Gen Z is already learning to be smart about money.

Given how clueless the average millennial is about finances (or at least believed to be), I’m not too embarrassed to admit I never gave a thought to retirement planning until just recently. I always contributed to a 401(k) if my employer offered one and my parents and I opened a Roth IRA years ago, but I couldn’t have told you the status of either account without doing some digging. And as a debt-free only child to parents who have lived frugally, saved their money wisely and invested in real estate, I grew up with the mentality that when it comes to finances, things will be “taken care of.”

Something clicked earlier this month around my 35th birthday, and I realized it was time to take a bit more control of my financial future. I took a close look at my existing retirement accounts, opened a new investment account with my Dad through Vanguard, and began formulating a contribution plan for all three.

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Natasha Chilingerian

Natasha Chilingerian has worked in the credit union space for over a decade. She joined CU Times as managing editor in 2015 and was promoted to executive editor in 2019. Before that, she served as a communications specialist for Xceed Financial Credit Union (now Kinecta Federal Credit Union) in Los Angeles from 2013-2015, and as a CU Times freelancer from 2011-2013. She has been a professional writer and editor for more than 17 years, specializing in news and lifestyle journalism as well as marketing copywriting for companies in the finance and technology space.

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