Money is a feminist issue — and yet, women are still reluctant to talk about it. According to a recent Bustle survey of more than 1,000 Millennial women, more than 50 percent of people said they never discuss personal finances with friends, even though 28 percent reported feeling stressed out about money every single day. Bustle's Get Money series gets real about what Millennial women are doing with their money, and why — because managing your finances should feel empowering, not intimidating. Today's topic: why Millennial women save money.
Everyone has different reasons for saving money, whether it's for short-term goals (Hawaii, anyone?) or long-term goals (like retirement). Granted, not everyone saves money, but now's def the time to start if you haven't already. After all, a 2016 GoBankingRates survey found that many Millennials are not big savers, with the biggest percentage having less than $1,000 in savings (!), and the second biggest percentage had zero. Surprising, yes? "Remember, it's never too late to start saving, no matter where you are in life," Anna Colton, Merrill Edge executive, tells Bustle. "As you get older, consider job changes, salary increases, and lifestyle changes as an opportunity to evaluate your savings plan and how much you're contributing to your retirement. In addition, consider automating your savings. Having money automatically deposited from a paycheck into a workplace retirement account can make investing for the future effortless." Personally, I'm a big fan of automated banking, so I agree with Colton.
But let's say you've tried saving — and failed. Unfortunately, you dip into your savings account waaaay too much. So then how do you save — and stick to it?! "Change your mindset," Danny Zoucha, author of the upcoming book Happy Rich: The Direct Way to Make Plenty of Money, Find Your Bliss & Build a Remarkable Life, tells Bustle. "People spend for instant gratification. But discipline is deciding that what you want later is worth more than what you can have right now. Do you want to live paycheck-to-paycheck? Or do you want to be really comfortable, with lots of freedom? What about in 10 years? What about in 20 years? Nothing will change unless your activity changes. Your activity won't change unless you change your mindset."
Exactly, right?! Below, 22 Millennial women talk about why they save money, and, as you'll see, the answers vary.
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"Aside from saving being something I've been adamantly told to do, I save simply because I want to retire, because I have dreams and desires of a certain lifestyle. And the lifestyle is nothing extravagant — a small house by the sea will do. :) I admit, I save also because of an innate fear that I might not get all that I plan for and won't be able to tap into the expectations I have for my future. At least I get on better knowing that the intent is there. I want my golden years to be golden, the way it's been for my parents."
"I save money to ensure I have a safety net for the future. I'm not saving for one particular thing but, rather, many unknown things that I might want or may need. I only ever dip into my savings to pay for some unexpected expense but, even then, I always pull from my checking first and make sure that the checking account never drops below a certain amount."
"I save money because I know I will need it when I retire. I also want to save up to buy a house, take vacations, and pay for my (eventual) kids to go to college."
"I save money so that I can go on trips and treat myself to things like clothes, shoes, and makeup — but also so that I can begin to build a strong foundation for my financial future. I have been supporting myself since I graduated college, and I want to be able to continue to do so for as long as I want/need."
"I save money because it gives me freedom to live the lifestyle I want and not be indebted to anyone."
"I save money because I was raised with the notion to 'always have six months' worth of 'life expenses' saved away for a rainy day.' My mother always instilled in me that life is not certain, and steady employment is even more uncertain, so it's best to have six months' worth of rent, utilities, food, insurance, etc. saved away. I have lived my post-grad years with that notion, and continue to save for a rainy day... or an amazing European vacation one day."
"I don't have much in savings, but when I really discipline myself to save, I directly deposit money into an account. Right now, I'm depositing $20/paycheck into a savings account for a vacation, and six percent of my income goes to my 401(k)."
"My husband and I save money for buying a house, and then extra money in case the pipes freeze or the roof leaks. We save money for retirement, and in a college fund for children we don't yet have. We save money because it makes us feel secure and in control, and it's a smart thing to do."
"I have a savings account. I actually have two savings accounts — one for emergencies and one for travel. I only dip into these two accounts for a) emergencies or b) travel. In addition, I save for retirement through a Roth IRA. I had a 401(k) when I worked at a firm, but once I left to start my own company, I rolled it all over to an IRA. I save money now so I can rest easy when I am older and retire in peace."
"I've always been a planner and a bit risk-adverse, so I just want to make sure I'm set when I'm older. My parents were big savers and had retirement funds, and now that they're retired, they're living the high-life — traveling constantly, investing more in hobbies, etc. — without worrying about money, and that's the kind of lifestyle I want to have. In the future, I also want to be able to buy a house, buy a car, and invest in my kids' college funds — those are things that will cost a lot of money, so I want to be ready."
"Basically, I save so I have a future. I don't want to work my entire life, so I hope what I'm saving now will really benefit me in the future. My parents had me saving from a very young age, from a piggy bank when I was a kid to a savings account by the time I was a teenager. I think saving is essential, especially the way the job market continually changes so much. We always have to be ready for a Plan B — and the future."
