Author Topic: Millennials- Any advice/strategies in addition to "staying the course"  (Read 1679 times)


  • Stubble
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For the millennial crowed in here that is lucky enough to have a long horizon for the markets to recover, but also to see the carnage in the fruits of the bull market's labor, I cam curious to hear what is top of mind for you during this time.
Stay the course but stack a bit more cash?
Delay paying down any low interest loans?
Look into real-estate?
Invest even more aggressively?
For me personally, I have to admit that I wish I had stacked a bit more cash prior to all of this so I had something that felt a bit more real to hold on to as I know it could take a bit for the "paper value" of my investments to increase again.

Would also love any advice to the millennial crowed from our more seasoned investors out there who are not mourning the death of their first bull market.


  • Senior Mustachian
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I'm an "elder millennial" by most definitions :-)
I'm not mourning the death of this bull market... in a way it's a relief to know that all the prognosticating about when it will come to an end will finally come to an end.  It's also nice to be able to buy more shares each month with the same amount of money.

A few things I absorbed from the Great Recession and dot-com bust (which happened right when I was first beginning my savings)

Ignore the talking heads and prognosticators.  Every recession is filled with noise about how THIS TIME IS DIFFERENT!!  Sure, no two situations are alike, but we've survived world wars, cold wars, fascism, genocides, energy crises, and far more just in the last 100 years

When markets are this volatile, concentrate on the number of shares you own in your index fund(s), not the latest purchase price.  Eventually the market will recover, prices will go up, and in the meantime your periodic purchases will buy that many more shares. 

This will change the future in ways that are hard to predict now.  Many of these changes will be for the better, or to reduce the risk of this particular thing happening again.  That is a good thing

The market is not the economy, and the economy is not society.  Remember that when people are predicting "the end of days" - they are talking (in hyperbole) about the market, not the economy or society

Ultimately the economy is a collection of transactions that involve people.  People will need to buy and sell things, and we are a community-driven species.  From every economic crisis a new economy is born, because there can be no other way. 

Our system is hardwired to go through boom-and-bust cycles.  We get overconfident and underprepare during the boom times, and then opportunities crop up during bust cycles that drive the next boom.  Correlation:  an absurdly large number of wildly successful startups all began during recessions.  It seems that recessions breed better (or at least more disruptive) businesses, while boom times generate more risky behavior.
just a few things  to consider.

ETA: changed a few words for clarity, grammar.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2020, 12:00:21 PM by nereo »


  • Handlebar Stache
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I'm not morning the death of this bull market... in a way it's a relief to know that all the procrastinating about when it will come to an end will finally come to an end.


I am by no means established or an expert.  I was still in college in '08, so while I *remember* it, by the time I graduated in 2010, I wasn't thinking about how it would affect me.  I started investing in earnest in 2014 and have been waiting for this to come.  I'll admit though that I do watch the talking heads a lot.  I usually get giddy until I remember that other members of my family are concerned about being able to pay their mortgage and their entire industry evaporating (medium-level music industry).

So far, I've done very little.  I have an abundance of cash at present as we are in the middle of some relatively basic home renovations.  My rough calculations suggest I have a couple extra thousand sitting in there, but I hadn't been planning on investing anything extra until I paid for those which - before all this started - would have probably been in May.  They called today to put an indefinite hold on the 2nd of 3 projects, so we'll see.  Maybe if it drops another 20% I'll throw a conservative amount in to the market, but I'm doing my best to stay with my original plan (job is secure, but we did furloughs in '08).

I do have PMI.  I had been overpaying my mortgage by a small amount and randomly putting extra cash here to get rid of it.  I've stopped doing this.

I sit on Redfin a lot just to look and I'll contemplate real estate if it gets super bad.  I live/work in a college town so there's always ample renters to find, but I don't know if I'd have the right personality for this anyway.


  • Walrus Stache
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I'm not really changing much of anything.  Throw money in the market when I can, keep on keepin' on.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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I graduated college in 2006. Started investing in 2007, then in 2008-09 ended up losing a lot, the fear got me, I sold everything after losing half my money. It was certainly a wake up call. I was pretty scared to invest again for a long time, I Re-entered the market in 2015 and enjoyed 5 years of crazy returns but now things are going bust again. But this time I have a learned from my mistakes and trying my hardest to stay the course. After living through the financial crisis of 08 and a seeing the bull market of the past decade, I do see the light at the end of the tunnel. I always regret not having bought more stocks after things started turning around in 09.

Were all still pretty young and have a long time for our investments to recover. If I had the cash Id certainly buy more stocks right now with A lot of bargains to be found, otherwise Its probably best to not check your portfolio everyday in this climate if you have no plans to buy or sell in the short term. 


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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My only regret is not having saved more cash to invest in stocks and real estate this time around.  I was graduating high school the last time the economy crashed and watched how having the liquidity to move on cheap deals paid off fo those that could afford it. 

As it is, we are increasing our retirement contributions as much as we can afford to currently and looking at buying some land nearby. 

Those of us with a long time horizon are best positioned to benefit the most.  Buy stocks and stack them deep. 


  • Pencil Stache
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I did a little tweaking around the edges by going slightly more aggressive in my tax deferred account and more conservative in my taxable accounts. Those taxable accounts include my EF plus savings to purchase real estate in 2021 and 2022, so even though they were conservatively invested, the volatility was giving me heartburn. OTOH I was pumped at the longer term opportunity for my tax deferred accounts and rotated more into equities.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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I think I'm also considered an older millennial.

I graduated college in 2007 and was only making about $19k at my first full-time job, so I put $50 in my IRA each month and whatever was mandatory in my work accounts each paycheck and didn't really pay attention to anything going on in the financial world. I don't remember worrying about 2008, but probably bc my investments were so very minimal.

