Millennials hit hardest financially amid pandemic, experts say

Posted at 4:47 PM, Sep 17, 2020

Experts say those feeling the pain of the financial crisis the most are millennials. The generation has missed major milestones that past generations enjoyed in their 30’s and 40’s as a result of dealing with two major financial crises over the past decade.

However, it may not be all gloom and doom for millennials. The economic cycles the generation has experienced early on could lead them to understand the economy and markets better, potentially leveraging that to greater future gains.

Many millennials graduated and entered the workforce during the 2008 Great Recession. They were just hitting their prime, and then, this pandemic and a second major financial crisis hit.

“It just feels not only like we can’t catch a break, but we can’t even get started without something coming along and taking away a lot of what we worked for,” said Erin Lowry.

Erin Lowry is an author and wrote the books “Broke Millennial” and “Broke Millennial Takes on Investing”.

“The big thing to consider for your financial future is this will be temporary,” said Lowry. "We are going to get through this just like we got through ’08.”

Surveys conducted by the Urban Institute show at least 1 in 3 millennials are struggling financially right now, and millennials as a whole have less acclimated wealth at this stage in life than the prior generation. To change that, even during this recession, Lowry believes there are a few key things millennials can do.

“You do want to think about doing, and I hesitate to say it like this, but the least damage currently,” said Lowry.

She recommends minimizing the amount of debt you may need to take on to get through this economic downturn. Also, protect your credit scores as much as possible by making on-time payments.

Pay the minimum if needed or contact your lenders to work out agreements that will not show missed payments on your credit report. In the future, you’ll want a healthy credit score to be able to qualify for mortgage loans or auto loans at a lower interest rate.

Lastly, try to still contribute to your retirement plan even if it’s a little bit. If you are in a position where every penny counts right now, think about a time in the near future when you can start to again invest. That is important because, historically, the market will rebound.

To recover on a better financial footing, you want to buy when the market is low, or down, and reap the gains as the economy recovers.

“After 2008, we went on to have one of the longest bull runs in stock market history,” said Lowry. "We don’t know what is going to happen after the coronavirus recession, but you don’t want to miss out on potentially huge returns.”

The possible advantage of going through two recessions early in life may be a better understanding of the economy and a stronger desire to understand the market, along with learning how to use the downturn as an opportunity for future gains.