Our generation is financially in a worse place than our predecessors, plain and simple. This problem is compounded by a greater desire than past generations to pass on wealth to our family, despite being worth half as much as our parents were at our age and two-thirds of us worrying that we will not be able to save enough for retirement. And to top it all off, we don't trust financial advisors.
This creates an interesting problem for our generation, but there is a solution at hand. Do-it-yourself and invest early. Our culture today creates a great environment to branch out and learn to invest on our own, but we will only benefit from this culture, and combat our generation's circumstances, if we invest early.
To complement our skepticism of financial advisors, we are more interested in improving our investing knowledge than previous generations: "Forty-four percent of Millennials described themselves as 'extremely' interested to improve their understanding of investing."
This curiosity and interest coupled with our age allows us to venture into the market, and figure out the investing realm on our own. The younger you are, the more risk you are able to take. The room we have to take risk is what allows us to most effectively learn the ropes.
The other factor enabling us to do-it-ourselves is our technological advancement. There are countless apps and programs out there that can help you learn the ropes of investing under more experienced, knowledgeable traders. A few are uVest (coming soon), Motif, SigFig, and many more.
Such apps facilitate our ability to learn investing ropes and manage our own portfolios with some added guidance, but not completely under the auspices of an advisor.
Investing early can sometimes be hard. It is much easier to have an extra financial cushion, than to put the money way and live on an excruciatingly tight budget; however, investing early is crucial for our generation.
First of all, investing early is what enables us to take more risk, which is what allows us to become competent, profitable investors.
Even more importantly, investing early exponentially increases our savings, which is something a generation fearing not having enough for retirement greatly needs. By investing at 25, vis-à-vis 35, you can more than double your savings, taking it from $796,687 to $1,641,122.
These aren't the only reasons to invest early, a.k.a. now, for millennials: our current market is ripe for investing. Some think the thus far success of 2013 cannot continue, but others have more faith, going as far as venturing, "this is the most bullish I've been in my career."
It's much easier to put off investing and saving, thinking that you can just start next year, but that thinking is detrimental to our private finances. Baby Boomers' biggest regret is that they didn't start saving for retirement earlier, and they are in a much better financial place then we are.
After all, one extra decade can make a difference of $800,000.