Fast forward to finding MMM and getting better jobs/raises, my husband and I diligently save more than we spend and are on our way to FIRE.  We hold between $7-10k in our liquid emergency savings, bc of all the reasons found on this forum.

So to answer the question, the recent events are going to change one big thing for us.  I want to keep more in an emergency fund, like to the tune of $25-30k.  Our jobs are relatively stable (although DH is in the hotel industry, yikes right now) and we keep our expenses low, but there is just something comforting about a giant pile of cash.


  • Pencil Stache
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With a long horizon, the part that it's making us more cognizant of is our budget. We've been seeing the benefits of not eating out at all, not drinking, not driving, doing more home improvements myself. I'm not trying to time Covid or the market, I'm trying to use this isolation to further discipline myself to be better positioned for when it's safe to pursue more outside activity.


  • Stubble
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At this point I think most of the good stuff has been said.   BUT IF you were interesting in real estate or some other type of investing that is suffering right now begin investing in that so you can take advantage of the eventual rise.

For the record not thinking crypto, cause that's not an investment, well aware my fellow millennials will disagree.  Don't care. 

Otherwise, yea stay the course.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Millennials- Any advice/strategies in addition to "staying the course"
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2020, 10:45:20 AM »
Understand the difference between a correction (1-6 months) and a bear market (often years).

December 2018: Correction
2015-16 Oil Bust: Correction
1998 LTCM Meltdown: Correction

Tech bubble collapse 2000-2004: Bear
Housing bubble collapse 2007-2009: Bear (barely)
1970's - early 80's stagflation: Bear (and a decade long bear)

If one jumps into* a bear market too early, one suffers losses. If one waits too long with a correction, one misses the sale. I tend to think COVID-19 will be a bear due to asset overvaluation (as in 2000, 2008) and a sustained period of reduced productivity that can't be quickly resolved like LCTM or a trade war.

*alters one's asset allocation in a bullish direction, speeds up investment, or buys stock with debt


  • Senior Mustachian
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Re: Millennials- Any advice/strategies in addition to "staying the course"
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2020, 11:23:27 AM »
...the hard part of course is knowing how long the downturn will last. 
(Hint:  You can never tell until after the fact, it always feels horrible when it starts, and there are always prophets-of-doom saying "this is the end of the world!")


  • Senior Mustachian
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Re: Millennials- Any advice/strategies in addition to "staying the course"
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2020, 11:28:46 AM »
Be happy you're just starting investing, and are not seeing 12 years of gains being wiped out.  :P


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Millennials- Any advice/strategies in addition to "staying the course"
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2020, 12:34:04 PM »
First:  if your family is safe and your job is safe and you have the income/assets to see this through, you should be happy as hell that the market has crashed.  The best possible scenario for  your long-term finances is if the market is down for a very long time as you are accumulating assets (so you get more assets per dollar spent), and then goes on a huge run before you FIRE. 

Second:  if this crash is revealing gaps in your financial plan -- like maybe your job is more economy-dependent than you realized, or maybe you are worried about healthcare coverage if you get infected -- make a plan to address those gaps.  That does not mean "sell everything now."  But it means maybe re-doing your budget to allocate more to your EF once you are through the immediate cash crunch, or sucking it up on the cost of decent medical insurance if you don't have it, etc. 

Third and finally:  remember this.  Don't buy "this time it's different."  It's always "different" -- as often as we screw up as a society, the good news is that we tend to make new mistakes (or somewhat new mistakes) instead of continuing to repeat the old ones exactly.  And yet no matter how much we change, the one constant is that the market is occasionally going to get completely spooked by something (real, imagined, or real-but-overly-hyped) and crater for some period of time.  And when the market then comes back around and you comfortably settle into a new bull market, it's easy to forget the fear and magnitude of the losses; when you tell yourself that this is a one-off black-swan event, you can persuade yourself that the same crash isn't going to happen again, and that you can therefore safely start investing more aggressively when the market is roaring.  Until the next crash hits, and you remember all the bad stuff that you vowed never to forget the last time the market crashed.  That, in turn, leads to panic selling when asset prices are low and greedy buying when asset prices are high.  So find something you can anchor to now -- something that will help you remember the fear and uncertainty you are feeling right at this very moment.  That will help you resist the greed when things start popping sky-high again and maintain an even keel. 

The goal is to have a reasonable plan that protects your downside risk while capturing enough of the upside of a good market, and then to execute that plan calmly and rationally instead of reacting emotionally.


  • Bristles
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Re: Millennials- Any advice/strategies in addition to "staying the course"
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2020, 04:43:59 PM »
I'm not doing much differently. If anything, this crisis is confirming that we've made a lot of good decisions and lifestyle changes over the past few years.

We already buy food in bulk on sale, and cook most meals at home. So staying in hasn't affected our expenses or lifestyle too much.

I'm already investing and saving a lot. I have a steady, secure job so am buying as much as humanely possible right now. We don't expect to lose our jobs but if we do, it'll be ok. We have several years' worth of expenses in NW at this point.

A few years ago I thoroughly researched and pursued a new career to get more financial stability and a better lifestyle. Turns out that working in IT, we are actually seeing an increase in business and working from home is normal, so it is basically full steam ahead for the company. If I were still waiting tables, our financial situation would not be so rosy right now.

One of the best anecdotes I learned from my time as a trader is:

"The three best traders I ever knew were Shoulda, Coulda, and Woulda!"

If you had a time machine, sure, you could have held more cash. At this point who cares? You can't change the past. Learn some lessons, move on, tweak the process if necessary.