Do you feel more prepared having lived through 2008?

by J. Money -

colorful clocks

Caught this stat in my draft folder and it hit me harder re-reading it now than it did in November!

From a survey by real estate investing startup, Concreit:

“Over half of millennials feel “more prepared” for next recession having lived through 2008″

Over half! Not bad!

It would be interesting to see how these same people are feeling NOW as we’re currently in the thick of things (want to re-poll them, Concreit? :)), but regardless it’s a promising thing to see…

Had me asking whether I myself feel more prepared than back then too, which I can thankfully answer a hearty YES too since I’ve been obsessed with this stuff for the past 12 years now! There’d be a big problem if I *didn’t* feel prepared at this point! haha… (though not hard to beat where we were in 2008 considering we had just bought a house with no money down or no real budget or savings ;) Thanks for saving me, blog community!! And for giving me a much more fulfilling job too!!)

Hopefully y’all are finding yourself just as prepared too? Even though it’s still a bit unnerving out there?

Here’s another clip that was refreshing to see from the survey:

“Nearly 50% of millennials (ages 32-38) are actively cutting back on spending and building an emergency fund to prepare for a recession. Only 20% report that they aren’t doing anything now.”

YES! Awesome!! A great way of feeling more confident in times of uncertainty! Those 20%’ers are in for it!

And then lastly here were the top 3 *regrets* millennials listed from the ’08 days:

  1. Overall lack of financial knowledge/preparedness
  2. Not taking advantage of investing opportunities
  3. Not building enough of an emergency fund

Overall knowledge — Pretty important, no doubt, but the base of everything people already know! You literally just have to SPEND LESS THAN YOU EARN! Not that complicated, but hard as $hit to actually implement. You really have to want it bad enough to carry through… From there it’s the details.

Taking advantage of investing opportunities — Want to know the best time to invest since 2008? 2020 :) You’ll never be able predict rock bottom, but with the major discounts already the opportunities sure are looking pretty! And there’s plenty of other options galore too if the stock market isn’t your thing… Like real estate investing which a lot of people make their wealth from!

Emergency Fund – Important in all times, however a lot more important during true emergencies… Like right now for some people with this pandemic! Though the silver lining? For once you don’t have to feel *guilty* for using it! Lol… It’s literally a state of emergency! :) (Too soon?)

Moral of the story: the more you do now, the better off you’ll be later – recessions or no recessions.

I hope so bad you were one of the 50% preppin’ and saving!!

Never too late to start if not!

UPDATE: Ran a quick Twitter poll to see where our audience here lies, and the results were pretty similar! Even more so if you take out the “I was just a kid back then” responses ;)

twitter poll recession

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PS: Some of the things we were blogging about back in 2008… pretty eerie how things are circling around!

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dave @ Accidental FIRE March 23, 2020 at 5:14 am

I lived through both the dotcom crash of 2000 and 2008, and was heavily invested during both. And yes, of course I feel more prepared. Actually I’m not worried about my money at all right now. I have zero anxiety in that realm, I’m just worried about the health of older people in my family

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2 J. Money March 23, 2020 at 7:30 am

Damn good position to be in, man.

Def. scary out there for the older gen right now :(

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3 Christine March 23, 2020 at 8:04 am

This is funny because my husband and I just had a talk last night about being prepared.

I’m a Gen-Xer, and I pretty much graduated college during a recession too…with a liberal arts degree in English and was trying to be in writing/journalism, I.e. things that don’t pay well. And I grew up with a feeling of being on edge financially…my dad was self-employed and had lean years. The primary financial education I got was don’t spend more than you have, try to get the most value out of what you buy, and if you have to use credit, get rid of it as soon as you can. All this is a way of saying I was prepared for 2008 too. I was saving 20% of my income in my 401k and was living beneath my means in an apartment that was mostly rent controlled on a month to month lease. I had also been saving 10% of take home income in a savings. There were lay-offs happening all around me and I was on a pay cut. People who had bought at the height of the market, at the top of their approved budget, with an assumption they would be making more soon, and had spouses lose their job, had to take loans out of their retirement to make ends meet. I felt really prepared comparatively. I scaled back on my investing a bit (which in hindsight I shouldn’t have!) so I could keep my lifestyle up. I think it was hard being in the DMV with friends who worked for the Fed, because not everyone was in the same boat. There was the sense the recession was something happening elsewhere.

