Men who have lived through previous recessions, what is your advice to young men on how to navigate this global economic apocalypse OR what is your previous recession horror story / cautionary tale?

I am looking for ANY experienced advice, warnings, or tips on life during a recession.


– Young people who are graduating university and entering the workforce

– Young people who have just had families and are scared about their future (financially)

– Young people who have suffered total financial annihilation and are having to rebuild in this climate

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*…and anything else you can think of*

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  1. Get into a career with protections. No matter how bad the economy gets people will always get sick, so a hospital career is great.

    So, when preparing for uni, make sure there’s a job market available for your degree. Not everyone drops out and starts a facebook, you’re statistically far more likely to just be an average person with your degree. Look into the average person that gets your degree. If they’re working at starbucks because there’s nobody hiring someone with a history degree, don’t go for history. Degrees are for your resume, they’re too expensive to be for just interest.

    >- Young people who are graduating university and entering the workforce

    Apply everywhere. Use your connections you made in university, that’s half the point. That’s why greek life is so important, it really helps get your name into a job post-college. And don’t be afraid of taking a slightly lower paying job or less desirable job for the experience.

    >- Young people who have just had families and are scared about their future (financially)

    Nobody is ever prepared for kids. Everyone is fucked. You will not be able to afford it. Accept that fact, because it’s true. And when you finally accept it, you can enjoy the struggle. You’re playing a losing game, may as well enjoy the ride. It’s not like you can take the money with you when you die anyway.

    And as long as you’re smart with your money, you’ll probably be fine. Even if things go to hell in a handbasket, you’re not going to be assassinated for being a little tight with money or even going into the red.

    >- Young people who have suffered total financial annihilation and are having to rebuild in this climate

    Very rarely do you get the chance to start from scratch. People love getting 18 year olds right into college or the military because there’s nothing holding them back. So don’t think about it as having no ground to build off of, think about it as being unburdened. Nothing is stopping you from leaving the country and starting over. Nothing is stopping you from packing up and living like a hippy nomade for a few years. Stability also ties you down to one spot, don’t be afraid of being a bit free.

  2. Survive. Get any job. That’s all you’ve gotta do. There’ll be jobs in branches no one wants to work. It’s money in. That’s what you gotta think about.

  3. Be prepared to deal with shitty wages for the first few years then jump ship as soon as you have the experience to do so. The hardest part is getting in the door but the job market is always much easier for people who actually have some experience.

    The 2008 crisis saw a LOT of companies reduce the starter salary for grad jobs. They can then use this low starting point to offer you salary bumps that seem good but still keep you under average for your field. The last company I worked at kept the starting salary the same for more than 10 years after pegging it low in 2009.

    Leaving and going somewhere else is always the easiest way to drive up your salary.

    Also, and I can’t stress this enough, do not carry a balance on your credit card or take on any debt if you aren’t able to save plenty of money already every month.

  4. I graduated from college right when the 2008 recession was starting.

    Some tips:
    1. Survival is first. You need a place to live and food to eat. Don’t be so frugal that you don’t adequately meet your basic needs.

    2. Be frugal. Even if things are going well. A good job might not last. Save what you can, and steer clear of credit card debt.

    3. Don’t suffer or put your life on hold indefinitely. Even though you’re being careful with the money, that doesn’t mean you should stop living. Find cheap or free sources of entertainment and socialization. We actually started having kids during the recession. You can find a way to do the things that are important to you. You just have to plan and be flexible as those plans have to change.

    4. Consider working in an industry that is less affected by the recession. A government job that pays less might be a better move than a risky higher-paying job in a startup. It depends on your tolerance for risk and the potential reward.

    5. Get rich quick schemes run rampant during a recession. Avoid, avoid, avoid. I have so many friends who were sucked in by multi-level marketing companies during the 2008 recession. The lucky ones broke even.

  5. If you are in high school or college look into careers that are low risk to automation with decent growth. But make sure it is a career you think you could enjoy. Also lower expectations. Unless you have a trust fund life is going to hand you tons of disappointments. Staying of social media helps with keeping you from feeling like a failure.

  6. Get into an industry that is always in high demand and harder to automate. As someone else mentioned, education should not be used as a hobby – get your degree in basket weaving and interpretive dance on your own time once you’ve completed the important stuff.

    Start a savings account and contribute as much as possible to it as often as you can. Ideally having 3-6 months worth of expenses saved up is the goal. I recommend having money automatically sent to your savings account on the same frequency as your pay is deposited (so you get paid every second Friday, on the same day your bank transfers $100 to your savings account) and when you come into some extra cash (bonus, tax refund, whatever) consider putting all or most of it into your savings to build it faster.

    If this whole Covid thing has taught us anything it’s that focus should be on becoming an “essential” worker and having a proper savings account. Hopefully this was an eye opener for a lot of people and they’ll now be able to whether the next storm a lot better – and there WILL be a next storm.

  7. “If you’re waiting for the car crash to put on your safety belt, you’re too late.”
    I hate to say it, but if you’re exiting college right now looking for a job, you’re kinda screwed. Sell yourself to the most stable company you can and get through it.

    After this is over…
    This isn’t the last crash. I’d estimate that we’ll have 7-13 years till the next one, but there will be another crash. Plan for that. 10 years is long enough to feel like we’re safe, and start getting complacent and lazy.
    Balance spending like there’s no tomorrow with saving like the next recession is tomorrow. Enjoy what you’ve got, but it’s still a good idea to have something stashed away for a rainy day too.
    Anybody who tells you “It’s not that bad” or “Just [do what they did] and you’ll be fine.” grew up in an era where things were better for labor/workers. I can say this with confidence because I’ve seen the statistics. Controlling for inflation and skill, boomers made more than GenX, who made more than Millennials, who’ll probably make more than you guys in GenZ.

