The Broke Millennial Summary

The Broke Millennial Summary
Reading Time: 14 minutes


Welcome to the 21st century, where avocados have become symbolic, student loans are as certain as death and taxes, and memes reign supreme.

You may have even stumbled upon this article either through a sea of tweets or amidst an Instagram-scrolling marathon. Either way, I’m glad you’re here.

Millennials, often criticized for their ‘hipster’ tastes and ‘unconventional’ career paths, have inherited an economy that has seen rocketing house prices, a saturated job market, and an avalanche of student debt that has made adulting a quest akin to finding the Holy Grail.

If you’re a millennial trying to make ends meet, or know someone who is, this is your sanctuary.

You may have heard about Erin Lowry’s game-changing book, ‘Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together’. In an era when the word “broke” seems to be attached to the millennial generation like a stubborn sticker, this book offers a much-needed dose of financial wisdom. If you are a struggling millennial, or even if you are just curious to learn how to manage your finances better, you’ve come to the right place.

In this summary we’ll explore how Erin Lowry, through a mix of wit, wisdom, and relatable anecdotes, empowers young adults to take control of their financial destinies. This is not your average, yawn-inducing financial guide; it’s a book that speaks the language of millennials and addresses the unique challenges they face.

We will uncover the key takeaways from the book, and how its practical advice can be applied to real-life situations. Whether you’re drowning in debt, struggling to save, or simply looking to gain a better understanding of personal finance, this book has something for you.

The Broke Millennial Quick Summary

“Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together” by Erin Lowry is a refreshing take on personal finance tailored for the millennial generation. Using relatable language and anecdotes, Lowry addresses the unique financial challenges that millennials face, such as student loan debt, an unpredictable job market, and the pressure to keep up on social media. The book is divided into several sections, each delving into different aspects of personal finance, including budgeting, saving, debt management, and investing.

One of the initial focal points of the book is self-assessment and understanding one’s relationship with money. Lowry stresses the importance of financial self-awareness, taking into account personal attitudes and psychological aspects. Moving ahead, the book dives into practical advice on budgeting and saving, emphasizing the need to create an adaptable budget and set realistic saving goals. It also provides insights into managing debts, specifically student loans and credit card debts, and emphasizes building a solid credit history.

Finally, Lowry demystifies the concept of investing, making it approachable for beginners. She explains basic investment vehicles and the importance of starting early, even with limited funds. Additionally, the book discusses strategies for earning more money through salary negotiations and side hustles. “Broke Millennial” stands out for its engaging and relatable tone, making personal finance more accessible and less daunting for young adults. It is an essential read for millennials looking to gain control of their financial lives.

Who is The Broke Millennial For?

Obviously, the book is primarily aimed at millennials, the generation born between the early 1980s and mid-1990s, who are seeking to take control of their financial health.

The book addresses the specific financial challenges faced by this demographic, such as coping with student loan debt, navigating the modern job market, and managing expenses in an era of social media-driven consumerism. It’s ideal for young adults who may be feeling overwhelmed or underprepared to handle money matters and are looking for guidance that resonates with their experiences and lifestyle.

Additionally, while the book is centered around millennials, its practical advice on budgeting, saving, debt management, and investing can be beneficial for anyone looking to improve their financial literacy.

The relatable language and real-life examples make it an accessible read for individuals from various age groups who might find traditional finance books too jargon-heavy or uninspiring. Whether you’re a recent college graduate, a young professional, or someone later in life looking to reset your financial habits, “Broke Millennial” offers valuable insights and tools.

The Broke Millennial in Three Sentences

  • Through a combination of personal anecdotes, expert advice, and practical tips, Erin Lowry addresses common financial challenges such as student loan debt, budgeting, and investing.
  • Lowry’s conversational and witty writing style breaks down complex financial concepts, making them accessible and less intimidating for young adults who are just starting to navigate their financial journeys.
  • The book serves as an empowering resource for millennials looking to take control of their finances and build a stable and secure financial future.

