7/2016, the savings was a measly 5.7%. To put that into perspective, the rate just 50 years ago was literally double that.  

Just as well, the vast majority of other industrialized nations have a higher personal savings rate than the United States of America. Considering the standard quality of life in America is significantly higher than many other developed nations, there is a clear disconnect between how much Americans are making and how much they’re spending. In this vein, it has come to light that although Americans should be saving between 10 and 15% of their annual income as a rule of thumb, an astounding 7/10 Americans have less than $1,000 in savings.

This sort of savings illiteracy is only becoming more pervasive and more impactful. Thus, we need to take a stand and reverse the trend. In order to do so, here are several helpful hints for living a financially responsible life:

Use the internet for budgeting—throw paper to the wind:

In recent years, the technological boom has molded nearly aspect of society, budgeting tools included. There is an abundance of free online tools men and women can use to plan their budgets, see where they can save, and form an easy-to-adhere-to savings plan. Generally, it comes up with a dollar figure based on the dollar amount you earn or the percentage of earned income you want to put away. In just a half hour, you could have the financial plan that will bring stability back into to your life.

Associate with other fiscally responsible individuals.

Jim Rohn said we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, and our finances are certainly not excluded from this broad but accurate analysis. If your friends and family are also trying to put away money and are also invested in their own fiscal well-being, then you, by extension, will be more likely to save successfully.

To this end, if you live alone, I suggest meeting up with a group of others who are striving to save some cash. This way your goal becomes more attainable and you are able to witness others gain the budgetary discipline you want, which makes it more realistic, and thus, more achievable.

Stay S.M.A.R.T.

S.M.A.R.T. stands for:

-Specific
-Measurable
-Achievable
-Realistic
-Time-based

Saving money is difficult, and it’s nearly impossible without having the proper goals in purpose. They need to be objective so you can hold yourself accountable, and the only way your budgeting goals can be objective is if they’re quantified and adhere to the above parameters.

Remember—the only person who suffers from a lack of savings is you. Take care of your future self the way you deserve.

11 millennial money-saving ideas so teeny-tiny they might actually work

It’s so tiny (crazy?) that it just might work. I recently stumbled across this awesome article with some unique but insightful ideas on how the younger generation can make some money despite a smaller entry-level salary. For a good read, click here!

5 tips to better understand millennial managers

Millennials may get a lot of flak in the workplace, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s warranted. Sometimes it’s just a difference of opinion, and sometimes it’s just simple miscommunication. The next time you feel a generational conflict arise in your office, you should try to implement some of these quick tips and tricks to make the most of your relationship with your Millennial manager.

The Opportunity Cost of Travel Now, Later, and in Retirement

Alec Shklyar, Money, Personal FinanceIn today’s age of innumerable travel blogs, the question often beckons: should I travel while I’m younger and have less responsibility or when I’m older and have more money? There are pros and cons to both, clearly. When you are younger, you may have less responsibility but you often don’t have the fiscal resources to truly take advantage of an immersive travel experience. Of course, that is not to say you are diminishing the impact of your travel at all, but it does certainly reduce your options to a certain extent. On the flip side, traveling while you’re older can be tremendous. You can budget for the finer things, stay in hotels—not hostels, and even afford good food. However, as can probably be guessed, you are generally confined to a restrictive time frame since you have, likely, by this time established a career where you play an integral role that cannot be neglected for extended periods of time. In light of all this, I have elected to list the various benefits of travel now vs later, what it means for your wallet, and most importantly: is it worth it?

Your teens & early 20s.

While this is less likely considering your finances are most likely strained, this option does pose a number of benefits. First and foremost, time. Time plays a role of integral significance when it comes to traveling because it dictates responsibility or the lack thereof. You probably have not worked your way up the ladder in the rat race that is your career, and so the opportunity cost of both salary and career development are thankfully limited. Then again, if your career development is limited then so is your financial backing. One way around this is to work while you travel—a phenomenal option that should by no means be overlooked—but this will inevitably take away from the precious time you are using to travel in the first place. There are many different schools of thought in this regard and I leave it up to you to make the final decision, of course.

