Financial planning. Two words to the average millennial, at best, spark disinterest, and at worst, causes anxiety. But in a pandemic environment that sparked an economic downturn and increasing job insecurity, financial planning is more crucial than ever — especially for millennials without a safety net. So, where do we start? And how do we streamline the process to make such a seemingly complicated process easy to digest?
Enter: Up. A tool that helps simplify the financial planning and decision-making process, Up makes what was once seen as a monotonous task become much more engaging and enjoyable. The digital platform is visually led and highly interactive, which takes away the tediousness of financial planning. With simple and intuitive drag and drop elements, users can explore a wide range of financial goals and build to reach said goals. Planning to purchase a property or looking at a potential investment? Up’s nifty features allow you to take stock of the impact your purchases make on your long-term cash flow, savings, and net worth.
To make things even easier in your financial planning journey, the platform even handles perplexing matters such as accounting for local taxes, property rules, and other financial rules and regulations. If you find your finances taking a toll in this current economy, Up is also helpful in helping to stimulate risks and building solutions to help protect your finances. “The process is simple, but the plan the user ends up with is comprehensive and reliable,” says Laurent Bertrand, co-founder and CEO of BetterTradeOff, the start-up that developed Up.
When creating your profile on Up, the platform allows you to key in specific details, such as your living expenses and ‘exceptional expenses’ like home renovations and wedding plans. This allows Up to get an accurate projection of what the lifestyle you’re looking for will cost over time. To help alleviate any potential financial burden, users can identify both immediate and long-term expenses, and the platform automatically calculates an ’emergency fund’, which is a recommended amount to be set aside in the event of an emergency.
With millennials now having different expectations for their lives as compared to their parents, it’s natural that their views on retirement differs from previous generations as well. A survey revealed that 74% of millennials intend to stay active and continue to earn income during their retirement. “A different plan for the future requires a different approach to financial planning,” Bertrand shares. “The truth is, it’s not really about financial planning at all — it’s about life planning. And life planning means moving beyond financial calculators, to a more nuanced approach that takes into account not just how long you’re going to live, but how you’re going to live.”
Besides, it’s never too early to start planning financially. “It always surprises people the simulations in Up reveals how even the smallest amount of savings can add up over time, especially if that money is invested,” Bertrand tells us. “Few people appreciate the compounding effect of investing on an ongoing basis — this holds even more true when you’re young and have time on your side.” This is especially reflected in Up’s statistics, where 60% of its users are under the age of 35 and over 15% under 25.
Your millennial years are marked by plenty of milestones: graduating, entering the workforce, working on your career, marrying, and starting a family for some. Regardless of your net worth or financial acumen, sorting out your financials with Up can give you a clearer direction whilst working towards your goals.
Below, Bertrand shares three important tips when it comes to managing your finances.
1. Pay yourself first Put money into a designated savings account every month before you pay anything else. That way, rather than trying to control your spending so money remains at the end of the month, you’re putting something away at the beginning of the month to seal the deal.
2. Be realistic Don’t set goals you can’t achieve. Start small, and slowly increase as saving becomes a habit. Success breeds success; and as you see the savings piling up,you’ll be motivated to save more.
3. Understand where the money’s going Most people are surprised when they see a detailed view of their monthly expenses and how little expenses here and there can add up to a lot. Usually, there’s savings to be had with minimal sacrifice.