XY Planning Network is wrapping up our special feature on some of our favorite personal finance bloggers for Millennials. We enjoy these blogs for the stories they share and conversations they spark. This week, we chatted with Erin Lowry of Broke Millennial, to close our series.
Erin is a no-nonsense member of Generation Y who is determined to educate her fellow twenty-somethings on how to spend less, save more, and avoid money problems that crop up where financial literacy is low. She shares sound financial advice, and tips while injecting her writing with dry wit and sarcasm — which makes money lessons for Millennials that much more engaging.
How long have you been blogging?
I started in January of 2013, so nearly two years!
What inspired you to start blogging about money?
In late 2012, I was talking to a friend of mine who had spent an hour bemoaning how much she hated her job. She had moved to New York City (where we both live) to be an actress, but had ended up at a desk job without really pursuing her dream. When I asked why she didn’t both to risk it all for a year or two and try her hand at acting, she responded that money stressed her out.
Confused by her response, I pressed on and pointed out she was young (22 at the time), single, and debt-free. Now, if ever, was the time to take a big career risk and she could always wait tables or babysit for money.
She continued to explain that she didn’t understand how to handle money without a steady paycheck because she wouldn’t look at her bank account all month and hope she just had enough to cover her expenses.
I’m sure my jaw dropped.
Fortunately, I grew up in a family where money was never a taboo topic and my parents started teaching us about financial literacy from an incredibly young age. While I’ve experienced moments of not making much money (my first year living in NYC) money never actually stressed me out because I knew how to handle my income and budget my spending.
I started my blog as a place to make Millennials feel comfortable reading and talking about money. I use my personal stories to “trick” people into learning about money. I joke that they’re just reading a funny story and suddenly get smacked over the head with a financial lesson.
Of all the personal finance topics you blog about, which are you most passionate about?
Saving. There seems to be a terrible trend with Millennials pushing off saving in order to pay down loans, or because they don’t see the point yet. I stress over and over how everyone needs to build the habit ASAP.
Even if you’re just saving $2 a paycheck, start saving!
Why do young adults need to build financial education?
Money is a leading cause of stress in a lot of people’s lives, but I truly believe if they understand how money works, we learn how to feel empowered instead of controlled.
What’s the biggest thing young adults don’t understand about money?
How compound interest works. It’s either a force of great good or horrific evil, and too many people don’t grasp how being on the wrong side of compound interest will keep you in debt for years.
If someone doesn’t know a single thing about money, where can they go to start learning?
I always suggest the book Personal Finance in Your 20s for Dummies. It’s easy to read, not gender specific, and covers all the important basics.
What are 3 pieces of your favorite personal finance advice?
- Pay yourself first (AKA, save your money).
- Don’t leave free money on the table. If your employer offers a match on your retirement fund then contribute at least enough to max out the match.
- Don’t buy something on a credit card that you can’t pay off on time and in full when the bill is due.
Where can we connect with you?
I primarily write for my own site BrokeMillennial.com, but pop up around the web in my freelance work. You can tweet me @BrokeMillennial or “like me” on Facebook.
I also run social media for @Magnify_Money and write and edit for MagnifyMoney’s Fine Print Blog.
Please note that XY Planning Network has no affiliation or relationship with any featured blogger. Some of the bloggers we have linked to via this site share content with affiliate links and make money off commissioned sales of products. Each blog has a disclosure page that we encourage you to read for more consumer information and details about how these independent sites are monetized.