Now, I’m in a different place. I have a mortgage and haven’t been saving as much. I had a lot of the usual first year of home ownership expenses—furniture, window coverings, repairs. I maxed out my 401k in 2019 but that was about it. I also have a husband…who wasn’t raised with the same money attitudes I was. He also makes significantly less and in a field that cannot be work from home and will soon probably be hard hit (travel). so far, he’s still working but I think it’s a matter of a few weeks until they furlough him. I’m potentially going to be getting a Federal job now…which I am pursuing because of the relative security versus the corporate world—in particular, my real estate-related consulting work. My husband feels unprepared because he never pays attention to finances…I’m hoping this becomes inspiration to both of us to spend less and save more.

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4 J. Money March 23, 2020 at 2:52 pm

Well it’s good you’re here on $$$ blogs now soaking stuff up and more conscious of it all! You were KILLING IT back in 2008! So you know you can get back to that :) (Plus “just” maxing out your 401k alone is already impressive so don’t be too hard on yourself over there… That’s more than 80% of the country does!)

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5 Francis March 23, 2020 at 8:47 am

I stuck my head in the sand during the 2008 meltdown and did not sell. After the dust settled and the recovery started, I went back to add up the paper losses and it was well over $250K. I took a peak at the paper losses this week and it’s about the same. The only difference today is that I have roughly 10 years of living expenses in cash sitting in CDs and MM accounts. I have not figured out what my new market bottom will be before I put some cash back to work.
As long as the banks stay in business and the dollar still exists I’ll ride out another market rout.

I’m disappointed that I’ll have to start all over, yet again, and knocked down a couple of rungs in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. but I’m healthy, capable, alive and sheltering in place until this storm passes.
I don’t have to depend on the market for my needs. I use the market for wants and wishes. As always for me, delayed gratification is a good skill set to have.

Stay healthy, wash your hands and stay at home if you can. We have a few more weeks of this before the recovery is measurable.

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6 J. Money March 23, 2020 at 2:55 pm

Never heard it put that way before –

“I don’t have to depend on the market for my needs. I use the market for wants and wishes.”

That’s actually true for everyone who’s not retired if you think about it? None of us are tapping our retirement accounts right now and just living off our incomes, though of course I know that’s not what you mean when you say it :) Gotta be a damn good feeling knowing you’re okay regardless of what the market’s doing, even if it’s not preferable.

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7 Adam March 23, 2020 at 9:23 am

I and mine are in pretty solid shape. Last week my wife got a 5% raise and a nice little bonus, my job is pretty secure, we’re spending a good bit less just because we can’t really get out to do so, and we’re taking care of projects around the house that we’d previously let slide. I get psyched every time another HSA or 401(k) deposit hits and buys that many more shares of VTI or FXAIX. And I’m really glad we renovated our bathroom in January, because little things like heated floors and a tiled shower wall that doesn’t leak are surprising balms.

But we’re concerned about other things. Her retired parents spend every March in Pensacola; they’ve been going to the gym and dining with family and hitting the grocery store 3x/week just to get out of the condo. We really don’t want to inherit any time soon. Normally this time of year we’d be hanging on porches with neighbors sharing growlers… that’s obviously right out. And so, so many people are in bad shape… with the government completely failing to promote the general welfare.

Regardless of how quickly we can stamp out the pandemic, the coming few years are going to be very interesting times.

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8 J. Money March 23, 2020 at 2:58 pm

I know… so many people not taking this seriously and it’s only going to delay things :( Italy’s been warning us for weeks and some people still don’t get it!

