Laura Mignott is ecstatic that her New York-based company DFlash is once again on pace to surpass the million-dollar revenue mark this year.
Mignott, an entrepreneur in her mid-30s with roots in Jamaica, has run a boutique branding agency since 2011 that tells the story of both startups and established brands like Samsung and Chevy.
Now that the business is on solid footing, Mignott is playing catch up on her retirement savings.
Most Americans are falling short of the savings needed to retire comfortably. Millennials like Mignott are no exception. According to a 2016 study by GoBanking Rates that looked at how Americans' savings differ by life stage, 42% of Millennials indicated they have no retirement savings.
"I wanted to build up the business, so I basically dumped most of my savings, $40,000, into DFlash as we kicked off," she says.
This CEO considers herself an accidental entrepreneur. "I was working a full-time job, then there was the crash of '08 and I got laid off," she says. "There was a lot economic uncertainty and I went through a couple of different jobs."
Eventually, she cashed out her 401(k) and used part of that savings to help start DFlash with a former business partner. "When you run a business, the idea of saving is so far out of your mind because you're constantly trying to figure out how to budget," she says. "Having that emergency savings account helped foster and grow the business."
Now, she's turning her attention toward retirement.
"I've had some conversations with a financial planner whom I'm about to officially hire," she says. So far, Mignott has set up a Roth IRA and a 401(k) but also has her sights on investing in some startups.
The socially conscious Millennial says: "I don't want invest in the new hot toy. It has to make sense for what I want to be involved in as opposed to a random idea that sounds awesome."
There's also the $50,000 in student loan debt hanging over her head. Her plan? "Let's put it this way: I don't want to be 40 and still paying off my student loans," she says.
If her company can afford to pay her a larger salary in the near future, she projects that she will pay off a good chunk of the debt in a few years.
For Millennials still on the fence about saving for the future, Mignott says use the many online tools available to learn about different types of investments. Then set it and forget it.
"Also, find good quality experts who give real advice, then take it," she adds. Most important, "Do not wait."