From Simply Saving to Financial Stewardship: What Millennials Need to Know

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With the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) still fresh in their minds, more young people than ever have started saving for the future. But according to Wayne Titus, founding member of AMDG Financial, savings are just one part of the equation when it comes to creating long-term financial security.

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Wayne B. Titus lll

Millennials frequently report that their three top issues including saving for retirement, reducing credit card debt, and paying off student loans.

Earlier this year, a study by Fidelity Investments found that when asked about their financial futures, 39 percent of Millennials (roughly, those born between 1980 and 1995) admitted they worried about it at least once a week. Many of those who saw their parents lose significant sums during the recent financial crisis have adopted a new level of frugality in their own lives, hoping to avoid some of the financial pitfalls of previous generations. Becoming a good financial steward, however, takes more than just creating a savings account, says Wayne Titus, CPA, PFS, AIFA®.

“At any age, sound stewardship means taking a holistic view of a person’s entire financial picture,” he says, “and getting help from an expert may prevent costly mistakes that keep a nest egg from growing.”

Millennials frequently report that their three top issues including saving for retirement, reducing credit card debt, and paying off student loans. But focusing on one “pain point” isn’t always the best answer.

“Unless the student loans or credit card debt carry high interest rates, it may not make sense to pay those to the exclusion of saving for retirement,” says Titus. “For example, those who have access to a 401(k) plan with an employer match should compare what they could gain long term by investing in the plan and gaining the match, versus paying off a low-interest loan, and also consider the tax savings they create by making the contribution.”

Titus says, “Saving early matters, a lot.” and that how a person saves also makes a difference.

“Some young people may be afraid to take risks because of the steep losses they saw during the GFC,” he says, “But the younger a person is, the more time becomes an ally. People in their twenties or thirties have the potential to increase their investments significantly by taking responsible risks, and they also have time to recoup their investments if the market takes a turn for the worse, and to pay off their debt in a timely fashion.”

It’s never too early to seek a trusted adviser, says Titus, even for those with modest incomes. A 2012 study by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards showed that having a financial plan helped families with household incomes of $25,000 - $49,999 minimize their risk of credit card debt problems.

“Those with a plan tend to feel less stressed about money,” according to Titus, “and those who become good financial stewards have the best chance of helping their families prepare for the future.”

About AMDG Financial
AMDG Financial (http://www.amdgservices.com) is a fee-only fiduciary registered investment adviser (RIA) in Plymouth, Michigan. The firm manages approximately $75 million in assets for clients. AMDG Financial was one of the first 10 firms globally to be certified by the Centre for Fiduciary Excellence (http://www.cefex.org) as following global best practices for investment adviser fiduciaries. The company’s credo is, “From financial wisdom, better stewardship.”

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Wayne B. Titus lll
AMDG Financial
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