As millennials, we’ve learned about money the hard way. From the Great Recession to stratospheric student loan debt to a pandemic, there’s been no shortage of life giving us lemons.

While the long-term economic effects of the pandemic are yet to be fully realized, you may have noticed one positive trend in the short term: For once, your debt may have dropped.

Credit card balances fell by $76 billion April through June, the steepest decline on record, according to an analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Research by NerdWallet backed that up, finding that credit card balances carried from one month to the next dropped 9.15%, or more than $600 per household with this type of debt. Overall household debt shrank by nearly $1,000 among households carrying any type of debt in the same period.

If stimulus checks, paused student loan payments and sticking close to home

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While it’s never been more clear how much is out of our control, you can still take steps to improve your financial stability. And it’s not just about cash flow.

FIND YOUR IDEA OF STABILITY

Financial stability is both a state of money and a state of mind, says Ed Coambs, a certified financial planner and certified financial therapist near Charlotte, North Carolina.

On the money side, stability is straightforward. “You have a budget, you know where your money is going, and you know how much you should be saving to meet your bigger goals,” Coambs says.

“What’s a little harder is

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This has been a year that the investment community won’t soon forget. We’ve witnessed incredible lows, with the benchmark S&P 500 losing over a third of its value in under five weeks, and monumental highs, with the index recouping all of its losses to hit fresh new highs in less than five months.

If history has taught us anything, it’s that any sizable correction in the stock market is a buying opportunity, as long as you have a long-term mindset. That’s because every stock market correction in history has eventually been erased by a bull market rally. The longer your time horizon, the bigger the potential gains. That’s why it’s so important for millennial investors to put their money to work in the stock market.

But there’s a big difference between buying quality stocks and throwing darts. While I’m encouraged to see millennials investing in equities, I’m also worried about

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If you’re saving for your first home, there’s no shortage of advice out there — some of it questionable, even if you do have an avocado toast habit. Still, it’s true that your down payment may be the biggest check you ever write.

But once you move in, it’s also true that the cash tends to just keep flying out of your bank account like that money-with-wings emoji. If you drain your savings on closing day, you’ll have to delay furnishings or repairs, to say nothing of less-pressing cosmetic changes.

A sizable cash cushion makes the cost of owning a home more manageable. But even if you lack that cushion, it helps to at least know what to expect and what else you may need to finance or start saving for again. Here’s what I learned.

1. THINGS WILL BREAK

I’ve lost count of the handymen, electricians and plumbers who

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Nowadays, it’s not just celebrities who wear high-end clothing and accessories. The influencers filling your social media feed likely wear them, too.

Millennials love buying luxury names, according to Thomai Serdari, academic director of the Fashion & Luxury MBA at NYU Stern School of Business and brand strategist at Brand(x)Lux.

Some younger people are environmentally or socially conscious and invest in higher-end labels, buying one quality item that lasts for years or spending more money for a brand with a mission they believe in. Others simply want to treat themselves to a premium handbag, watch or pair of shoes every once in a while.

“They like to be seen and they like to be photographed on Instagram carrying all the big names,” Serdari says. “Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Prada and all these luxury brands.”

Here are a few ways to save money on products from some of the most sought-after labels.

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You may not have started 2020 thinking about a move. But like it or not, many of us have had to reconsider our living situations during the pandemic.

Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who can now work remotely, or maybe you’re out of a job like millions of others. You may be wondering whether living where you are is really worth it anymore.

Before you decide to relocate, you have many things to consider: the cost of living, proximity to your loved ones — and whether you’ll need a winter coat. Here’s how to go about making the decision to move.

FIGURE OUT YOUR PRIORITIES

For some, moving home is the obvious choice, whether “home” is the town you grew up in or where your family lives now. For others, it can be hard to zero in on a particular place, especially if your loved ones are scattered

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The Great Recession demolished jobs across the U.S., and it eventually came for mine, too. After graduating in 2009, I worked four months as an entry-level executive assistant at a nonprofit before being laid off.

I had limited financial knowledge, a short work history and a lot to prove to break into the field of journalism, my ultimate goal. Along the way, I picked up valuable lessons that might help you manage your finances during the coronavirus-related recession.

1. SAVE WHAT YOU CAN

My short work history disqualified me from receiving unemployment benefits, so I relied on my savings account. Even a small emergency fund of $500 can prevent you from falling into debt, and I had socked away enough to cover a few months of expenses.

If you’re still employed, “pay yourself first,” said Samuel Deane, a financial planner at Deane Financial in New York. “Even if it’s $20

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a group of people on a stage: Ruben Gutierrez Ferrer/Shutterstock


© Ruben Gutierrez Ferrer/Shutterstock
Ruben Gutierrez Ferrer/Shutterstock

  • The stock market’s youngest participants traded more often and with heightened risk appetites as the coronavirus slammed the economy, according to survey data from E-Trade.
  • More than half of investors younger than 34 said their risk tolerance increased throughout the pandemic. Only 28% of the general population said the same, according to E-Trade.
  • Forty-six percent of Gen Z and millennial investors said they traded derivatives more frequently over the period, compared to just 22% of the general population doing so. Risky assets including options have seen volumes spike as young traders capitalize on strong volatility and slashed fees.
  • “Access to the market has never been easier,” Chris Larkin, managing director of trading and investment product at E-Trade, said, adding that research and strategy remain crucial for new investors.
  • Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.

The US’s youngest investors took on more

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