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Bottom Line Up Front

  • Millennials and Gen Zers aren’t Boomers. Younger adults’ financial needs are unique to their age group.
  • From paying down student loan debt to building an emergency fund to saving for a down payment, good money management puts financial goals in reach.

Time to Read

2 minutes

April 26, 2022

Never fear, Millennials and Gen Zers—a secure financial life is possible. These 3 basics of personal finance can start you on the path to financial success and a comfortable retirement.

  1. Debt is conquerable. With student loans and the ever-increasing cost of living, is it really possible to pay down debt? Absolutely. Start with a budget and a debt-reduction plan. Figure out what you need each month for fixed costs like rent, utilities, car and minimum payments toward debt. Always pay these first. 

    After fixed expenses, the amount left over is for non-fixed expenses, such as nights out, extra debt payments and an emergency fund. Stick to your budget and avoid racking up more debt—it’s called living within your means, and it’s the only way to conquer your debt. (One tool to help you monitor your bank account: the Navy Federal Credit Union app.)
  2. It’s never too early to start saving for retirement. Starting a retirement savings plan as a young adult is easier than you think. If your workplace offers retirement plans like a 401(k), sign up as soon as you can. Traditional and Roth* IRAs can both be great for younger adults. Which is better depends on your financial situation and income level. A Roth IRA offers tax-free growth, and you can withdraw your contributions without penalty in case of an emergency.
  3. The stock market doesn’t have to be scary. Today’s young adults have seen the stock market at its best and worst, from its peak in the 1990s to its crash in 2008. Don’t let this shake your confidence in stocks. A strong stock portfolio can be a key part of a financially secure retirement. So where do you start? A good tip is to keep investments simple and go for steady returns over time, rather than chasing big short-term returns. Learn more about investing from the financial investment advisors at Navy Federal Investment Services.


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*Roth IRAs allow individuals to pay taxes on contributions to the plan at the time they are making deposits rather than when funds are withdrawn during retirement. Withdrawals are tax-free at retirement if the account holder is at least age 59½ and has held the account for at least five years.

Nondeposit investment and insurance products are offered through Navy Federal Investment Services, LLC (NFIS) and through its subsidiary, Navy Federal Brokerage Services, LLC (NFBS), a member of FINRA/SIPC and an SEC registered investment advisory firm. Brokerage and advisory products are offered through NFBS. These products are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guaranteed or obligations of the credit union, are not offered, recommended, sanctioned, or encouraged by the federal government, and may involve investment risk, including possible loss of principal. Products may be offered by an employee who serves both functions of accepting member deposits and selling nondeposit investment and insurance products. Call 1-877-221-8108 for more info.

This content is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.