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.

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.