5 Key Takeaways From The Broke Millennial

  • Understand Your Financial Psychology: One of the key takeaways from “Broke Millennial” is the importance of understanding your financial psychology. Erin Lowry emphasizes how your upbringing and past experiences shape your attitude towards money, and how self-awareness is critical in making positive financial changes.
  • Create a Realistic Budget: Lowry stresses the importance of budgeting as a fundamental tool in managing your finances. She guides readers on creating a realistic and flexible budget that aligns with their financial goals and lifestyle.
  • Build an Emergency Fund: The book highlights the importance of having an emergency fund as a financial safety net. Lowry recommends saving three to six months’ worth of living expenses and provides tips on how to start building this fund even on a tight budget.
  • Tackle Debt Strategically: Debt, especially student loans, is a significant concern for many millennials. Lowry offers strategies for tackling different kinds of debt and emphasizes the importance of paying off high-interest debt first while also understanding the nuances of student loans.
  • Invest Early and Wisely: Lowry demystifies investing and encourages readers to start investing early, even with small amounts of money. She explains various investment vehicles, the power of compound interest, and the importance of diversification.

The Broke Millennial Quotes

  1. Don’t get mad if you determine you’re underpaid relative to the market average for your position or just within your own company. Instead, get ready to negotiate!This quote advises against letting emotions control your actions if you find out that you are underpaid. Instead of getting angry, use this information as a motivation to prepare for a negotiation with your employer. Being level-headed and well-prepared can increase your chances of successfully negotiating a raise or better benefits.
  2. You’re not to touch an emergency fund unless it legitimately qualifies as an emergency, and no, Beyoncé dropping a secret album and announcing a pop-up concert nearby does not count as an emergency.Here, the author humorously emphasizes the importance of discipline in managing an emergency fund. The fund should only be used for unforeseen and essential expenses, like medical emergencies or urgent car repairs. Using it for non-essential things, no matter how tempting, defeats the purpose of having a financial safety net.
  3. A budget shouldn’t be a financial diet that restricts you from spending on things you love.This quote is highlighting that a budget shouldn’t be overly restrictive to the point where it takes the joy out of life. Instead, it should be a tool that helps you manage your finances in a balanced way, allowing for responsible spending on things that make you happy, while also ensuring that you are saving and investing wisely.
  4. Talking about money is like ripping off a Band-Aid.This metaphor implies that talking about money can be uncomfortable and something that people might want to avoid, much like the momentary pain of ripping off a Band-Aid. However, like taking off a Band-Aid, it’s sometimes necessary to address financial issues quickly and directly in order to move forward.
  5. Good savers aren’t born, they’re a product of their environment.This quote emphasizes that the ability to save money effectively is not an inherent trait but is developed through one’s environment and experiences. By surrounding yourself with good financial habits, advice, and influences, you can cultivate the skills and mindset needed to become a good saver.
  6. Making a decision purely because it’s the cheapest option isn’t necessarily the best financial decision.This means that always opting for the least expensive option may not be the wisest choice in the long run. Sometimes, investing in quality or considering other factors besides just price can be more economical over time. It’s a reminder to think critically about purchases and investments and consider the full range of factors that contribute to the value and cost.

Erin Lowry: The Woman Behind The Broke Millennial

Erin Lowry is a personal finance expert, speaker, and author best known for her “Broke Millennial” series. She has published several books under the “Broke Millennial” title, aimed at helping young adults manage their finances.

Erin Lowry grew up in a household where financial literacy was valued. Her parents educated her on money matters from a young age, which instilled in her the importance of being financially savvy. She took this knowledge with her into adulthood and realized that many of her peers were struggling with money management and lacked basic financial literacy.

After college, Lowry started her career in the media industry, working in New York City. Alongside her day job, she launched the “Broke Millennial” blog in 2013 as a way to share her personal finance insights with her peers. Her writing style was relatable and resonated with the millennial audience, who were often confused and overwhelmed by traditional financial advice.

Her blog’s success led her to transition from her media career to focusing on personal finance full-time. She began to be recognized as a finance expert and started getting speaking engagements and contributing to various publications.

Seeing the impact she could have, Erin Lowry expanded her reach by publishing her first book, “Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together,” in 2017. The book was well-received, and she followed it up with “Broke Millennial Takes On Investing: A Beginner’s Guide to Leveling Up Your Money” in 2019 and “Broke Millennial Talks Money: Scripts, Stories and Advice to Navigate Awkward Financial Conversations” in 2021.

