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.
Saving money is always a big topic of conversation among people, especially if they live paycheck-to-paycheck. It also may make you curious as to what Millennial women have in their savings accounts right now. Do you have a similar amount? More? Less? Nothing? Chances are, you'll be able to relate to ~someone~ I spoke to below. "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."
Seems like solid advice, especially given that statistics show that many Millennials are not big savers. A 2016 GoBankingRates survey found that among "young Millennials" — those between 18 and 24 — 72 percent had less than $1,000 in their savings accounts, and 31 percent had nothing. A small number, 8 percent, had over $10,000 saved. As for "older Millennials" — those between 25 and 34 — the survey found that 67 percent had less than $1,000 in their savings accounts, 33 percent had nothing, and 15 percent had over $10,000.
Check out the entire ‘Young Money’ series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.
Why The Low Numbers?
Erin Lowry, Millennial finance expert and author of the upcoming book BROKE MILLENNIAL: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together, inspired by the blog of the same name, weighs in on reasons for the low numbers. "Overspending and lack of a budget are both common factors for why both men and women do not have significant savings," Lowry tells Bustle. "For Millennials, there's often a pressure to be balancing lifestyle with significant student loan debt, and those living in metropolitan areas with high cost of living find it difficult to put more than a few bucks away per paycheck. Because saving $10 or $20 per paycheck sounds so insignificant, many people will give up before they even get started. They may wonder, why bother saving $10 a paycheck, when it would take five months to get to just $100 (assuming you're paid bi-weekly)?"
How Can Millennials Save More?
~This~ is the question, right? How can you and I save more?! "In addition to saving and investing your other funds, create an emergency fund," Colton says. "As you create an emergency plan, aim to maintain at least six months' worth of living expenses in an easy-to-access checking or savings account. Plus, 'stash' any extra cash you receive that may come in the form of a tax return, bonus, or gift."
So what did I find out? Here's what 14 Millennial women said they have in their savings accounts right now.
Psst! Have you checked out Ellevest, a unique digital investment platform for women? Pay no advisory fee for the first three months when you sign up today. Get started here.
"I have a 401(k) with about 10k. When I can, I would put $500, but there have been moments that I've deposited $1k each month. I don't have a savings account because there have been times when I've gone crazy with shopping, and all my money in my savings account gets transferred into my checking to cover my overdraft."
"For savings, I like the idea of 'out of sight, out of mind.' At the end of each month, I have 3k transferred from my bank to my investment portfolio — this makes it incredibly easy to save. I push myself to save, which in turn makes me less anxious and less scared of my financial future. I want my golden years to be golden, the way it's been for my parents. I have a total of 100k in an investment portfolio that is handled entirely by a financial firm. I also have $40k in a Roth IRA, which I max out at the beginning of each year. My company is in the process of implementing a 401(k) company matching program that I also intend to max out in annual contributions."
"Sadly, I do not have much of a savings account these days. I lost my job and it took me a while to find a new one, so I started living off my savings. I have a new job now, but it's still tough to not touch the savings since I took a lower-paying job. I am meeting with a financial planner soon to try to reduce my expenses since I hate touching the savings."
"I have about $3,000 in my savings account, plus another $2,000 in an 'FU' fund at a separate bank. I used to have close to $14,000 in my 'FU' fund, but I used most of it last year when I took six months off from work. I also have $14,000 in a 401(k), $9,000 in a Roth IRA, and about $12,000 in a brokerage account. To help me save more money and replenish my 'FU' fund, I'm currently trying out spending 'fasts,' when I try to live off as little as possible. My goal is to keep my spending under $100/week."
"I have about $7,000 in my savings account right now, which is definitely not where I wish it was. Living in New York City on an entry-level salary, while also paying for graduate-level classes, is expensive — and I sometimes have to dip into my savings to pay off bills. I save money — or realistically, try to save money — by automatically putting a set amount of my paycheck into my savings account. Usually, depending on the month and my bills, I try to put at least 15 percent of my paycheck into savings, which I treat like a vault. When you dip into your savings more frequently, it becomes less of a savings account and more of a backup account, especially when you can transfer money directly from the app on your phone."
