It isn’t too late for millennials to build wealth. What to do if you’re starting now – CNBC

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The eldest millennials are now approaching 40 and have experienced a few major setbacks that have kept them from building wealth in their adult lives.

First, they were hit by 2008 recession — at the time, the worst economic downturn the U.S. had seen since the Great Depression — just as they were entering the workforce. Then, just over a decade later, the coronavirus pandemic and new record-breaking recession hit, which left millions unemployed.

The group was also saddled student loan debt, which has grown to $1.7 trillion outstanding in 2021.

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Still, personal finance experts say that it is not too late for the oldest millennials to build wealth and get on track for retirement. It just might take some extra work.

“You can catch up, you can absolutely do it,” said Linda Farinola, a certified financial planner and president of PFG-Financial Planning and Management in Princeton, New Jersey. “But one of the things you have to recognize is that you have to put together some kind of goals or plan and commit yourself to making some choices.”

Accept where you are

Even if you are beginning your wealth building journey later, in your 30s or 40s, or even starting over after a setback, it’s important to understand and accept exactly where you are financially.

“You are not alone and shouldn’t be embarrassed to go get help or ask questions,” said Farinola. “Everyone has had setbacks.”

It also doesn’t help to dwell on what you wish you’d done earlier, according to Marco Rimassa, a CFP and president of CFE Financial in Katy, Texas.

“Let’s focus on the best avenue going forward and maximize the opportunities in front of us rather than what should have happened,” he said.

Take an inventory of your net worth — debt, assets, savings and more — to determine what work needs to be done.

One thing in millennials’ corner is that for many of them, saving for retirement has been automated via employer-sponsored 401(k) plans.

“You have a lot of millennials who have actually saved into their 401(k) plans and they don’t realize it,” said Jacqueline Schadeck, a CFP based in Atlanta. “So that has actually helped a lot of people.”

Revise your idea of retirement

If you started saving later or find that you’re worse off than you thought, …….