Your 20s

A time to let go. A time to find yourself. A time for maturation as adolescents become adults and integrate into the workforce where they will remain until retirement. Your 20s, in regards to maturation, seem like the perfect time to travel. You are young enough to retain the vigor that traveling nonstop requires and perhaps you have even developed a fair bit of financial backing at this point. However, your career development will likely be stifled if you choose to leave the foundation you have spent your education and the beginning of your professional experience lying. Many may claim that to travel in your 20s is to undo the progress you have made, but to be frank, I feel that to travel in your twenties is likely the best time (while working) because you are unencumbered by family, unrestricted by significant occupational responsibility, but still have the resources with which to travel comfortably and for an extended period of time.

Your 30s.

To be totally honest, traveling in your thirties is probably the most intelligent financial or socially responsible decision. The opportunity cost in regards to salary will probably be much greater than it would have been ten years earlier, and this is often a time where individuals are looking to start families, to fall in love and purchase their first home. /your 30s are time to live the American dream, and while that’s certainly a beautiful time in life, it also means traveling is less likely.

Retirement.

I realize I left out a few decades, but your 40s and above, until retirement, are more or less the same idea with respect to opportunity cost and raising a family. Retirement, though, if you’re healthy enough, is without a doubt the best time to travel. Although you may not have the energy of your twenties, you will be free to explore without an anchor. With no job to remind you of reality and the responsibilities inherent within it, you can make good use of your fiscal resources without feeling like you need to report back to the office. There is no reason the twilight of life cannot be the highlight of life. The tail-end of your career can be just the beginning of your travel. To truly take advantage of life for everything it has to offer, you need to feel unencumbered by work. Retirement does just that.

The Resume Tips you NEED to Know

Alec Shklyar, Resume, TipsAs Millennials continue to flood the market with increased education rates, more marketable skills, and more experience than ever before, the competition to land a job increases as well. At times, it can seem insurmountable for those just breaking into the market for the first time. However, what these first-timers often fail to properly depict is the most fundamental part of their application: their resume. The first signifier of an applicant, the resume, plays a role of the utmost significance in getting your foot in the door of the job you want. Yet, how do you write a killer resume? How do you appear professional but sociable? Relatable but experienced? Well, you could hire an expert for an immense sum of money, or you could follow some of these quick and easy tips to stand up, stand out, and get the job:

Don’t generalize your resume.

Be specific. The vast majority of applicants draft a resume they feel will be applicable to many markets because they are unwilling to draft specific resumes for specific jobs. From a more experienced perspective, however, this is a neglectful decision that could very well cost you the job. If you orient your resume for the particular job you are looking at, you are far more likely to stand out relative to other applicants. Take that extra time and customize your resume for the job you want. Employers will notice the nuanced details that establish you as the more credible applicant, and they will be more likely to get in touch with you to advance the interview process.

Be brief. Brevity is power.

In this regard, I am not necessarily saying that there is one key length you should model. Rather, I am merely advocating that you pay attention to the length of your resume. In no circumstance should it extend beyond two pages, and if it goes beyond one page, there should be a good reason, such as vital relevant experience that distinguishes you from the rest of the pool of applicants. Also, ensure that you are highlighting your strengths! Employers have to be told why they want you, and your resume is the first way to do so.

Make your Resume Tell a Story.

Your resume should tell a story. It should be easy to follow, letting an employer look at one job and understand how you ended up where you are today. There should be a clear example of professional development that not only elaborates on your work history and emphasizes your strengths, but also enables employers to see you at their company as the ending to your resume.

Resumes can be very difficult to formulate. Remaining brief while engaging and informative all at the same time is no easy feat, but if you incorporate the above tips, you should be well on your way to not just getting the interview—but getting the job. Good luck!

3 Ways To Pay Off Student Loans

Student loans continue to be a financial burden for most millennials.  It can be extremely frustrating and overwhelming to manage your loans right away, especially after graduation. According to Mark Kantrowitz, a publisher and vice president of strategy for Cappex.com, the average student debt for 2016 graduates is a record $37,173, up 6.05% from last year’s level. This is definitely not something millennials want to hear.  Let’s take a look at three ways you can expedite the process and get you debt free.

Alec Shklyar money

Money, Money, Money

Part-Time Job

It might be best for you to start looking for a part-time job while you are in college. It can benefit you in multiple ways. First, you will be able to put aside some money each month that will help decrease your compiling debt. Having a part-time job will also allow you to gain some valuable working experience that will benefit you in the future. According to Clayton Shearer, a wealth manager at A&I Financial Services in Englewood, Colorado,

“if a student can put away $1,000 a month, that’s $12,000 (a year) less in student loans and not having to take that money out in loans — a big savings”

Now, how can you disagree with him? Get started now on looking for a job!