Her success can be attributed to several factors, including her ability to communicate complex financial concepts in a relatable and engaging way, her authentic approach, and her dedication to empowering her generation through financial literacy.

The Broke Millennial Summary

“Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together” by Erin Lowry is a comprehensive guide designed to help millennials navigate the seemingly complex world of personal finance. The book aims to debunk the myth that young adults are destined for financial struggle, and instead, empowers them with practical advice and tools to take control of their financial future. The author, Erin Lowry, speaks the language of millennials and uses relatable anecdotes, humor, and a no-nonsense approach, which makes the book appealing to a generation often intimidated by financial jargon and complexity.

The first part of the book focuses on changing the reader’s mindset towards money. Lowry stresses the importance of understanding one’s relationship with money and setting financial goals. She urges millennials to overcome the fear of discussing money, which is often seen as a taboo subject. By setting a positive tone and mindset from the outset, she lays the foundation for the more practical aspects of managing finances that follow in the book.

In the subsequent sections, Lowry dives into the nitty-gritty of personal finance. She covers a wide range of topics including budgeting, saving, investing, and managing debt. The author emphasizes the importance of living within one’s means and creating a realistic budget that accommodates personal preferences and goals. She offers practical advice on how to tackle student loans, credit card debt, and other financial obligations that are common among millennials. Moreover, she explores various investment options and retirement plans, stressing the importance of starting early to take advantage of compound interest.

The final part of the book deals with more advanced topics such as negotiating salaries and navigating financial relationships with friends, family, and romantic partners. Lowry provides guidance on how to approach sensitive topics like splitting bills, lending money, and discussing finances with a partner. She closes the book by encouraging readers to continue educating themselves and making informed financial decisions. In summary, “Broke Millennial” serves as a valuable resource that equips millennials with the knowledge and confidence needed to build a secure financial future. It’s a relatable and practical guide that addresses the unique financial challenges faced by this generation.

Key Lessons From The Broke Millennial

  1. Take Control of Your Financial Life: One of the primary lessons from “Broke Millennial” is the importance of taking active control over your finances. This includes understanding where your money is coming from, where it is going, setting financial goals, and creating a plan to achieve them.
  2. Budgeting Is Empowering, Not Restricting: The book dispels the common misconception that budgeting is a restrictive practice. Instead, Erin Lowry shows that budgeting is an empowering tool that allows you to make conscious decisions about how you allocate your resources in alignment with your values and goals.
  3. The Importance of Financial Communication in Relationships: “Broke Millennial” emphasizes the need for open and honest communication about money within relationships. This includes discussing financial goals, sharing responsibilities, and making joint financial decisions to avoid conflicts and build a secure financial foundation together.
  4. Start Investing Early, Regardless of Income: Lowry stresses the importance of investing as a crucial component of wealth-building. She makes it clear that investing is not just for the rich, and that even with a modest income, starting early and investing consistently can lead to significant wealth over time due to the power of compound interest.
  5. Debt Management and Strategic Payoff: Managing and paying off debt is another essential lesson in the book. Lowry provides strategies for tackling various forms of debt, including student loans and credit card debt. She emphasizes the importance of understanding the terms of your debts and creating a strategic plan for paying them off efficiently.

Implement The Teachings Of The Broke Millennial In Your Life Today

  1. Track Your Expenses: Begin by tracking all your expenses for at least one month. Knowing where your money is going is the first step in creating a budget and making informed financial decisions.
  2. Set Financial Goals: Define what you want to achieve financially. Whether it’s paying off debt, saving for a vacation, or building an emergency fund, having clear goals will give you direction.
  3. Create a Budget: Using the information from tracking your expenses, create a budget that allocates money towards your essentials, financial goals, and discretionary spending. Make sure it’s realistic and stick to it.
  4. Build an Emergency Fund: Start putting aside money into an emergency fund. Even if it’s a small amount at first, having a financial cushion for unexpected expenses is essential.
  5. Check Your Credit Report: Go to and get a free copy of your credit report. This will help you understand your credit history and know where you stand in terms of creditworthiness.
  6. Start Small with Investing: If you haven’t already, start investing. You don’t need a lot of money to begin. Consider opening a retirement account like an IRA or contributing to your employer’s 401(k). Look into low-cost index funds or ETFs.
  7. Negotiate Your Bills: Call your service providers (like cable, internet, or cell phone) and try to negotiate for a lower rate. Sometimes, even a simple phone call can lead to savings.
  8. Research Before Making Big Purchases: Whenever you are considering making a significant purchase, take the time to research and compare prices to make sure you are getting the best deal.
  9. Talk About Money with Your Partner or Family: Initiate a conversation about finances with your partner or family members. Establishing open communication lines early is crucial in managing finances effectively in relationships.
  10. Educate Yourself Continuously: Commit to continuously educating yourself about personal finance. Read books, follow blogs, or listen to podcasts.

