If you have been a client of Mike Berry or Linda Eden-Wallace, you’ve probably seen pictures in their office of a blonde-haired, little girl. Well, that little girl is now almost 23, just about one year out of college, and is officially taking over the blog with her boyfriend for this update!

My dad asked my boyfriend, Brian List, and I if we would like to write a blog about how this event with COVID-19 is affecting those of us who have recently started our careers and moved into the “adult” world. Before we get into that though, we thought we would start by introducing ourselves.

I graduated from CU Boulder with a degree in Anthropology and Political Science in May of 2019. Brian also graduated from CU Boulder with a degree in Molecular Biology. We now live in Lakewood with our cat, Vlad. Many of you who know my father know that his main calling in life is to provide people with security and safety. He does this mainly through financial advising, but at age 10, I got to witness my dad’s desire to provide safety and security expand to providing kids with backpacks full of food on the weekends. I guess watching Kids Aid start and become what it is today inspired me because I ended up following in my dad’s footsteps into the field of nonprofit development. I am currently the program coordinator for a small non-profit in Denver that teaches self-defense classes called IMPACT Personal Safety of Colorado.

Even though I may not have followed my dad into financial advising, I did reap the benefits of having not one, but two financial advisors in my family. I grew up with three jars which were labeled: Savings, Church, Kayla. With these three jars I learned that 10% of my money went into savings, 10% went to the church, and the remaining 80% was there for me to spend how I wanted/needed. This has expanded over the years with learning to budget, manage my income, and create my own financial goals. I believe this knowledge has spread over to Brian and that is what has allowed us to enter into the stage we are at now with relative peace, something that I feel most people my age cannot say.

Now, to explain our current situation in light of this pandemic that has turned our world topsy-turvy. Brian is currently not working due to COVID-19. Luckily, I am able to work from home with my job at IMPACT. However, due to this being a small nonprofit, that job is not full time. We have a small amount of debt in student loans that we had planned to pay off in the next couple of months, but now, with interest accumulating and income doing the opposite, we aren’t so sure. Now we are starting to look more like your typical, recent, college graduates.

With a pandemic in the world, it has shown that our most essential workers (delivery drivers, grocery store clerks, nurses, etc.), are now putting themselves at risk of a painful and potentially deadly virus. Many of them are getting paid minimum wage. Something that, especially in a city like Denver, is hardly livable anyway. Many people have these jobs because the job market is hard enough to enter into, particularly being fresh out of college.

It is a time with a lot of changes. Brian and I have been full time in the workforce for less than a year and are experiencing a disruption, preventing us from settling into what we are supposed to do for the next 40 years of our lives. Being remote, when not even used to being on-site yet, presents all sorts of new challenges, not only as a worker but as a couple. However, one thing I feel thankful for, being young and new to all of this, is that adaptability tends to be our generation’s forte. We haven’t been in the game long enough to have developed deep routines, at least not to the extent of people who have 20-30 years under their belt.

For our generation, things like increasingly deadly natural disasters, the largest refugee population the world has ever seen, racial disparity, and economic inequality are consistently in the back of our heads. Millennials only hold 3% of the total wealth in America and will have to be the generation that combats the ramifications of these issues head-on. However, the lack of wealth we have directly affects the power that we are able to wield, so we must come up with new ways to create change. We are learning to build and organize our communities around these issues. We are creating art and music. We are going and talking to strangers and trying to build connections. This isn’t a new idea. Grassroots campaigns, like Kids Aid, have been created before to help provide aid to the sociopolitical ramifications of wealth disparity. We trend less towards supporting capitalism in its traditional sense because we have never had a lot of capital, and we may never have the capital that older generations do because the number of jobs that pay enough to allow us to save up isn’t enough to match the number of us moving into the workforce.

I see many of my friends talk about how, while this virus is terrible, it can be a breath of literal fresh air. We see pollution down and wildlife returning. We may be going stir crazy while quarantining, but we hope that when we come out of this, people will have had a realization that it’s not about stopping what we have been doing but progressing forward with fresh ideas that can appease both self-fulfillment and the economy. We are hoping that this virus will push communities back together. We are hoping that people will see what has happened and at least say, “let’s try something new.”

At my job with IMPACT, we are adjusting to try to market our personal safety courses online, while in the past they were entirely run in person. We are having to adapt. There are jobs that will be lost permanently to this virus, but there will also be jobs made. It is a turning point.

Our generation has always been good at adapting; we have been through two “once in a generation” economic collapses. We are old enough to remember the devastating effects of 9/11, the Great Recession, and now, COVID-19. We have seen people lose, and we have seen people bounce back. I have no doubt that we will have that kind of resiliency, and the kind of vision that only newbies can possess to maybe, just maybe, dream of a better normal to return to.

These are the opinions of Kayla Berry and not necessarily those of Cambridge, are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed or acted upon as individualized investment advice.

Mike Berry is a Registered Representative offering securities through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advisor Representative, Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Legacy Wealth Management, LLC and Cambridge are not affiliated. Cambridge does not offer tax advice.

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