Uncertainties are a part of life, so millennials (and all other age groups, in fact) need to pursue their goal of financial freedom now more than ever.
However, financial freedom does not only mean accumulating wealth but also having the ability to make choices that align with one’s aspirations without the constraints of financial stress.
As a member of Gen Y, you stand at the threshold of many possibilities. Your decisions today will lay the foundation for your financial well-being tomorrow. Therefore, you need to grasp the essence of financial freedom and start preparing for it as soon as possible.
In this article, you will learn about four essential strategies tailored to the unique challenges and opportunities millennials face in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Build an Emergency Fund
An emergency fund is your financial safety net, a reserve specifically intended for unforeseen expenses or emergencies. Some common examples of emergencies include car repairs, medical bills, or sudden loss of income.
Without an emergency fund, even a minor financial shock can set you back, potentially leading to lasting impacts. Research indicates that those struggling to recover from such shocks often resort to credit cards, loans, or tapping into other savings, like their retirement fund.
Here are some strategies you can employ to build an emergency fund:
Setting up automatic savings entails making recurring transfers from your payroll account to a dedicated savings account. You’ll need to decide on the amount and frequency, ensuring consistent contributions without hurting your day-to-day cash flow. This strategy is useful for just about anyone, but those with a stable income can benefit from it the most.
Some employers offer additional benefits that can help you save. One example is splitting your paycheck between checking and savings. This is ideal for those with regular income as it fosters easy savings without second thoughts.
Looking back at your cash flow in the past year, you may notice influxes of money from irregular sources, such as tax refunds, bonuses, or cash gifts. Use these occasional perks to establish your emergency savings fast. This is especially helpful if you have an irregular flow of income.
Get Life Insurance
Life insurance is a vital component of financial planning, offering not only peace of mind but also strategic benefits for millennials with an eye on long-term financial goals.
Contrary to common belief, life insurance extends benefits beyond the insured’s passing. In fact, it is also essential for safeguarding your finances during severe illnesses or injuries that hinder your ability to work.
Here are some common living benefits you can enjoy when you acquire life insurance in the UAE:
- Withdrawable Funds: Some life insurance plans allow the withdrawal of funds while the insured is alive. One example is variable universal life (VUL) insurance, which doubles as an investment while keeping you insured throughout your life.
- Extra Income for Living Expenses: This living benefit acts as an additional income source to cover day-to-day expenses like food, utilities, and housing.
- Accident Riders: You also have the option to gain additional protection through “accident riders.” These add-ons to your insurance provide a payout in the event of accidental death or injury.
Manage Your Debt
Debt is a significant obstacle to achieving financial freedom. This means that, to maintain healthy finances, you must first keep your loans, credit card balances, and other forms of debt in check.
Swift repayment, especially of high-interest debt, is crucial to moving closer to financial independence. Here are some strategies to help you repay outstanding debt faster:
The snowball method entails clearing your smallest debt balance first. Each paid-off debt creates a sense of accomplishment, motivating you to tackle larger balances.
Using the avalanche method means focusing on loans with the highest interest rates first and progressively moving to the next-highest. This method optimises savings over time, as each payment towards high-interest debt saves more money than the snowball method.
Other ways to manage your debt to reduce financial burden include:
Explore options for transferring high-interest balances to lower-interest credit cards to reduce overall interest payments.
You can also consolidate multiple debts into one with a potentially lower interest rate to make them more manageable.
Diversify Your Investment Portfolio
Investments are pivotal for wealth creation, offering avenues for multiple income streams.
Relying solely on one income source can hinder financial freedom, especially during interruptions. To enhance stability and expedite financial independence, you must explore diverse opportunities, such as starting a side business or freelancing.
Once you’ve saved enough money to invest, the next step is choosing the best investment methods for you. Here are some options available in the UAE:
Mutual funds gather money from various investors, spreading it across stocks and bonds. This type of investment helps you earn through dividends and potential value appreciation as the fund grows.
A professional fund manager makes informed investment decisions to reduce individual risk for investors. This makes it suitable for people who are unable to evaluate the stock market directly or want to use the fund manager’s expertise to your advantage.
Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
REITs let you invest in the UAE real estate market without the downsides of property ownership. REITs are stocks that provide dividends and price appreciation for the investor, which can serve as a stable income source.
Governments and companies issue bonds that provide fixed interest payments to investors. These bonds can also appreciate in value, especially during market downturns, providing additional earnings.
Stocks allow investors to gain ownership of a portion of a company and benefit from dividends and long-term stock price appreciation. Holding stocks as companies grow can yield significant returns over time.
Take Control of Your Financial Future
In a rapidly changing world, securing your financial future is paramount.
By embracing strategies like building an emergency fund, obtaining life insurance, managing debt, and diversifying investments, millennials can pave the way for lasting financial stability.
Take control now and chart a prosperous course ahead.