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Millennial Minded

Dear millennials: Before you're done living for the moment, stop and think about the future

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Is a $15 minimum wage in New Jersey's future?
Is a $15 minimum wage in New Jersey's future? - ()

Maybe it’s the fact that we’ve lived through several unresolved wars and international terrorist attacks that we’re not all that concerned about monetary risk — but if also coming of age right in the midst of the 2008 recession taught us anything, it’s that we’re not ever really going to be prepared for the unknown.

Hence, why we millennials should, for once, listen to our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents when they say, “Better to be safe than sorry.”

Because, according to a survey from Princeton Survey Research Associates International commissioned by InsuranceQuotes.com, we’re sorely lacking.

Sixty percent of millennial respondents said they’re confident they are financially prepared for all risks and circumstances that may come their way.

But what are we all about? Y.O.L.O. (That’s “you only live once” for our non-millennial readers.)

And what are more than half of us missing?

A way to help our parents pay off our extravagant student loans if we regrettably take Y.O.L.O. a little too far.

According to the survey, 64 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds don’t have life insurance.

Once only viewed as an afterthought insurance when one starts a family, millennials could feasibly take on some of the financial responsibility facing our current families in the unfortunate circumstance of our deaths — and it’d cost us less than $20 a month to do so.

I think that’s a fair price to help ease a burden upon a family that must also deal with the grief of losing a young adult …

Also, what about the price of becoming disabled and requiring our families’ care?

Eighty-seven percent of millennials haven’t thought of getting disability insurance, which would replace part of our income if we were physically unable to work.

And 24 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds — despite the 2014 Affordable Care Act mandate — have yet to purchase health insurance, even though we’d typically pay lower prices for coverage via the open exchanges.

(Open enrollment starts again on Nov. 15, people).

So if we become sick, injured or die — all possibilities, regardless of how invincible we believe ourselves to be — we are also affecting the loved ones in our lives that have made our existence financially possible up until this point.

Just something to dwell on.

But if possessions are all you seek to protect, think on this:

Although more than 65 percent of adults ages 25 to 29 rent apartments or homes (according to a report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University), 88 percent of millennial respondents don’t have renter’s insurance.

Yes, we — I’m right there with you — have way fewer assets to protect. But isn’t $10 a month worth it to know you could replace your personal belongings if they were damaged or stolen?

And for those of us with cars — young adult drivers have decreased in recent years — 36 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds don’t even insure them, despite it being mandatory in all states except New Hampshire.

But do you know what the strangest statistic of this survey was?

Ninety-five percent of millennials said financial security is important.

Insurance is neither sexy nor engaging. It can feel very corporate, grown-up and depressing. It is often confusing, frustrating and a pain.

But if we are in fact serious about our financial security, it’s a good way to start acting like it. 

Meg Fry

Meg Fry

Meg Fry covers manufacturing and retail. Meg joins NJBIZ with past production experience in the arts, film and television. She continues to write and market her own spec scripts and screenplays. You can contact her at megf@njbiz.com or @MegFry3 on Twitter.

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