As the financial world enters a period of unprecedented change, understanding how to manage your finances becomes increasingly essential. With traditional finance, things like interest rates and loans are easy enough to understand with minimal guidance. However, this is no longer the case in the age of cryptocurrency and deregulated finance.
With blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies, and decentralized finance (DeFi), it becomes increasingly crucial for millennials to stay on top of their personal finance skills.
While the rest of the world is trying to catch up and understand what blockchain and deregulated finance are, there is a whole generation that will grow into adulthood with these emerging technologies as a normal part of their daily lives. This requires education and knowledge on the matter, as well as how it affects them personally.
But where to start?
Many millennials are trying to navigate this emerging world on their own terms. As with all things that are new and different, there is not always a clear path forward. This can lead to making costly mistakes, which could be easily avoided by getting educated on the matter.
In this article, we will take a look at some of the personal finance skills that millennials should focus on to get started with blockchain and new financial technologies, as well as what it means for their future.
Why is blockchain important?
Blockchain technology is fast and easy; transactions recorded on a digital ledger can be seen by all parties involved in the transaction, but cannot be edited after the fact. As such, there is no need for third-party arbitrations. In the financial world, this is a huge deal as even small fees can make or break an individual’s savings. Cryptocurrencies have been one major beneficiary of blockchain technology.
What is cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrencies are a subset of digital currencies which utilize cryptography for security purposes and verifying transactions by adding them to a digital ledger called a blockchain. Most cryptocurrencies aren’t recognized as legal tender in most countries. However, because cryptocurrencies are electronic and don’t have to be printed, they can potentially combat hyperinflation better than government-backed fiat currencies.
What are decentralized finance solutions?
Decentralized Finance (DeFi) is an umbrella term to describe financial services which run on blockchain technology. These services typically have low fees and don’t require any third-party approvals or middlemen. This means that users can quickly and easily transfer money between parties anywhere in the world, without having to pay high transactional costs or wait long times. Some examples of decentralized finance services which have been around for a few years include MakerDAO, Dharma, and Compound.
How have millennials adapted to this?
Millennials aren’t spending money… they’re investing it! This generation has started saving at a younger age than their parents and grandparents, which helps them to take more risks. They have a longer investment horizon, so they benefit from being able to invest in riskier assets for potentially more returns. Due to internet access and the availability of information for this generation, millennials are constantly on the move and engage more with virtual currencies. In addition to this, a recent survey showed that 40% of millennials would rather invest in cryptocurrency than in the stock market.
What are some of the “crypto” personal-finance skills millennials should focus on?
Over the past few years, blockchain technologies have become more accessible to millennials. Mainstream media has started covering cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology, and DeFi services. However, it is important that this generation keeps their personal finance skills up to date with what’s happening in these fast-paced and ever-changing financial technologies.
The following is a shortlist of personal finance skills which millennials should work on in order to prosper in the world of decentralized finance:
1. Not having any debt: It’s never too late for this one, but it’s also an ongoing process that requires continuous monitoring and management! If you’re reading this article, chances are that you’re not in your early twenties. This means that you have probably already acquired some credit card or student debt! However, don’t let this stop you from developing good financial habits. If you are able to cut down on expenses by identifying where money is being wasted, it can go a long way towards paying off debt.
2. Maintaining a budget: This is another personal finance skill that requires continuous monitoring and management! Nowadays, it’s easy to track expenses because everything is digitalized. It doesn’t take long to set up an expense tracking spreadsheet, start today. If you need inspiration, look at what others are doing on social media and see if you can come up with your own version.
3. Having an emergency fund: An emergency fund protects people from unexpected expenses which might otherwise require the use of a credit card and lead to debt accumulation! If you already have some money set aside, then congratulations! This means that you’re on the right track, but it’s never too late to start an emergency fund.
4. Making use of cryptocurrency debit cards: These are another great tool for millennials who want to make the most out of using cryptocurrencies in everyday life. Debit cards allow crypto assets to be spent anywhere that traditional fiat currency is accepted. This means that you can pay utility bills, buy groceries or grab a snack from a local coffee shop!
5. Not being afraid to take risks: As previously mentioned, millennials have a longer investment horizon than previous generations so they benefit from taking more risks. This doesn’t mean that you should invest in cryptocurrencies if you don’t understand them or don’t want to lose the money you put into them, but it does mean that you should keep an open mind and educate yourself.
6. Calculating gains and losses: One of the giveaways about millennials investing in cryptocurrencies is their lack of understanding of how to calculate gains and losses. Knowing how to calculate this means knowing what your trading fees are, what your transaction costs are, and knowing which exchanges have the best rates.
7. Being aware of your buying power: Millennials should know how to calculate their buying power by using a fiat-to-crypto calculator. This will help them in everyday life when they go shopping and can’t make a purchase!
8. Earning cryptocurrency rewards: When you use a cryptocurrency debit card, you will also receive rewards in the form of cryptocurrencies. These can be monetary gains or air miles! Airdrop websites such as those listed here are great resources for checking which cryptocurrency cards give out the best rewards.
9. Developing an interest in blockchain technology: At this point, most people know that there’s no use in ignoring blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. The tech industry is very exemplified by the banking system where there are still paper bank statements and hand-written cheques! It’s best to educate yourself about the tech so that you can be prepared for when there isn’t a person on the other end of your transaction!
Millennials have a lot of options when it comes to managing their personal finance and cryptocurrencies are just one of those. Make sure that you are set up for success by educating yourself!
The article lists some things millennials can do that will help them with using cryptocurrencies/blockchain tech (in both deregulated financial markets and in their personal lives).
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