4 Tips for Millennials Who Seriously Stress About Money on the Job
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An email arrives. It’s your latest electric bill.
Your phone dings. Your checking account has hit the low-balance threshold you set an alert for.
You glance at the calendar. What day did you mail your rent check?
Managing your finances isn’t a matter of checking the mail after work and opening bills at the kitchen table. It’s easier than ever to keep tabs on your money online, all day, every day.
And that convenience? Well, it can distract you from doing your job.
A new report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch indicates that millennials are significantly more stressed about money than their older colleagues, and they’re bringing that stress to work with them.
Everyone You Work With is Stressed About Money
“Employees who are overwhelmed and feeling financially stressed are bringing their worries to work and spending significant time dealing with personal financial matters ‘on the clock,’” the Bank of America Merrill Lynch report explained.
Its survey consulted more than 1,200 employees from around the country last fall. It found that 21% of respondents reported spending five or more working hours each week on personal financial matters, while 22% reported spending three to five hours each week fretting about their finances.
If you consider, as this report did, that an employee spends a median of two hours per week on their personal finances at work, that adds up to 100 hours per person per year.
Millennials: Generation of Worrywarts
Millennials in particular are feeling their financial issues between 9 and 5.
They spend an average of four hours per week on their personal finance issues at work, while Gen X spends an average of two hours on similar tasks. Baby boomers only spend an average one hour per week on personal finance matters, according to the survey.
The survey found that 56% of respondents reported they’re stressed about their financial situation, and 53% of those employees said their stress impacts how well they can focus and be productive at work.
Millennials? They’re twice as likely as boomers to say that stress interferes with their work. That’s probably because we all graduated college during the latest recession with mountains of high-interest student debt, and we’ll never get a leg up on the ruined housing market. Wait, this post isn’t about me?
What to Do if You’re a Financially Stressed Working Millennial
I’m not even going to try to reassure you, fellow millennial type, that you don’t need to worry about your finances all day. But you can make it easier on yourself.
Do a quick check through these four tasks to start breathing a little easier about your finances:
1. Automate Everything
No need for a calendar reminder to move money to your savings account or transfer money to your retirement account. Automate any and all money transfers you anticipate making on a monthly or weekly basis.
Need help keeping your growing nest egg separate from your spending money? Set up an account with an online bank like Chime. It’ll automatically move a portion of each paycheck to make saving a habit, not a chore.
Another plus: If you sign up for direct deposit, Chime gives you access to your money immediately. So you don't have to wait an extra day, like many other traditional banks.
You can also use Chime to choose to round up purchases to the next dollar, so the differences goes into your savings. Chime rewards you with a 10% bonus on round-ups each week.
That’s one to-do off your list just about forever.
2. Get a Handle on Your Student Loans
Your relationship with any student debt you have? Well, it should be pretty intimate. Get to know your student loan servicer, your payment terms and your options for income-based repayment.
If you can automate your payments each month, do it. Otherwise, set a monthly money date (maybe after 5 p.m… hmm?) to get cozy with your student loans.
Don’t worry about how big the tab is. Focus on avoiding student debt surprises.
3. If You’re in a Relationship, Talk About Money
Your relationship with money can get a lot more complicated when you have to manage expenses with a significant other.
Think managing your cash together is a task saved for marriage? Not necessarily. If you’re living together — or thinking about moving in — start talking about each of your money management styles and figure out how to manage your joint household.
If you’re living single and moved back in with your parents to save money, you should talk about money management with them, too. If you’re living at home, you’ll probably have to contribute in some way.
4. Start Investing
Retiring at the stroke of 62? It’s not a guarantee anymore. It’s up to you to invest in your future, so get started with an investment app like Stash.
You can start with just $5 and set up an automatic withdrawal from your checking account each week or month — again, hooray for automating everything!
Choose from more than 30 investment funds organized by your interests or beliefs instead of picking and choosing on some complicated investing site. It costs just $1 per month for accounts under $5,000.
Plus, if you sign up through this link, you’ll get a bonus $5 to invest.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. May we all be a bit richer today.
Lisa Rowan is a writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder. She is a reluctant millennial.