I’m pleased to announce that young people will weather this depression better than their elders.  I’m not so pleased to admit that we adults have screwed up royally.  We have jeopardized your future in order to protect our own status, and since nobody else seems to be doing so, I’d like to apologize on behalf of all adults to the youth, and thank you for your sacrifice.

Why will young people be okay?  Well, many young people are used to not having any money already.  Many young people who are working in minimum wage jobs will be doing better than many adults who worked in industries that adults believed would make them fabulously and famously wealthy.

Also, many young people I know don’t sit around watching the financial news, they aren’t sweating daily losses in their retirement accounts (mainly because they don’t have retirement accounts), and they haven’t been stupid with overextending themselves in credit and big-ticket purchases.  Yay you!

So, even though the silver in this silver lining is a really dark silver, at least it is there.  As it stands right now, young people are okay, there are some things you should do to make sure you stay okay.

  1. If you have a job, do whatever you can to keep it.
    1. If you don’t have one, do whatever you can to get one.
  2. Start portioning your money with a lot of thought for the future.
    1. First 10% should go to savings
      1. Make sure you have at least six months (although right now, nine to twelve would be a better idea) of expenses in a liquid savings account at a local bank or credit union (preferably one that isn’t in trouble right now)
      2. After that six month cushion, start putting money in longer term accounts so that you can earn some interest (or dividends in the credit union world)
    2. Make sure you have your bills (any bills you have) get paid each month
    3. If you work for a company that offers a retirement plan, invest as much as they will match, or more if you can afford it.
  3. Don’t make a big purchase unless you have to
    1. If you have to make a big purchase, think strongly before you put it on credit.  Save your credit limit and profile for real emergencies for as long as you can.
  4. Invest only in companies you believe in, and don’t sweat daily changes in value.
    1. Invest only after you have built a strong savings base.
    2. Dollar Cost Averaging still makes sense.  What this means is that you invest a set amount on a periodic basis (say once a month, or once a paycheck if possible).  You want to keep this going as long as possible, and consider your investments to be ownership.  Hold on to this ownership as long as you believe in the company that you own.
  5. Learn how to do stuff.  I admit that I suck at fixing cars and working with wood.  There are some opportunities for you to learn how to do things rather than pay other people lots of money to do those things.
  6. Most importantly, learn from the depression last century, and the one we are going through now.  Don’t do to your children and grandchildren what we have done to you.  Make sure you tell the future generations how to save and build wealth so that they may avoid the pain you will see adults going through.
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