Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Opportunity in Adversity

So I was at Disneyland, staying at the Doubletree in Anaheim, and I read USA Today. What can I do?...

Realism and optimism are recession 'musts'

Plain Talk By Al Neuharth, USA TODAY Founder

You're getting all kinds of advice on how to survive this recession. Some is sound. Some is silly.

It's been my good fortune to have lived through 15 recessions and one depression in my 84 years. Based on those experiences, I suggest you not only will survive but ultimately thrive if you practice the proper mix of these two recession "musts":

• Realism.

• Optimism.

Reality is that we've been in a recession since last December, even though it took the National Bureau of Economic Research a year to figure it out. That reality means that if you haven't already done so, you should tighten your belt as much as necessary.

Optimism means you must understand that if you handle this problem properly, you can ride high on the wave of recovery and prosperity that follows every recession.

Tightening your belt does not mean putting money under the mattress. It means spending only what is necessary on necessities and funneling what you can into the future. The sooner the better.

That means investing now in everything worthwhile you can afford. New ideas of your own. New products. The best time to market anything new is during a recession.

We planned and launched USA TODAY during the 16-month recession of 1981-82. Because it was a popular new product, it rode the recovery in the late '80s to become the nation's No. 1 newspaper.

During the current recession, we opened the new NEWSEUM on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. Because it is a popular new product, it will ride the recovery to become the No. 1 must-see attraction in the nation's capital.

If you invest in the future in time of recession, the best of times are ahead of you.
Other views on dealing with the recession:


"Right on, Al. People who keep their cool and invest in a reasonable mix of stocks and bonds will be the ones reaping rewards when the economy rebounds."

— Walter Updegrave, Ask the Expert columnist, CNNMoney.com

"Also, invest your time, to help the people overwhelmed by the recession, and stay positive about the leaders trying to get us out of this mess."

— Jane Bryant Quinn, columnist, Bloomberg.com

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