You can buy avo toast and a house says Jeanne Sutton, but only if you avoid financial quicksand like a flesheating loucust swarming plague.
Sorry to harp on about it, but millenials, we’re in for a rough ride when it comes to our Cyril the Squirrel stamps. Sure, being in your twenties is fun. Your body can handle three festivals in six weekends. You’re not being dragged down paying off the people carrier. You bathe in avocados, just to piss the baby boomers off. But if you want to fall headfirst into the void of existential dread, Google ‘millenials pensions’. Then head along to Irish Life and see about setting up a pension scheme pronto, as even putting away €150 a month will help you out when the time comes. (Also, when job hunting, always look at the benefits. A company that doesn’t care about your future, doesn’t care about your future.)
So, while the world goes through the uneasy motions, you might as well get to grips with what you can handle, your current income and expenditure. Here is some advice those who survived their twenties want to share.
Generation emigration might be a byword for moaning and giving out about every political party, but heading off for a few years to work and live in a new country might suit you better than sitting about Dublin, the second most expensive Eurozone city after Paris, and paying extortionate rent when your wages are sitting there like algae. If you can avail of a graduate visa, seriously consider using one. Cities like Miami and Chicago, while still pricey, are cheaper to live in than London, the sixth most expensive city in the world according to UBS, and you can earn better wages there. However, make sure you assess taxes before heading off. The Scandi countries and Australia will take a huge slice of your earnings, but in return you’ve got some pretty stellar services. Imagine! Healthcare! If you’re looking to stay closer to home, Zurich and Luxembourg regularly top the earning charts.
Contactless debit cards may be a dream during rush hour shop dashes, and a way for governments to collect more tax, but overreliance on ’em is a bad habit. Take a lot of indie coffee shops who have minimum spends? That €3 hot beverage turns into a €6 bundle with a brownie you didn’t want. While you can’t live without your debit card, you can institute some practices to wean you off the tap-and-go-and-sure-I’ll-add-a-bag-of-Snax culture. Make like an Aisling and take cash out every Monday for food and drink and put it in an envelope. Use those coins and notes for small purchases – guarantee you’ll notice you spend less, and your bank statement will look significantly less messy. Another related issue with spending all over the shop props up around weddings. You can justify all the separate dinky purchases in 40 different shops, but when you’re applying for a mortgage soon after the big day, the bank might be justifibly cagey about your tendancies. Get in the habit early of streamlining the visuals of how you handle your income.
In Ireland, not buying a round might be paramount to claiming you actually really liked Ed Sheeran’s Galway Girl and want to volunteer for social murder Hunger Games style, but don’t be afraid to opt out of some social practices which are killing your wallet. After all, it’s not your job to fund Tagdh’s premium whiskey habit now that he’s a solicitor and won’t shut up about it. However, being on guard with your dollah all the time might not be the salve you expected, and you might actually be prone to a spending relapse by day 47 of your homemade chickpea stew. Frugality fatigue is a term which came to prominence during the most recent recession and describes the feeling of exhaustion and utter boredom that comes with meticulous budget-keeping. Longterm, this can build up into feelings of resentment and unfairness and next thing you know you’ve gone mental in Brown Thomas’ beauty hall and have put a huge dent into a much-needed pay cheque.
Avoid splurges and emotional hangovers by budgeting in a splurge spend every month. Say €80 to €100 every month to spend on whatever you want. Maybe you want to save up for a few months and get a bag, maybe you want one fancy meal a month. Do what works for you, and keep your eye on the long game.
Procrastination is something we’re all guilty of, but when you delve into the negative effects of ignoring pressing matters, you’ll get a scare. A study from Bishop’s University in Quebec found that the stress accumulated from delaying important tasks leads to increased risks in cardiovascular disease and hypertension, abnormally high blood pressure. It can also screw with your financial health.
Banks send information about borrowers to a central database and this register generates your credit rating or score. It shows your history of loans and how often and regularly you made repayments, or if you ever defaulted (that means not paying back what you owe). From there a calculation is made – your score is either good or poor. If you play ball every month, you’re reliable and trustworthy. Applying for future loans will be an easier process. If you were a flake, due to disorganisation or further financial troubles, your borrowing future is going to be uphill. Even paying stuff back in full, with further interest and late payment fees, impacts negatively on you. This means you can be turned down for a phone contract even, and a mortgage.
So, how do you suss out if you’ve got any black spots against you? if you have had an active loan in the past five years, the Irish Credit Bureau keeps a database. You can apply for yours online on icb.ie. It costs €6 and arrives by old school post. In early 2018, the Central Credit Register will be taking over these tracking duties – they’re collecting info at the moment – and you will be entitled to one free copy of you record every 12 months.
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