Millennial Banking Tips from East River Bank’s Christopher McGill
You’ve probably noticed the onslaught of recent stories about millennials’ banking trends and “fear” of credit cards – a new poll shows that 63% of Generation Y doesn’t own a credit card. Whether they’re already bogged down by school loans or don’t know the best credit plan for them, millennials are avoiding the traditional path to building credit and financial independence. Luckily, East River Bank, Philly’s most advanced neighborhood bank, is here to guide millennials through the process of building credit.
With that in mind, President and CEO Christopher McGill developed a number of tips and tricks for millennials. Christopher sees the difficulties his clients face on a day-to-day basis. McGill has developed the bank’s outreach to 18-to-29 year olds with an emphasis on an engaging social media presence, community initiatives to establish a face-to-face connection, and regular blog posts on issues effecting millennials across the city.
He has developed four principals for millennials to keep in mind for improving financial health.
1. Make savings a priority
Being in your 20’s is difficult to find balance between living in the moment and planning for the future. It is very important to save, save and save – the same rule that you were taught when you were a child. It can be difficult to save, especially when you’re establishing your career, paying off debt and planning for major purchases such as a house or a car. The best trick is to set aside that savings into your budget before you get accustomed to spending it every month.
2. Get one credit card and use it wisely
The right way to use a credit card is for small and regular bills that you can pay off each month. By doing this, this will help build your credit score while avoiding the temptation to use your credit card for everyday expenses. Put yourself on a budget and avoid charging if you find yourself charging up high balances or using your card on a regular basis.
3. Ditch the debt
Many 20 year olds graduate college with a degree and have debt from student loans and credit cards. While it’s a good advantage to pay off all forms of debt, credit cards should be at the top of the list so that you can avoid high-interest debt. Millennials primary focus should be paying off their credit cards and then use all the money they’ve freed up to ditch student loans and car payments. Altogether, it is important to avoid credit card debt, but make sure you keep some money in your wallet for times you might need it for an emergency.
4. Track your credit score
Just because you graduated from school that doesn’t mean you are no longer being graded. The most important grade you will get outside of school is your credit score. These three numbers play a huge role in your financial life because they represent how responsible you are as a borrower. The main factors that go into your score include how long you’ve had credit, your payment history and your credit-to-debt ratio. Some basic rules to maintain good credit scores include: keep your oldest credit card open, pay your bills on time and avoid maxing out cards. Check annualcreditreport.com each year to receive a free copy of your credit report.