  8. Not sure anyone can give you advice on how, but more of live the moment and learn from something the world has never seen before. Count it up as experience.

  9. I was in the Asian/African financial crisis in the late 1990s, and our interest rates were in the mid-20s. My home repayments nearly doubled, and it was a killer. Focus on what you need vs what you want, and don’t overextend yourself. Make sure what you buy – especially those with debt, like house/car – is within your means, and that you have a bit of headroom for oter costs.

  10. Always keep interested in your own career. You might think some aspects of it are boring but attitude and how people perceive your attitude to be are important. Some day you might be glad of being the only person in the office who can do X even if you think it’s a heap of crap.

    Also, when a recession comes along and places are talking about job cuts, never underestimate the amount of people who really want to go and will take a pay off. Once when redundancies were announced where I worked by the time we got to being interviewed for the new roles there was one more role than there was people still there and we had to take someone on.

  11. I graduated college in 2010 when the economy was still struggling from the 08 financial crash. I majored in statistics & actuarial sciences, so I still had some good job opportunities, but it took me 10 months to find my first job, and I’m pretty sure my starting pay was a bit lower than it otherwise would’ve been if the crash never happened. I was studying to be an actuary but ended up being a statistical programmer for a research hospital. Like engineertr1gg said, choose your major wisely if you’re in college. Keep your overhead low too. I actually felt kind of lucky because it didn’t take me too long to find employment, and I was able to start investing when the markets were still on the way up. I also bought a house in 2013 just before prices had fully recovered in my area.

  12. I was applying for university during the 2010 crash. I did what I loved and what i was good at (biomedical sciences), it’s lucky that is a useful field too. The mistake I made was not networking and thinking my degree grade would be enough to get any job. Study hard and pick a field you can tolerate well enough. Network and take any work experience, job or volunteer position in your field while at uni to boost your CV. Use this time to learn how to budget, save and invest too.

  13. Save money and invest. Buy broad index mutual funds regularly in a retirement account every month. When recessions come, those investments can be had at a bargain.

  14. 2007/2008 financial crisis here.

    I remember a dude being interviewed on CNN around that time said “If you’re already at the bottom, you don’t have a long way to fall”

    2020, happy, and still don’t have a long way to fall.
    It’s the people who actually have shit who should be the most worried.

  15. Learn a trade. Never stop learning. If your company offers training take all you can get. Save during the good times and don’t live beyond your means. If you have a house get a home equity line of credit and keep the balance at $0. That way if you lose your job you will have access to cash.

  16. I’ll answer the “anything else” bit.

    Stocks are *on sale* right now. That 30% drop you heard about on the news? They make it sound like a bad thing but that’s a 30% discount on most stocks. You can buy practically any household name company during a recession and a few years later you’ll have made a very nice return on investment.

    In March and April this year I bought stocks like ATT, Verizon, PPL ( a power company), Chevron and Exxon Mobile. I also bought Wendy’s at 9 when the month before it was at 23. I sold it a few weeks ago for 23 for a 140% return in something like 10 weeks. Delta airlines is a steal right now too. The vaccine will come and people will travel again, getting an industry powerhouse (that pays a divided!) For less than half of it’s pre-quarantine price is a steal. Just wait a few years and it’s bound to come back up.

  17. Try to make contact with friends in similar situations, get together and find an affordable place to rent together, split rent and collectively seek out jobs with reasonable benefits regardless of the wage, you can even apply at the same place and slowly save up and see about purchasing a cheap car so you can carpool together. While you’re all working and receiving any sort of income, constanty keep looking for any other job opportunities while at your current place of work. Just grind it out, it’s a slow climb.

    And BUILD YOUR CREDIT! The sooner you start doing this the better.

    And another very important thing, and I understand this might be extremely difficult to fit into your schedule, but try find time to keep yourself healthy, go to the gym, go out for a run, hell even work out at home. When your body and mind are in a healthy state you’ll notice that it will make your situation a little better, out of all the stress you may be going through trying to make a life for yourself, at least you can find the good in the meantime and feel proud of yourself.

    Edit: specifically targeted at recent graduates, forgot to mention

  18. Get an essential job and never go out, save money with every expense and have no shame with saving money. Don’t follow trends for a few years for this very reason. It sucks but when the economy gets going again you’ll be the person with money and stability instead of the person that’s still just broke.

  19. Be frugal and save (and/or invest) as much as you can. For a lot of people your age, that means cutting way back on the amount of alcohol you consume outside the home and cooking your own food.

  20. My partner and I went through our own personal financial crisis when we were both made redundant in the same year (my partner’s job went redundant not just him). My only advice is to just ride the wave, know it won’t last forever, work really hard knowing that you’re getting one step closer to your goals all the time, find hobbies and keep doing them even if you have to step out of what you usually do like my car-loving husband who could no longer afford that hobby, started oil painting instead. Also, eat well and exercise because it’ll make you feel better, and volunteer. When you volunteer with people who are needy, you develop gratitude, learn from their advice and you feel grateful. My partner studied part time while working in warehouses and we lost our house and sold nearly everything we owned just to get by, but we decided when it first happened we weren’t going to let it affect our relationship so it actually made us stronger. We’re fine now, got through 2 years of it and we both got better jobs and bought another house and all 🙂

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