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Gimme Shelter - How to Survive the Housing Slump (Page 2)

SDSU financial experts offer tips to ease financial strain in an economic downturn.
Source: Realtytrac 2007
Source: Realtytrac 2007 "U.S. Foreclosure Market Report"

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SDSU experts share advice

When the foreclosure rate jumps and big bank losses make the news, you can be sure SDSU finance professors are discussing it in their classes.

“I tell my students that it is a bad time for the real estate market but it is a very good time for them to learn from others’ mistakes and get prepared for their future career,” said An, who teaches real estate finance. “Second, I teach them business ethics so maybe in the future we can avoid another mortgage market nightmare, like this one caused partially by shady lending.”

Even if none of Varaiya’s students turns out to be the next Federal Reserve chair, he says they can positively impact the economy by applying their financial education to make wise choices as consumers.

“I hope that we are teaching our students – as consumers and as people who may some day work in the finance industry – to be fiscally responsible,” Varaiya said. “I hope it would not be an SDSU finance graduate who sees these teaser loans and throws caution to the wind.”

With this advice from SDSU economists and alumni, you too can safeguard your money, relieve the financial strain and get back on track if you find yourself unemployed or about to be.

  • Get back to basics. “Be prudent in your expenditure patterns. With respect to assets and the stock market, don’t rush into any decisions about getting in or out. It’s impossible to predict the markets on a short-term basis, and most investments pan out over the long term.” – Nikhil Varaiya, SDSU finance professor
  • Ease your tax burden. “If your property value has significantly decreased from your purchase price, apply to have your property taxes reduced under Proposition 8. There are firms that will do it for you for a few hundred bucks, but it took me about 30 minutes to do it online myself.” – Dan Seiver, SDSU finance professor
  • Monitor your spending. “Use the services that you are paying for or cancel them. For example, if you're not using your gym membership, cancel it. If you're not using most of the minutes on your cell phone calling plan, downgrade to a less expensive plan. Remember that you're spending after-tax dollars for personal expenses. Mid-range taxpayers need to earn about $1.50 for every dollar they spend on personal expenses. So to buy that $3 latte at Starbucks you might need to earn $4.50. – Jean Sinclair, College of Business Administration alumna and managing member of Avenue Advisors, LLC
  • Take advantage of public programs. “San Diego has a wonderful career center network. They offer job search assistance, resume writing, interview skills and access to computers. They have connections with employers so they can find jobs that aren’t listed and get you back to work quickly.” – Cheryl Mason, College of Arts and Letters alumna and SANDAG senior project manager (formerly with the California Employment Development Department)
  • Get credit while you can. “Establish a home equity line of credit as an emergency cash source while you are still employed; you probably won't qualify for one if you don't have a job, which might be when you really need access to cash.” – Jean Sinclair
  • Get creative. “Remember, even the Depression ended eventually, and we're hardly in that bad shape yet. One of the most important skills workers need today is flexibility. Figure out how you can apply that degree in 14th century French philosophy to the business world to pay your rent. Learn how to translate the skills you do have to fit the job opportunities that are available. Creativity and optimism can help you turn even the worst setback to your advantage.” – Rick Brooks, College of Business Administration alumnus and a vice president of Blankinship & Foster, LLC

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