Posted: 14 Aug. 2020 4 min. read

Train your brain – a millennial’s guide to finances

By Lucy Gregory

Lucy is a Learning and Development Advisor at Deloitte, based in Auckland, New Zealand. She is originally from a small beachy town called Gisborne, loves to travel (when she can) and to explore her own country, and enjoys all things involving family, friends, and the beach.


From ever-increasing housing prices to the extra 50 cents on my soy flat white to the ongoing decline of the financial market during our peak earning years, when will we ever catch a break? I know that sounds rather cynical, but doesn’t that sum up us millennials and Gen Zs pretty perfectly? Financial worries are not new. Every generation has experienced them; however, our generations have been hit rather hard, and the global pandemic hasn’t helped. As a millennial, I can agree that this is a growing concern and that it weighs on our minds – so let’s chat about why we are so stressed!

The 2020 Deloitte Global Millennial Survey found evidence that many millennials and Gen Zs are forced to be prudent with money because they simply don’t have enough of it. The report further notes that both generations were hit hard by the economic recession of the late 2000s, affecting their wages, savings, and career paths. If this isn’t enough to cause a bit of worry, I don’t know what is! So, here are some personal finance tips from a millennial, such as myself. 

Before I get down to business, I’m no financial advisor or expert; in fact, I’m the complete opposite. I work on the Learning and Development team that facilitates New Zealand’s internal trainings and programs for interns, graduates, and junior staff right up to senior consultants. So please take my advice with a grain of salt and know that they are my own personal tips.

First, what you spend is what you don’t save. Sale items are great, who can resist? But I would disagree and ask you to think of sales as a negative. I know, controversial. My first tip when you purchase something is to think about how much money you are spending, not how much money you are saving.

Second, train your brain. Would you prefer to pocket $4.80 or spend it on a caffeine hit? I'll let you answer that one yourself, but my point is that before you buy that soy flat white, maybe ask yourself, do I really need this? Or could I pop that money straight into my savings? Making financial wins requires training your brain. Make it fun and get excited when you see your savings bump up.

Last, but not least, pay your bills first and not last. I am paid monthly, so as soon as my pay check comes in, (when I can) I pay my rent and bills first and pop the amount I decided on earlier into my savings. Sometimes this leaves me with little, but, again, it's a bit of game with my mind. Instead of seeing that big dollar in there, it shoots it right down, reminding me that's all I've got for the rest of the month.

And that's that. Sounds simple, but trust me: it can be hard. Lockdown sales and targeted ads on social media -- it's never ending! Just remember to have a bit of fun with it and train your brain.

Millennials and Gen Zs hold the key to creating a “better normal”. Explore more about the Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2020.