TDG: Millenial Money

The Daily Grind: Millenial Money


With the release of the May budget, an incredulous number of unprocessed centrelink claims and instant rejects, and a whole lot of buzz about negative gearing in the media, it’s pretty safe to say that money is on the minds of pretty much every young person in Australia right now.

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I’m currently studying a corporate finance course at uni this semester, and despite now being equipped with useless knowledge of the stock market, how to manage a mortgage, and evade taxes (just kidding!), the prospects for young people still look pretty bleak.

With the cost of living rising, and job prospects diminishing, is it any wonder that young people are getting creative and working their butts off to become financially savvy on their own terms?

Just take Jaime, a student from Phoenix, who’s set herself an ambitious goal of graduating from university debt free. This accounting student hasn’t even graduated, but she is already offering her financial writing services online to get ahead in the game. I caught up with Jaime to find out what drives this young entrepreneur, and get her perspective on millennial money.

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Name: Jaime | Currently in: Omaha
Tell me a bit about yourself TDG: Millenial Money

My dad grew up poor in Costa Rica and won a scholarship to study at a uni in Russia. That’s where he met my mom, and a few years after their uni graduation they moved to Costa Rica. I lived in Costa Rica from the time I was 5 1/2 until I was 9. My parents had their own problems and got divorced.

When my mom started dating she met an American and they got married so in time we moved to Phoenix, AZ. I grew up in Arizona. I ended up moving to Omaha, NE because the recession affected my financial situation and I couldn’t afford to stay in Phoenix.

How do you spend your days?

I’m currently attending uni right now and so I spend my days going to classes, studying, and doing jobs that are flexible such as babysitting, pet sitting, pet walking, and freelance writing.

You study accounting and write about personal finance on your blog. What sparks your interest when it comes to money?

Money touches every aspect of our lives. It seemed to me that the people that were doing well in life were people that knew how to manage their money. They understood how to save it, invest it, spend it wisely, etc. I didn’t want to struggle for the rest of my life with money. When you learn how to handle money you can also build wealth and managing your money gives you opportunities, like the freedom to walk away from a job you hate.

You’ve set yourself the ambitious goal of graduating debt free. How do you plan to achieve this?

The money I get as a student right now comes from free government grants for students, money from my mom, and money from jobs. I track my spending, and I have a budget that I follow.

I feel bad that my mom has to help me at all because she actually is using the money from her retirement fund, so my goal for this year is to ramp up my efforts so I can stop taking money from my mom and be more self-sufficient. I already told my mom that I’m going to pay her back for what I’ve borrowed from her.

It really helps that I live in Omaha, NE as the cost of uni and general cost of living here is lower than it is in Phoenix, AZ. I believe it will take me three to four years to pay back my mom after I graduate from uni, if even that long.

Do you think it’s tougher for Gen Y to become financially secure than it was for our parents?

I think we are living in a golden age. We live in one of the best times that the world has ever known. Sure there are problems like war, crime, etc., but the world has always had that. We have so many opportunities that our grandparents and parents would have killed for.

The media likes to sensationalize things – to them; the world is going to hell in a hand basket every day. I believe in being a realistic optimist. Sure we have our challenges but what generation hasn’t?

What’s one tip you would give to young people trying to get out of debt?

Track your spending and your income. Download an app like Personal Capital and it will tell you where your money is going. If you notice that you’re eating out each month and spending $200/month on it then that’s something you can cut back on. It’s very eye opening.

Once you know how much money is coming in each month and going out, you can adjust and change things, so you can build the future that you want.

How would you define success?

Success to me is living life on your own terms, and living a happy, healthy and fulfilled life. I also want to get to the point where I can pretty much live anywhere I want and not let my finances dictate where I can live.

Life is beautiful and life is hard, you have to work for what you want. Don’t give up on your dreams just because there are several detours along the way. Sometimes it takes failing several times to become a success. Remember that you’re here for a reason.

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Discover more of Jaime’s writing here or check out another story from The Daily Grind.

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