"I try to keep at least $10k in my savings, but as an entrepreneur, I am constantly spending on supplies, fees, and ways to grow my businesses. Right now, I have $8k. At the high, it tends to go to around $15k. Basically, my savings is my cash flow that I reinvest. I do not have an investor, so I am self-funding."
"Currently, I have something north of $20k in savings. I do have a 401(k) from a previous employer, but there isn't a ton in there, as I didn't put part of my paycheck toward it (my company would match). I pretend my savings doesn't exist and act as if I have no money, only paying for things that are absolutely necessary. Every pay period, I make sure to manually transfer a constant minimum into my savings and make sure I don't touch it. I manually do it so I keep track of what I'm saving, as well as keeping a close eye on my account."
"I automatically have $500 transferred into my savings each month. Living on my own in L.A. without financial help, my savings account is definitely not as strong as my siblings' and friends' accounts in Utah. I use the app 'Digit' to help me automatically save and to monitor my daily spending. I've also had a Roth IRA set up since I was in high school."
"I have about $30k+ total in savings with a Roth IRA account that is pre-tax. I make sure to max out my contributions each year and transfer $1k+ into savings every few months. I save money because it gives me freedom to live the lifestyle I want and not be indebted to anyone."
"Right now, I have almost $3k in my savings account — which doesn't sound like much, but it's expensive to live in New York City! I do have a 401(k), which I opened soon after I graduated college. However, only a small amount (I believe $10) from my paycheck each week goes towards that. A good money-saving strategy for me has been transferring money from my checking to my savings each week after getting paid so that I am not tempted to spend it. I also am enrolled in Bank of America's 'Keep the Change' savings program — each time I make a purchase using my debit card, it is rounded up to the nearest dollar amount, and that amount is transferred from my checking to my savings account."
"Currently in my savings account, I have $7,450. I do not have a Roth IRA, and I am not currently putting money into my 401(k), simply because I do not make enough money at this time to be putting anymore away than I already am. However, my company will automatically put three percent of my paycheck into my 401(k), it's just that I do not have the funds to match it. I live in Washington, D.C., and housing and life are simply expensive, so money is tight as it is. My strategy is simply to save $200 from each paycheck and put it directly into my savings. Don't even think twice, just put it away. Some pay periods, I put less, because utilities may be higher or I may have spent more money on some necessary clothes or shoes. But I do tend to put between $50-200 per pay check directly into my savings."
"I have $5,000 in savings and $7,000 in my 401(k) and Roth IRA. I used to charge everything on credit cards, which left me with no money to save after paying off huge bills at the end of the month. Now, I try to pay with cash or charge everything on my debit card, which I find makes me more conscientious of my spending habits. I also signed up for my company’s 401(k) program, setting it up for the maximum match. After paying off my credit card bills, I put 50 percent of my performance bonuses into my Roth IRA and automatically deposit $100 of my paycheck into my savings accounts."
"Last year, I had about $5,000 in savings. Now, it’s around $1,000. My savings could, and would, be much higher if I were more disciplined. Too often, I have 'emergencies' come up, and then my poor savings account suffers. A friend of mine has her savings in a different bank than her checking, and she acts like the savings account does not exist. I need to do that, plus have part of my check go right into a savings account so I don’t see the money."
"I lived at home for two years of college, and while I was living there, my parents made me start a savings account and Roth IRA in lieu of paying rent. I've had those accounts for about eight years, and now that I'm working a full-time job, I also have a 401(k). As to how much I have in my retirement funds: I'm actually not sure, although I probably should know! As for my savings account, I think I have about $20,000 in it."
As you can see, the amounts of money female Millennials save varies quite a lot. I'm glad to see, though, that many seem to have organized finances, and save more than the 2016 GoBankingRates survey data found. As Colton says above "it's never too late to start saving," and I think that's a great rule of thumb to follow. Don't you?
Check out the “Get Money” stream in the Bustle App for more tips and tricks on how to save and spend your money.