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9 Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life March 23, 2020 at 10:26 am

2008 was really good training for me.

I’m actually spending a bit more than normal in making sure we have the supplies we need short (ish) term but it’s ok because I’ve been prepping for this since 2018! We aggressively saved cash every month to make sure we have enough on hand in cash of job loss. I stuck with my ‘one year of emergency cash” rule to avoid inflation eating our lunch while we knew a recession was coming but I also budgeted cash for home maintenance during a recession in the hopes that labor prices will be more affordable. Of course Francis up there has me a little envious of being able to hold TEN years of cash equivalents because the hoarder in me prefers more cash but I needed to break the habit of hoarding

The terrifying thing this time, because we planned really well and are also currently lucky with our jobs (may that last the whole recession and beyond ) unlike in 2008, isn’t the economy for us. We are as ok financially as we can be all things considered and we can help people less fortunate too. The real terror is how many people will get sick and die and among them our healthcare professional family and friends.

I am certainly immunocompromised so I can’t be taking any chances, but I have many loved ones facing this virus head on and I’m so worried for them.

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10 J. Money March 23, 2020 at 3:01 pm

It is 100% different in that way for sure – and you really shouldn’t watch the docuseries on Netflix called “Pandemic” either unless you really want to be freaked out! :) Amazing how spot on they were saying the next pandemic can happen at any time and here’s the fall out from it… So far we’re seeing exactly what they forecasted, but at least now hopefully we’ll all take it more serious for future ones!

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11 J March 23, 2020 at 10:38 am

I definitely feel more prepared than last time. I was still relatively newer to the workforce, and I was working in retail management for a store/area that had become VERY toxic. I actually quit towards the end of 2009 to go back to school and switch industries to accounting (where I should’ve been in the first place in hindsight). Thankfully, I had started hoarding cash in my checking account before I left. I have a tendency of hoarding cash or paying off debt when I am unhappy with my working conditions. We had an emergency savings account, but I never wanted to touch it. The next two years were hard financially, but when I joined the workforce again post-graduation I came out swinging. I kept those financially tight-minded skills longer and paid the student loan I had taken out off in 8 months before working on my smaller mortgage. My husband and I just paid off our larger mortgage last June, so our home is free and clear. We were in the market to buy a house in a better area that would enable more of the life-style we wanted (think direct connections to greenways and sidewalks galore), but that is on hold for now. He works in theater entertainment, but his job is actually quite stable. Mine should be ok, but we are not going to take any chances just yet.

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12 J. Money March 23, 2020 at 3:03 pm

Love that you tend to hoard cash when you’re unhappy – that’s basically the OPPOSITE of what everyone else does in those cases :)

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13 Tonya March 23, 2020 at 10:49 am

I definitely feel more prepared than 2008. But, like you said, that is not hard to beat. I was hot mess in 2008. While I definitely feel more prepared, I also wish I was in an even better position but it’s a journey right? My husband and I are both lucky to be home with pay (semi-working). I am teacher and teaching second remotely is really hard. I am mostly passing resources to parents and tracking them on class accounts wherever possible. My husband still has to go in about half of the time (which is so scary) but he is still getting paid full time. I am worried about his company sustaining that long-term. So we’re feeling a little stressed but not destitute.

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14 J. Money March 23, 2020 at 3:05 pm

I hope it keeps up enough for it all to pass!!

And glad you’re giving your students direction! We haven’t gotten squat yet from our schools and Virginia just announced they’re now officially closed through the rest of the academic year so it’s time to train ourselves, lol…

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15 Tonya March 26, 2020 at 8:11 am

Don’t stress too much. Just keep your kids reading. Think of it as an extra long summer. Teachers will adjust in the fall. They know kids missed the end of the grade before and will compensate.