Book Review (Personal Opinion):

As someone who firmly believes in the importance of financial literacy, I found Erin Lowry’s “Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together” to be a refreshing and much-needed guide for young adults.

What struck me the most about “Broke Millennial” is Lowry’s ability to communicate complex financial concepts in a language that resonates with millennials. Too often, finance books are laden with jargon that can be intimidating for a novice. Lowry, on the other hand, feels like that savvy friend who has been there and is now sharing her wisdom. The relatable anecdotes and real-life examples make the advice tangible and actionable.

Whether you’re dealing with student loans, trying to understand the basics of investing, or navigating the financial intricacies of relationships, this book has something for you. Moreover, the book doesn’t just focus on frugality or cutting back; it empowers you to make choices aligned with your values and goals.

However, it’s worth mentioning that while the book is a great starting point, it doesn’t delve too deeply into some topics like investment strategies or retirement planning. For those seeking advanced guidance on particular subjects, additional resources might be necessary.

In conclusion, “Broke Millennial” is a fantastic primer for anyone looking to get their financial life in order. It’s a book I wish I had in my early twenties, but even now, I found nuggets of wisdom that were incredibly valuable. Lowry’s engaging style and practical advice make personal finance approachable and, dare I say, fun. I highly recommend this book to millennials or frankly anyone who is looking to build a solid foundation in personal finance.

One Small Actionable Step To Implement The Broke Millennial

One practical thing you can do to implement the teachings of “Broke Millennial” today is to create a budget that aligns with your values and financial goals. As Erin Lowry emphasizes in the book, a budget is not meant to be a restrictive financial diet but a tool to help you make conscious decisions about your spending.

Start by jotting down your monthly income and expenses, and categorize them into needs, wants, and savings. Pay particular attention to where you might be overspending on non-essentials. Make sure you allocate a portion of your income towards savings and debt repayment (if applicable). The goal is to create a balanced budget that allows you to enjoy your present while also securing your future.

This immediate step can be the foundation for other pieces of advice given in the book, and gradually enable you to take control of your financial life.

The Broke Millennial Criticism

“Broke Millennial” by Erin Lowry has been criticized for being too basic for readers with a good understanding of personal finance, as it is primarily geared towards beginners. The book’s casual, millennial-centric language may also be off-putting for some, particularly those from different generations. Moreover, its American-centric focus and reliance on anecdotal evidence can limit the book’s applicability and relatability for a wider, diverse audience.

Additionally, some readers have expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of depth in certain topics such as investing, and others have noted that the advice and anecdotes in the book often assume a level of privilege, making it less relatable for those without familial support or financial safety nets. In sum, while the book offers valuable insights for some, its style and scope may not cater to everyone’s preferences and needs.


In conclusion, “Broke Millennial” by Erin Lowry is an essential read for millennials seeking to gain control over their finances and make informed financial decisions. With its engaging and relatable tone, the book serves as a gentle introduction to the world of personal finance. While some may find the content too basic or the tone too casual, it’s undeniable that the book fills a gap for young adults who might not have received a financial education during their formative years. It’s important to recognize that this book is primarily aimed at beginners and is most valuable to those just embarking on their financial journey. For those looking to delve deeper into specific topics like investments, it might be wise to supplement this book with additional resources. Regardless, “Broke Millennial” lays the foundation for financial literacy and empowers its readers to take that all-important first step toward financial independence and security.


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