There are a lot of things you can control about your money. Budgeting, saving, having challenging financial conversations with your partner, making smart investments when you can鈥 all of these savvy habits will contribute to setting you up for success. Frustratingly, though, not *everything* is within your ability to manage (sorry to all the control freaks out there!), and there are factors playing out in the world at large that impact how effectively we can meet our financial goals.

If you鈥檙e a millennial, it might seem like the odds have been stacked against you. According to a recent study from Bank of the West, 60 percent of millennials believe in the American dream 鈥 a comfortable home of their own, a life unburdened by debt, and the promise of retirement after a rewarding career 鈥 but that doesn鈥檛 mean that the circumstances of their first decade or so in the adult world have been particularly conducive to achieving it.

Woman managing her finances

鈥淢illennials have drawn the short end of the stick so far when it comes to the market cycle, with many graduating from college and heading into a job market with little to offer them and record under-employment,鈥 Ryan Bailey, head of Bank of the West鈥檚 retail banking group, says.

In addition to this subpar employment situation, millennials are paying down student loan debt after a bull market that would have been friendlier to them, and aspiring young homeowners were likely not ready to close on houses when housing prices and interest rates were low. Today, home buyers can鈥檛 deduct state and local property taxes from federal tax bills, according to Bailey.

Yeah, things have been pretty grim so far. But guess what? Generally speaking, they鈥檙e turning around! And given the fact that millennials still have plenty of years to plan for major milestones like home ownership, retirement, and the like, time can actually be an advantage to them now.

鈥淭ime is your new BFF,鈥 Bailey says. 鈥淎s hard as it is to get started, remember that your money has more potential to grow now than it ever will. Future you will thank you.鈥

Here are a few tips from Bailey that will help you make the most of this newfound time to benefit your financial future.

1. Get consistent. If there鈥檚 anything millennials have learned from the not-so-great financial circumstances they experienced in early adulthood, it鈥檚 that it can be nearly impossible to accurately time or predict the market. In order to establish a cushion for yourself and to ensure that you鈥檙e planning well for the future, set aside a fixed amount of your paycheck each month. With time on your side, this investment can really stand to grow! Your 401(k) could be a good place to start.

2. Try before you buy. You might be under the impression that owning a home is always the best option, which probably has you feeling rushed to make it happen. Resist the urge to hurry. According to the Bank of the West study, 19 percent of millennial homeowners say that their space doesn鈥檛 work well for them and 20 percent discovered damage after they moved in. When you have an abundance mentality with respect to time, you鈥檒l be more likely to consider all factors before you decide to buy a home. This goes for other big purchases too. You don鈥檛 need to rush major investment decisions鈥 nor should you.

3. Remember to account for expensive one-off purchases. 鈥淗ere鈥檚 a secret,鈥 Bailey says. 鈥淎dult finances are not hard, as long as you take stock of what you own and what you owe.鈥 This includes random big-ticket purchases like wedding gifts and vacations. Budgeting is great, but if you don鈥檛 account for one-off expenses as part of said budget, it鈥檚 going to catch up with you. Balance those expenditures by tightening the purse strings elsewhere that month, or include a buffer for miscellaneous items in your regular budget.

4. Don鈥檛 live in denial about your debts. If you鈥檙e drowning in student loan debt or struggling to pay off old credit card bills, it can be easier to, well, not think about it. That鈥檚 not going to serve you well in the long run, though. Keep your debts top-of-mind and prioritize short-term debt with high interest rates first. The sooner you鈥檝e settled these matters, the sooner you鈥檒l be able to focus exclusively on what you want to save for and invest in going forward.

Rest assured that there鈥檚 hope for your finances. 鈥淚t is important to keep in mind that, while time has worked against you so far, there is still plenty of it on the horizon and it can now work for you鈥 if you take advantage of it,鈥 Bailey advises. 鈥淒on鈥檛 let the past dictate the future. Making smart investment decisions will position you well to build the life you want to lead.鈥

How do you try to make time your friend when making big financial decisions? Tweet us @BritandCo!

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