Millennials, who are likely the most studied and talked about generation to date, often get a bad rap for their so-called exaggerated sense of entitlement. While there is no doubt that they tend to ascribe to a different world view then the generations that preceded them, I’m not sure that the volume of negative  critique thrown their way is warranted.

I mean think about it…Is the “selfie generation” any more or less self-obsessed than we were in our youth?

Or, do millennials simply have the means of broadcasting their youthful egotism in ways that were previously unavailable (thank goodness)?

I’m just saying…if “The Greatest Generation” had access to instant recording devices, non-stop social media feeds, and Instagram pages, you might be looking at big mamma a little differently right now. Caption this.

Photo: L.A. Public Library

I am less concerned with decoding millennial stereotypes as I am with equipping my younger sisters for advancement and security in the areas of career and finance. Check out these

4 Pieces of Career Advice Every Millennial Women of Color Should Know:

Photo: afrolitmag

1. Your 30’s Are For Grinding. Here is a little-known fact that no one tells you. According to Ellevest, Women’s salaries peak around 40 years of age while men’s peak around 55.  So that means you need to climb hard and fast during your 30’s to get to a high peak before your plateau and decline begins.

What’s even more important to know is that there is a sharp increase in unemployment and underemployment for women in their 40’s and 50’s. If you lose your job around ages 45 to 50, and you go out and try to get another one, your wage will probably be 20 percent or 25 percent less.

Photo: forharriet.com

2. Side Hustles Are Key. Because of the salary peak and the uncertainty of finding comparable employment should you lose a job, it is paramount that you develop multiple streams of income as early as possible. What does that mean?

Find a way to earn money above and beyond your day job.

If you enjoy photography, start a side hustle taking pictures of people in your local community.  If you braid hair well, get the proper credentials to do it for pay. Many families struggle to find companions or caregivers for elderly or disabled family members, consider getting the credentials to earn money helping those in need.  If you have the means, buy a duplex and live in one side while renting the other.  Be creative and most importantly, those chips are for stacking not spending.

Photo: www.123rf.com

3. Degrees Won’t Get You Paid. The National Postsecondary Student Aid Study found that African-American women amass an average of $30,400 by college graduation, compared with $22,000 for white women and $19,500 for Caucasian male students.

Black and Hispanic women with bachelor’s degrees make 37 percent and 34 percent less, respectively than white men with bachelor’s degrees. With this income gap and the other financial pressures that come with adulthood, your prospects for paying this off quickly are slim and could negatively impact your ability to accumulate wealth long term.

Photo: HuffPost

If you are considering advanced degrees beyond your bachelors, please consider the following: How will you pay off the additional debt? Will the additional degree boost your salary enough to cover this?  Are there less expensive certificates or training available through your employer to enhance your skills?

4. Ball On A Budget. I don’t envy the intense pressure your generation has to appear like you have it all.  The curated images on social media can make your accomplishments seem inadequate against the false narratives posted. I urge you to run your own race and don’t compare yourself to others.  These so-called trappings of success like designer clothing, expensive hair, hot cars, and lavish vacations can leaded you down the path to revolving debt that you can never repay.

Photo: Pinterest

It is critical that you learn to operate on a budget. That doesn’t mean you can’t ever have nice things it merely means that you live within your means. Budgeting setup is somewhat tedious, but there are apps for this. Start by tracking your expenses for two to three months, some apps will allow you to do it retrospectively once you link your accounts or your bank may offer this feature.

Once you’re aware of where your money goes, you can set realistic, concrete goals (“save $500 for my vacation in July”) rather than vague ones (“go out less”). Tracking and visualizing spending against the budget will give you a strong incentive to manage your money more closely.

Remember, you are at the beginning of a big, wonderful life and career is only one piece of it.  I share these words of wisdom because I’ve learned that managing your career and finances effectively can give you the golden key, freedom.  When you have money in the bank and are not beholden to one stream of income, you can make choices for  your happiness along the way. That could mean taking a longer maternity leave or accepting an assignment overseas. The point is, you get to chose.  An employer or debt shouldn’t make that choice for you.

I am excited for you and can’t wait to see you fly, Sis! Share this piece and tag your friends who need these gems.


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Tausha Robertson
Healthcare expert by day and a blogger by night. Founder of Ms. X Factor, a platform for relevant online content and curated offline experiences for multicultural, Gen X women.