5 Decisions Millennials Must Make to Grow Rich

Discover how to overcome common financial challenges and grow rich by making 5 important decisions.

Laura Adams, MBA
6-minute read
Episode #373

Decision #3: Make Saving a Habit

When you’re just starting out, it can be difficult to start saving and investing on a regular basis. Few people feel like they have discretionary or extra money to set aside. But you must create the habit of saving (even small amounts) as early as possible, no matter how much it hurts.

Here’s a quote from Aristotle that sums it up, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

I recommend that you save a minimum of 10% to 15% of your gross income starting with your very first paycheck. If you have a retirement plan at work, such as a 401(k) or 403(b), that’s an extremely valuable benefit that you should never pass up.

If you don’t have a workplace retirement plan, open up and contribute to an IRA instead. Discover some great options in Investment Tips: How and Where to Invest (the Easy Way).

Decision #4: Always Have a Financial Safety Net

When you have trouble getting ahead financially, one of the most common roots of that problem is not having a safety net, such as emergency savings.

For instance, if you have an unexpected car repair or lose your job, you may have no option but to finance your expenses on a credit card. Then the debt accrues interest and grows bigger every month, becoming even more difficult to pay off.

Instead, make a decision to save and always keep a minimum of 3 to 6 months’ worth of your living expenses in an FDIC-insured bank savings account. If you’re starting from zero, start with a small goal, like saving $100 first, and then building up to $500, $1,000, and so on.

See also: 3 Emergency Fund Mistakes to Avoid


When you have trouble getting ahead financially, one of the most common roots of that problem is not having a safety net, such as emergency savings.

Consider automating your emergency savings by having a small percentage of your paycheck directly deposited into a separate account. After a couple of paychecks, you won’t even notice that 2% or 3% is missing from your main account.

The peace of mind that a financial cushion gives you is amazing. So cut your spending and make temporary sacrifices in order to fund your emergency savings account as quickly as possible.

Decision #5: Get the Credit You Deserve

A study from Experian, one the nationwide credit bureaus, revealed that many Millennials have poor credit because they don’t pay their bills on time. If you’re habitually late paying bills, please realize that your payment history is the most important factor in calculating your credit scores.

Another study from the Consumer Federation of America showed that Millennials don’t understand how far-reaching or important credit is to their entire financial life. Only 18% know the types of businesses—including lenders, credit card issuers, insurers, utility companies, and cell phone carriers—that can use your credit to evaluate you as a potential customer.

See also: The Credit Score Survival Kit (a free video tutorial to build credit fast!)


Building good credit doesn’t happen by accident. It’s the result of having credit accounts, such as a credit card or car loan, and managing them responsibly over time. Take advantage of online bill pay through your bank or using an application like Quicken, to make sure your money management never slips through the cracks.

Get More Money Girl!

Want to know the best financial and productivity tools that I use and recommend to save time and money? Click here to check out 25+ tools!

To connect on social media, you’ll find Money Girl on FacebookTwitter, and Google+. Also, if you’re not already subscribed to the Money Girl podcast on iTunes, that’s how most people get the show. Subscribing is always free and makes sure that you’ll get each new weekly episode as soon as it’s published on the web.

Click here to subscribe to the weekly Money Girl audio podcast—it’s FREE!

There’s a huge archive of past articles and podcasts if you type in what you want to learn about in the search bar at the top of the page. Here are all the many places you can connect with me, learn more about personal finance, and ask your money question:

Download FREE chapters of Money Girl’s Smart Moves to Grow Rich

To learn about how to get out of debt, save money, and build wealth, get a copy of my book Money Girl’s Smart Moves to Grow Rich. It tells you what you need to know about money without bogging you down with what you don’t. It’s available at your favorite book store in print or as an e-book for your Kindle, Nook, iPad, PC, Mac, or smart phone. You can even download 2 free book chapters at SmartMovesToGrowRich.com.

Girl and light bulb image courtesy of Canva.


About the Author

Laura Adams, MBA

Laura Adams received an MBA from the University of Florida. She's an award-winning personal finance author, speaker, and consumer advocate who is a frequent, trusted source for the national media. Money-Smart Solopreneur: A Personal Finance System for Freelancers, Entrepreneurs, and Side-Hustlers is her newest title. Laura's previous book, Debt-Free Blueprint: How to Get Out of Debt and Build a Financial Life You Love, was an Amazon #1 New Release. Do you have a money question? Call the Money Girl listener line at 302-364-0308. Your question could be featured on the show.