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Millennial money: Coping with life's financial challenges

Whether it's housing, relationships or your career, keep in mind that change is constant and usually presents problems and solutions that have an impact on your bottom line.

Think through all the costs before considering moving,

Think through all the costs before considering moving, experts say. Photo Credit: Getty Images/Robert Daly

Change is constant — especially when you're young. Chances are you'll cycle through a few moves, job changes and romantic relationships as you establish your life as a young adult.

Each development in these three big areas of your life brings financial challenges, too. Here are ways to manage the cost of change.

Housing changes

"Having a plan is always key," says Lacey Langford, an accredited financial counselor. "Think through the steps of your move and the costs that go along with it."

  • COMPARE MOVERS. Some movers require more workers to haul your stuff or offer lower hourly rates. Compare prices among several firms before choosing.
  • THINK BEYOND DIY TRUCKS. Rather than using one of the go-to truck rental companies, check out rental car companies. Sell or donate nonessential items and move only what fits in a rental van. You could save hundreds.
  • SHOP USED. Check local antique shops or secondhand stores. You can save money and get unique items, too.

Relationship changes

Relationship changes could mean your money and your partner's are moving together — or apart. The key to managing finances is communication.

  • JOINING FINANCES. First, have a deep, honest conversation. Talk about your money history, including things like how your parents managed their money, your current financial standing and your future financial goals, advises wealth psychology expert Kathleen Burns Kingsbury. Next, plan how you want to handle your joint finances. Burns Kingsbury suggests checking in every six months or so to ensure the plan is working for both of you.
  • SEPARATING FINANCES. Breaking up has added complexity when you've commingled finances. But a level head — and outside help if needed — can make it less painful. Sit down and talk through each account you share, Burns Kingsbury advises. Come to an agreement about how you'll handle things like co-signed loans. Consider bringing in a mediator to facilitate the conversation if you can't do it amicably. A trusted friend or financial coach could be helpful.

A NEW JOB

Job changes can advance your career and bump up your pay. But there may be financial trade-offs.

Think through potential costs to see if you'll come out ahead, including:

BENEFITS. Consider total compensation. The new job might bring a bump in pay, but lesser benefits may offset it. For instance, if the medical coverage isn't as robust as your former employer's, you may end up forking over more for co-pays and prescriptions.

LIFESTYLE CHANGES. A new job can change your day-to-day life drastically, including what you wear, how you eat and how much time you spend traveling. 

YOUR RETIREMENT ACCOUNT. Don't leave your retirement account languishing with your former employer. You'll likely want to roll it into your new employer's plan. But check the fees and investment options that come with it; you might be better off with a second retirement account to contribute to after you get the company match.

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