Gen Z is in our second economic crisis. If you count the 1997 Asian financial crisis and its lasting effects, then this is our third.
It’s been an ugly quarter for the financial markets, with the S&P 500 down 5.3%, Nasdaq down 4.1%, and the Dow losing 6.7%. It’s actually been a pretty ugly year, with the Nasdaq and S&P experiencing its first three consecutive quarterly losses since 2009.
Cryptos haven’t fared any better. Bitcoin, the market leader in crypto, is down over 70% since its all-time high price hit in November of 2021. There’s been a reshuffle among the rest of the cryptocurrencies, with huge players dropping out of the game and facing bankruptcy, like Celsius Network, Terra and others all crumbling under the weight of macroeconomic trends.
Even gold has been hit, dropping 7% from January prices to September.
Leaving your money in your checking account, or even a savings account, won’t do you much better. Since inflation is at about 9% and the highest possible yield rates you could get at a bank at about 3%, you’ll still come out at the end of the year with 6% less value to your cash.
So what’s a college student like you or me to do at this time? In 2008, we didn’t have any real cash to work with, and some of us weren’t even born in 1997. This is the first economic crisis that we are experiencing as adults.
First, view this as an opportunity to start building up a portfolio of good future-facing investments. Investments aren’t just for the rich. Putting some spare money to work in a Roth IRA retirement account will have you thanking yourself 10 or 20 years down the line.
With macroeconomic trends pushing down the prices of solid, future-proof investments, this is as good a time as any to begin a safe portfolio of companies that aren’t going anywhere.
If you’ve got the cash, the current economic climate doesn’t mean financial loss for you as much as it means a huge discount for blue chip investments.
Secondly, it’s always a good move to cut out unnecessary spending. Cutting down on spending begins with knowing your spending, so consider starting a kakeibo budget book to figure out what you’re spending on and what you can cut down on.
News sources commit large amounts of coverage to recessions and general economic hardships, but it’s never that serious for you or me personally. In terms of inflation, maybe the prices of the things we buy go up a little bit. For a recession, maybe it’s a little bit more difficult to find a job. It’s never as catastrophic as mainstream media sources make it out to be. The world isn’t on the brink of collapse, and your lifestyle is almost certainly not changing.
The amount of money that’s being speculated with by Wall Street, though, is certainly down. We have the opportunity to take advantage of the conservative shift in Big Money’s outlook and take what gains we can.
Put your money to work this time around, and maybe we can come out of this one better off the generations before us.
I can’t wait for the mid-term elections. Two years of this administration is two years too many.