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6 top investment tips for millennials in 2016

Welcome Millennial!

As a young person (born in the 1980s or 1990s) you are probably just beginning your investment journey. A journey which will hopefully span many decades.

But although technology has changed massively for our generation, most of the foundations of successful investing are still the same. Here are six investment tips to help you grow towards your own financial freedom.

1. Grow your savings, not your lifestyle

Being young, Millennials have lower average incomes than older generations and less cash to spend. But as you start to work and grow your income do all you can to avoid the trap of lifestyle creep and drive it into savings. No one expects you to keep up with the Rich Kids of Instagram.

Budgeting is an old concept, but simply knowing how much you earn and how much you spend will keep you out of debt and help you save towards investing.

As your earnings grow and you pay off your student debt, divert the extra cash into a savings account to invest later.

2. Don’t borrow to invest

Yes, it might make you a high return. But you could also end up destroying your wealth and owing a lot of money. The recent failings of big names Dick Smith Holdings Ltd (ASX: DSH) and Shine Corporate Ltd (ASX: SHJ) are examples of how even companies which look solid can harbour big unexpected risks.

3. Go long. Wayyyy long

Millennials often get slated as having short attention spans and desire for instant gratification. It’s a ridiculous label to slap over an entire generation (there are 92 million Millennials in America alone), but it is especially important to avoid in investing.

Look for companies with clear strategies to grow value over many years to come which have a competitive advantage that will support this. SKYCITY Entertainment Group Limited-Ord (ASX: SKC) for example is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in long term growth and is building valuable strategic entertainment hubs in Auckland and Adelaide.

4. If a trend makes the news, you’re probably too late

News spreads almost instantaneously today with social media. But by the time a trend makes it into the media it’s often inflated by hype.

An example is milk powder producer a2 Milk Company Ltd (Australia) (ASX: A2M). Shares more than doubled in December last year as investors piled in. The company had announced an improved outlook, but it is often the share price gains themselves which spark news coverage, which in turn drive the price higher as people fear missing out on the next big thing.

5. Don’t take investing advice off Facebook

Facebook pages and forums which discuss investing ideas can be interesting, but take anything you read with a whole bucket full of salt. Discussions are often dominated by people with their own radical investing philosophies and agendas, which often will not match your needs or time horizon.

6. Follow your own path

Instead, write down your own investment goals and follow your own path. There is no single ‘right answer’ in investing. And because it takes two people to make a trade, there will always be someone with the opposite opinion to yours.

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Motley Fool contributor Regan Pearson owns shares of Sky City Entertainment Group Ltd.. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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