When you look around, it’s obvious that the world has changed exponentially in the past twenty to thirty years. Advice that was once sound and solid no longer seems to apply to the current generations.
Once upon a time, health insurance premiums cost people pennies out of their check, rent was a relatively comfortable number, and couples were able to decide who got to stay home with the kids. Fast-forward to modern times, and two partners can barely string together enough money to cover their expenses unless one of them pulls a second job.
Health insurance premiums have risen to over four times the amount they were in the year 2000. On a personal level, I often reminisce about how I only had to pay $600 per month for my first apartment. Out of curiosity, I took a peek at how much they charge now, and it’s doubled. I rented that apartment in 2012.
Needless to say, times have changed. So why do people still believe that the same advice that applied to the past generations would apply now?
Here are 6 pieces of outdated financial advice that gen Z and Millenials simply don’t listen to.
1. Pay your way through college.
Once upon a time, people could work their way through college. However, during that time, college didn’t cost people upwards of a quarter of a million dollars to get a degree. Since the 1980’s college tuition has tripled. For most people, working their way through college just simply isn’t an option, and instead, they are leaning towards expensive student loans.
2. Get someone else to manage your money.
When I was in my early 20s, someone told me this, and I laughed. How could I afford to pay someone hundreds of dollars per month to take care of my money? Even with all of that aside, it’s completely unnecessary. If I had the money, I wouldn’t give it to someone else to manage my money. In modern times, some apps help with this, and there are plenty of books and tutorials on easy ways to manage your money.
3. Keep $1,000 set aside from emergencies.
$1,000 would have worked wonderfully in the late 90s to serve as a nest egg to help when someone was in a pinch. Nowadays, $1,000 won’t even cover the rent. According to Jen Smith from Modern Frugality, “At one point in time, $1,000 may have been an okay amount for an emergency fund but nowadays, most people should save more than that before they start focusing on other financial goals,” and then she added, “Renters should have at least their health insurance deductible saved and homeowners should add [the] amount it’ll take to replace their oldest home appliance.”
4. An engagement ring should be 2-3 months’ salary.
This rule was started by DeBeers, which is a jewelry company, so there’s no surprise that they would push people to pay extravagant amounts of money on a ring. Since then, Millennials and Gen Z alike are discovering that there are much more interesting ways to show your love, and it doesn’t have to break you financially.
If you want to splurge, go for it. But, if that money could go elsewhere, and you can find a unique and personal piece for less, that might be the best option.
5. Purchase savings bonds.
I spent much of my life as a child excited about my savings bonds. I had quite a few of them, and I had always envisioned how much money they would have accrued throughout my life. When I cashed them out at 20 years old (they were purchased for me the day I was born) they had accrued a whopping $10. Each of them was purchased with $100, so it’s safe to say that savings bonds don’t accrue a lot of interest.
Instead, there are many other investment options available nowadays, and there are even apps that help Millennials and Gen Z to invest their money easily.
6. Stop eating out to save money.
Financial advisor Vivian Tu made her first million on Wall Street by the age of 27 and advises on TikTok. When talking with Business Insider, she explained how much she hates this advice. “I think older generations have peddled this advice that if you work your tush off if you do all the right things, you’ll achieve the American dream. But the American dream has changed.”