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16 M March 23, 2020 at 12:02 pm

Absolutely. It’s because of 2008 that I am where I am now. 2008 was brutal and forever damaging for me. I swore to myself I would NEVER go through that again. And since then, I’ve paid off all my credit cards and debts (only mortgage and student loan left). I own my car outright. My credit cards are all paid off and ready to handle this emergency. I have savings in the bank, and investments I can tap if (and only if) it’s absolutely necessary for survival. I have a better job, one where I can actually pay all my bills and save a little too. I made a decision to do everything I could to never be in that fear again. School, books, blogs (like this one!), tenacity – I couldn’t sit still until i felt secure. I sincerely hope that this year is a lesson for young people to save for a rainy day. You just never know when it will rain!

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17 J. Money March 23, 2020 at 3:08 pm

KILLING IT!!!

WAY TO GO!!!!!!

Love to hear this!!

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18 Aaron @ Live Your Wage March 23, 2020 at 2:19 pm

My experience in 2008 was interesting. I had just moved to a new city in 2006 with no job. By 2008 I was employed and largely focused on doing my job well. So much so that I didn’t really pay much attention to the economy and all the financial shenanigans taking place around me.

While an investing novice, all I knew was that putting money in my 401k was a good thing, so I just kept doing that. It wasn’t because I was brilliant or had any knowledge about buying stocks ON SALE! I didn’t know any of that.

But here we sit, some 12 years later, and all that money I was pumping into my 401k and Roth IRA’s in 2008-2011 has compounded nicely for me.

In my case, doing the right thing – and being ignorant of doing anything else – worked out extremely well for me.

I hope there are others out there now that can just keep investing in your work 401k or in a Roth IRA or in a Brokerage Account month after month after month.

Slow and steady wins the race no matter what the market is doing.

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19 J. Money March 23, 2020 at 3:11 pm

Haha yup!! Doesn’t require anything fancy to save up money!! Just gotta be consistent over and over and over (and over AND OVER!) again! Well done over there!

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20 lisa March 23, 2020 at 2:40 pm

We had a 30 yr mortgage in 2008. Now,we own rental properties and have a 401k with secure jobs, even in today’s turbulent climate. As a worrywart, I’m a prepper by nature and didn’t need to run to the supermarket. Sure, the 401k’s are in a nosedive, but our jobs keep us busy. We’re doing ok.

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21 J. Money March 23, 2020 at 3:12 pm

Every last prepper right now is laughing their asses off at everyone who poked fun of them, haha… Y’all were in it for the long game! :)

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22 Steveark March 23, 2020 at 5:49 pm

I just remind myself that I’ll be handing down millions to my kids when my wife and I die of old age someday. If the portfolio goes down a bunch now, I’m not losing my money, I’m losing their money. That makes me feel a lot better!

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23 J. Money March 24, 2020 at 6:15 am

Hahaha…. now that’s good :)

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24 Jeff March 24, 2020 at 10:36 am

Living through 2008 in fear coupled with the knowledge from experience and the blogging community, has tempered my risk tolerance and mind to withstand any storm. I comfortably buy into the bear, set money aside to support my local community and know tons of millennials are doing the same.

I just hope I can impart this wisdom into my son when he gets old enough to understand the world around him. Every generation needs a tempering phase, millennials had at least two now. Time will tell to see what my son has to deal with.

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25 J. Money March 26, 2020 at 6:56 am

We’ll have to make sure our kids are hanging with other smart people too because Lord knows they won’t be listening to their parents for a while! ;)

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26 Bryan March 25, 2020 at 8:34 am

I must say I do miss your Net Worth updates. Not so much for your Net Worth value or mine, or anyone else’s. I just liked the seeing that we’re all on this roller coaster together and how much fun it is. The exiting ups as the car clickety-clacks to a peak and then our stomach goes to our throat as it drops but then it starts its slow climb back up to reach the next peak. And If one of us tries to jump out of the car at the bottom we all lock arms and pull him/her back in.

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27 J. Money March 26, 2020 at 6:57 am

Haha, love it…

Don’t foresee them coming back at any time, but here’s a hint at where we’re at now – under a million dollars :) Was fun while it lasted! lol..

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