"My fiancé and I save for many reasons: a new house (so we have a joint fund for that — and we don't touch it); a fun fund (when we travel, and we both contribute once or twice a month, or more); an emergency fund (self-explanatory!); and our future (retirement, and we use our work 401(k)s and our individual savings accounts, stocks, etc. for this). The key is — save it, don't spend it!"
"I save for various reasons, retirement being the main one. I also have another account for more immediate savings, like a vacation I'm taking in a few months or a concert I'm going to next month. However, all that said, I try to keep a minimum balance of $5,000 in the immediate fund, and as much as possible in the retirement one. I NEVER touch the retirement one, and I replace what I took out of the immediate one within a week or two, so I pay myself back!"
"I traveled so much in my early and mid-twenties that I never really mastered the art of saving. If I had money, I would buy a plane ticket. I've moved a little past that mindset and now have a savings account and a retirement plan. Fifteen percent of my income goes to retirement, and I have no intention of touching it until I'm in my 70s. My savings account is a mixture of emergency funds and long-term and short-term savings goals. My emergency fund is enough to cover me for about three months of lost income. My long-term savings is for a down payment on a house, and my short-term savings is for at least one annual trip overseas. I also use a Health Savings Account, because it allows me to save pre-tax dollars that won't hurt as much to spend if I get sick or injured. I figure, no matter how much stacks up in the HSA, I will eventually get around to spending it."
"I save because I feel fairly confident that my generation is not going to see retirement benefits at this rate. Since I live in Asia, my month-to-month savings are for small trips in the area. My savings for my Roth IRA, investment account, and student loans are inflexible. My Roth IRA provides the opportunity to use $10,000 from it when I buy my first home, but that's just an option I'm keeping open. In general, my savings are for retirement and unknowns. I am just not confident that I will always be in a place financially to save, so I might as well now because no one else is going to bail me out if anything were to happen."
"I normally save for something important that I want. It might not be the best way to save, but it gets me the things I want quickly! I am self-employed, and I do put some money towards a 401(k), but the rest of my savings goes to things like my wedding, that is happening this October, or an awesome trip!"
"I save money in two accounts, personal savings and 401(k), for a variety of reasons, but mainly for future financial security once retirement comes. Also, for any unknown emergencies. I want to be able to live within my 'normal' means if anything should happen, job-wise. I also save a smaller budget monthly just for myself — going out, shopping, upcoming vacations — because I like to stay busy and keep up with what my friends and family are doing and never experience FOMO!"
"Setting financial goals (big and small) is huge — from that killer pair of boots or a weekend getaway to unexpected emergencies and eventual retirement. One of the reasons I enjoy saving money is simply the rewarding feeling of seeing my savings grow, and the satisfaction that it’s my own hard-earned cash making it all happen. My most recent short-term savings were spent financing a cozy new apartment in Atlanta, Georgia, and although I was definitely getting antsy to pack up and run, it was totally worth it when I turned the key on move-in day."
"My 401(k) is deducted post-tax from my paychecks for the purposes of retirement. It's not much, but it adds up. I've chosen very aggressive stock options because I'm literally decades from retirement and can survive a bad week/year(s)."
"I save money for every aspect of my life. In my Ally account, I have separate savings accounts for emergencies, a house, and vacations. My retirement is saved for separately in a Roth IRA account, which I try to max out every year. While these savings goals mean I have to limit impulsive purchases, like a cup of coffee or a new pair of shoes, it helps me prioritize experiences and what I deem important in my life —rather than wasting money on things that I will not remember in a week or year. On the other hand, it enables me to travel or splurge on concerts and beautiful, quality pieces for my capsule wardrobe. To me, saving and spending is all about mindfulness."
"I save because sh*t happens more often than not. Nothing ruins my mood worse than an unexpected expense that I did not budget for. Having a savings, especially for emergencies, takes the worry out of life. Now, if something crazy happens and I need a quick $500, it's there waiting to be used! There's comfort in being prepared for the worst, but hoping it never happens."
"I save money in about five different accounts, in order to properly save for retirement, an emergency, student loans and fun things, like vacation. I save money in both a 401(k) and Roth IRA, as I've found it's a good rule of thumb to contribute to both a pre-tax and after-tax investment account to begin saving for retirement. I save money in a Capital One 360 account for the interest rate and ability to have multiple accounts to separate funds for emergencies, saving for a new car, etc. My Bank of America 'Keep The Change' account collects change from my checking account to accrue savings that is easily accessible (Capital One 360 takes about 3-5 business days to transfer, making it less tempting to use savings on the spot). Lastly, I have a separate account where I contribute a portion of my paycheck to student loan savings. Separation is key for me, as I like to meet goals, such as saving for Christmas or birthday gifts, as well as restrain myself from using any funds saved for student loans on a vacation."
As you see above, there are many common reasons as to why Millennial women save money, from wanting to go on a trip to wanting to feel comfortable once they retire. Plus, if you haven't saved much money up to this point, you can definitely start right now. Even if it seems like whatever money you save is not enough, it does all add up.
Check out the “Get Money” stream in the Bustle App for more tips and tricks on how to save and spend your money.