By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s expensive being a millennial.

A new stock market projection by Wall Street analysts shows a 4 percent gain for 2017. According to Bespoke Investment Group, that’s the lowest annual gain since 2005.

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At a lower growth rate, millennials won’t get as much bang for their buck in retirement investments.

“You have to find a way to save more,” said Sandra Harder, a wealthcare advisor for The Johnston Group in Minneapolis. “It’s harder than ever before.”

Harder says it’s not just changes in the stock market, but fewer pensions and student loans that make it difficult for millennials to save enough.

The personal finance website NerdWallet estimates millennials will need to save 22 percent of their paychecks to have enough cash in retirement if stock market gains continue to be weak. Harder says the figure isn’t always a one-size-fits-all.

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“If you can’t save 20 percent, just get started on something,” she said.

Harder recommends focusing on savings goals: an emergency fund (3-6 months of living expenses), contribute to a 401K (at least up to employer match), and look into investment opportunities (i.e. brokerage accounts).

“When you have a raise or something like that, just keep trying to increase that savings amount that you’re doing,” Harder said.

As for student loans, Harder says the interest rate matters. A higher interest rate loan should be higher in priority to pay off before looking into investment opportunities, while it’s possible the gain on investments could do better than lower interest rate student loans.

Bottom line: Save as much as you can manage.

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“Try the best you can,” Brooks said. “Try not to go out too much.”

Kate Raddatz