Bears, bulls and the dreaded ‘R’ word

Gen-Ys are about to enter unfamiliar territory. Here are some tips to survive that dark woods of bears. MICHAEL PHILLIPS

Michael Phillips

By Michael Phillips

Gen-Ys don’t know pain and I mean real pain. The sort of financial pain where you have to cut back on the spray tans, stay in your job for longer than six months and actually work for your money.

Yes, my tongue is planted firmly in my cheek, but it’s true – we’ve had it easy, and now we’ll see who survives the onslaught. But don’t panic, it’s not the end of the world, and life hasn’t really changed – you just need to prepare yourself and be smart about your future.

As with all upturns, there is inevitably a downturn and hopefully a short one before the upturn continues. This one however, feels a bit more serious than a “short-term correction”. All the signs are pointing to a prolonged downturn and challenging times for all, so whether you’re a bull or bear, it doesn’t really matter, it’s time to hibernate and store all your belongings for a long cold winter.

Here are a few ideas to prepare for the hibernation for those Gen-Y bears in unfamiliar territory:

  • Debt – not the time to be buying cars, plasmas or “bling-bling”. Save your money, pay down debt and consolidate for the inevitable opportunities that will arise over the next 18 to 24 months.
  • Health – don’t watch CNN, Bloomberg or any other news broadcast for that matter, it will only result in increased stress and doomsday predictions. Buy (or borrow as it’s cheaper) a book and lose yourself in that. Otherwise, go for a run, it’s free and good for you.
  • Holidays – the dollar is down so it’s time to see Australia. I hear Wagga is nice this time of year…
  • Friendship – stay away from financial conversations at the dinner table, that’s bound to end up in misery. Talk about the lack of rain instead, that’ll make for a wonderful evening.
  • Necessities – we only need to eat 1500 to 2000 calories a day, sleep eight hours and drink 1.5 litres of water. Anything else is an extravagance, including clothing… (uh oh, that puts me out of business – see bio below).
  • Alcohol consumption – against all health recommendations this should actually increase during these times. It’ll make the credit card debt, car loan and Louis Vuitton bag seem justifiable.

But seriously; recessions, bear markets and even depressions do not last forever. So do your best to prepare for hibernation so that when the inevitable “summertime” arrives you can take full advantage.


Michael Phillips is a 30-year old CPA managing a business full of Gen-Ys. He’s the commercial manager of Cremorne Group which wholesales and retail mens and womens apparel, including the Tommy Hilfiger, Blazer and Perri Cutten brands. He offers his experience as a pioneering Gen-Y managing Gen-Ys, covering issues such as how to recruit, retain and get the most out of Gen-Y – the notoriously difficult younger generation of employees aged 15 to 30.

 For more Managing Gen-Y blogs, click here.



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