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Coronavirus: Millennials facing second financial crisis in 2 decades

Millennials facing second financial crisis in 2 decades
WATCH: Millennials -- people between the ages of 20 and 40 -- are facing a second financial crisis in two decades.

Millennials are facing the second financial crisis in two decades, presenting monumental challenges to those who are now trying to buy a house.

Hundred of thousands of Canadians lost their jobs because of the novel coronavirus pandemic and last week the new governor of the Bank of Canada said some of those jobs won’t come back, echoing the 2008 financial crisis.

Millennials — people between the ages of 20 and 40 — are at a critical time in their financial development, said Moshe Lander, an economist at Concordia University.

Read more: Canada’s unemployment rate reaches record 13.7%

Lander says it can take years for someone to recover the income they lost in the early stages of their career.

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“You really could be talking about almost like half of your working life to just try to make back the damage that’s been done,” he said, speaking over Zoom from Montreal.

He said the solution — for anyone facing the uncertainty brought by COVID-19 — is to save money.

Financial planner Janea Dieno told Global News she has young clients who saw what could happen in 2008 if they don’t have savings.

Read more: Australia suffers from worst recession in 30 years as coronavirus recovery begins

“I’ve had quite a few millennials wanting to do first-time home purchases,” she said.

“So now they’re looking at their tax-free savings account and their RRSPs… and wanting to take that money and make a down payment on a house.”

Mira Trebilcock was attending a university north of Chicago when she saw the effects of the 2008 financial crisis.

“There were a lot of people that were hard hit by the crash,” she told Global News.

“And then some of the students I went to school with, whose parents were really gravely affected. That affected obviously their ability to continue (with their education).”

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Trebilcock said she had always saved her money, a habit reinforced by her parent’s encouragement.

Read more: IMF warns of a second stock market correction after grim economic forecast

She is one of many millennials who witnessed the financial crisis and who are now focusing on securing their own future.

Facebook groups with names like “Personal Finance for Canadian Millennials” or “Millennial Finance” provide members with a space to share information and strategies about saving money.

Two years ago, Trebilcock bought her first house, in Regina, which she attributes to being conscientious about her money.

“You realize how informed you have to be in terms of investing and what to invest in, what mutual funds are and which ones to place your money in.”