Money is confusing. It’s full of jargon; half-explained terms which are melded together incomprehensibly. Profit upgrades “move the market”. Interest rates are “tightened”. Hot new tech firms “launch” their IPOs. Financial press is fantastic at using active verbs to make all these events seem exciting, but it is very poor at explaining what’s really going on.
Closer to home, adults in their twenties are struggling to understand and exert some level of control over their personal finances. Everyone understands abstractly that they need to budget, save, and invest for the future, but very often the practicalities of doing so are lost. Although there are a myriad of new apps which make personal finance easier, millennials simply don’t know where to start!
It’s so essential because taking control of your money is the first step to taking control of your life. Once you’re able to budget and save consistently you’ll have more options about how you work, study and travel. Taking a pay-cut or moving to ad-hoc work in order to pursue your interests won’t be as scary if you have a clear view of how you can make it work financially. Equally, learning to invest early in your life, no matter how small the amount, will set you up for a more secure retirement.
This is what I’d like to address. I’ve had the benefit of a business degree and a long-standing interest in economics. By no means am I a personal finance expert, but I know enough to lay out the basics clearly and simply. Over the course of a series of articles I will write about the basics of money, giving you the knowledge to take control of your own finances. I will cover:
- Markets, balance sheets and money
- The world’s simplest budget
- Investing for the long-term
- Pension schemes and superannuation
- Renting or buying houses
Some notes up front. Firstly this is not a spoon-feeding guide where I tell you exactly what to do. The truth is that it will vary depending on your circumstances, and I think that everyone can make good choices for themselves when they have the right information. Secondly in the course of simplifying there will be some things I miss out, but I’ll always be happy to direct you to more resources if you want to dive deeper. Finally I’m writing this advice to help you (…yes you!).
Oliver is a banker who has an ambition to help millennials learn the adult skills they never got taught. To follow his journey head to his medium page here.
If you have questions then please email or comment and Oliver will do his best to answer.