Cut down on Spending Habits

When you graduate college and get your first full-time job, you’ll finally start seeing consistent income. This influx of cash may certainly be enough to lead to you spending money on unnecessary things. It may be in your best interest, in the beginning, to cut down on some expensive items and put that money towards your student loans. It is absolutely a sacrifice, but it’s better to do it sooner rather than later. (Especially when “later” entails the accumulation of even more unnecessary debt.)  Trust me, you will be thanking yourself later.

Develop a Plan

I definitely recommend you developing a plan (budget) after you graduate college. It can be a great way to put things in order and keep you organized. This plan should allow you to understand what you should and shouldn’t spend money on, in order for you to cut down on your debt. Budgeting apps, which I wrote about in my recent blog post can be a good way to help you get started in the right direction.

The 3 Best Summer Jobs For College Students

Summer is a great time for college students to wind down after a long school year of studying and writing papers. You can spend time with friends, hit up the beaches and go on vacations. The time off is also important for students to make some extra cash before they head back to school in August. The following are three awesome summer jobs that college students should consider to make their summer vacations not only enjoyable, but productive as well.

Alec Shklyar - business

Develop Working Skills

Office Internship

Taking an internship (in any industry) is great for two reasons. One, you can develop an entire skillset that you would not have obtained otherwise.  Two, you may be able to get your foot in the door with a potential employer after your graduate. Even if the internship doesn’t lead to full-time employment down the road, the work experience will still look great on your resume. While interning you should look to build solid relationships with your employers and colleagues, as they will be great additions to your professional network. This can be very beneficial for you in the future. From my perspective, I recommend completing an internship for at least one summer while you are in college. It can give you a leg up against your competition when your start applying for jobs post-graduation.

Bartender

Alec Shklyar - Bartender

Bartender

Bartending over the summer is one of the more common choices among college students. You have the possibility of making some good money, but you will definitely be working some late nights. If you enjoy the nightlife, this may be a good place to start. There are a few positives about working as a bartender that will help when you’re looking for your full-time job. Most importantly, you will get to learn how to work in high-pressure situations, which is a highly transferable skill. Bars sometimes get extremely hectic and you will learn that you must stay calm during these moments. Second, you will be interacting with people constantly, and you never know who you will meet.  I recommend you always be kind and outgoing because there is a chance you may be meeting your future employer.

Camp Counselor

Alec Shklyar

Camp Counselor

If you are looking to stay active during the summer, then working as a camp counselor might be a great fit for you. It is also great to put on your resume because you will be developing some great working skills along the way.  This job is definitely one that can stand out on a resume when you are applying to jobs.


Getting a job will not only put cash in your pocket but it will also give your parents a break from always giving you money for food, clothes or whatever your heart desires.

Smart Money Moves for College Students

As a junior in college, I have realized it is a good idea to start making good financial decisions that can better myself in the future. After doing some research on my own, I have listed some ideas that I have learned that can definitely be beneficial for you now and long term.

Build a Credit History

It is extremely important to build a strong credit report and credit score. As a college student, I have realized how valuable financially it is to get started as early as possible. It is difficult to get a unsecured credit card because you will have little income and no credit history. However, I applied for a student credit card and a department store retail credit card. These are both great ways to build up your credit report since these cards have low credit limits. The limits will increase overtime as long as you are paying off your balance.

Work for Experience

Two summers ago, I interned at Main Street Renewal, a private company focused on buying, renovating, and leasing homes across the country. The company was located in New York City and it was such an incredible experience that I will never forget the rest of my life. The knowledge I gained from Main Street Renewal was so valuable that it will play large role in my future. I learned that when you are in school do not worry about how much money you make in either your internship, part-time job, or work study program worry about the knowledge and experience you will gain by working there. You have your entire life to work for a paycheck, use the time in college to explore the things you enjoy doing that can help you for your future.

Open an Online Savings Account

You do not earn too much money during your time in college, but it is still key to start saving money early on. The best way that I found that works is openings a savings account. I also learned that having automatic deposits from your checking account go into your savings account is very crucial because you do not have to worry about doing it on your own, it does it for you.