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What Financial Freedom Means For Millennials

Haley Paskalides  |  April 24, 2024

Financial freedom means a lot of things. For millennials, it means intentional spending and a four-day workweek.

Lately, have you been more intentional about the time you spend working? What about putting more effort into finding financial freedom? 

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These are two hot-button topics with Millennials these days, particularly with regard to the time we spend working — specifically, the four-day workweek. About a month ago, Bernie Sanders proposed legislation that could make this the new reality for all of us. He argues that, despite huge technological advances and increases in productivity, Americans are still working longer hours with less pay. He also notes that our mental and physical health is suffering because of it. The data proves that he’s onto something. According to a recent study out of the UK, companies that switched to a four-day workweek as an experiment a year ago are now reporting happier workers, lower turnover, and greater efficiency. 

Holly Trantham and her company, The Financial Diet, were way ahead of the curve. They adopted a four-day workweek three years ago and they’ve never looked back. She says The Financial Diet not only saw an increase in work-life balance after adopting a four-day workweek, they also saw an increase in revenue. Holly says that’s because it gave them a lot of clarity on where their time was the most valuable. “At the end of 2021, for instance, we stopped publishing on our website,” Trantham says. “Because we had to fit more into those hours, it just was becoming clearer that it was not going to be a place where our hours were worth much compared to our other platforms.” Now, they’ve been able to put more effort into their membership program and growing their YouTube channel, which they say has a much higher return on investment. 

LISTEN: How To Avoid Burnout

Trantham also talks about her definitions of financial freedom and financial success and how they compares to the “standard.” She calls her own financial life “unimpressive” because she doesn’t own a home or a business. However, she thinks it’s insensitive when people say that someone like her isn’t financially successful. “My husband and I both have good incomes. We have a robust emergency fund. We max out our retirement accounts. We are able to invest. We take great trips every year,” Trantham says. “I don’t have the kind of financial life that is going to make any headlines, but especially compared to the average American household, I have a very privileged and very financially successful life.” 

She says that “financial success” looks different for everyone, and our ultimate goal should be to have an emergency fund and “enough” to live the life we want. 

“It’s not going to be buying as much as possible. It’s not going to be having a bigger home or a nicer car. It’s not going to look like external markers of living a successful life. It’s going to be having the security inside that you know that you are taking care of,” Trantham says.

In Mailbag, we hear from a listener who can’t seem to get past the first round of job interviews, and we dig into the finances of egg freezing. In our news of the week, we discuss why the Fed is flip-flopping on cutting interest rates this year, what the heck the Bitcoin “halving” means, and why starting a business may lead (counterintuitively) to less stress. 


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All advisory services offered through Financial Engines Advisors L.L.C. (FEA), a federally registered investment advisor. Results are not guaranteed. AM1969416

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