Miami real estate agent Karen Hollihan remembers the stock market crash all too well. This was happening daily. Once, I just broke down and cried.
What saved her was cutting costs to an absolute minimum and rigorous book-keeping of every single expense and upcoming bill. Seeing my mom pinch pennies, keep the air conditioning off to save money, and suffer from anxiety was a wake up call.
As a freelance writer living in one of the most expensive cities in the country, I'm already painfully aware of how important it is to stay on top of my finances. But with investors predicting the next stock market crash sometime in the next few years, I decided to talk to some experts to find out what I can do now to prepare for the next downturn.
While many young people like me have only just begun to invest and are essentially living from one paycheck to the next, we can protect ourselves from being completely destitute when the economy goes topside. Eliminating debt should be a top priority. That's because if you lose your job or investment income in a recession you're likely to rack up even more bills.
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Instead of obsessing over cryptocurrencies or promising medical marijuana companies , broaden your financial horizons. The general idea is to have a mix of stocks and bonds—index mutual funds or ETFs are the easiest way to get that—as well as some international investments, which you can get the same way.
Even a big hit in the next couple years will look like a blip on the radar a decade or two from now. This plummet represents the biggest year-to-year downturn since , and the fourth consecutive month of steady decline.
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Looking at this in perspective, things may not be as grim as they appear. The first quarter of last year saw the release of multiplatform blockbuster Grand Theft Auto IV , with the absence of a game of this magnitude in going some way to explain the discrepancy in year-to-year sales.
As Frazier explained, it will likely only take one major release or console cost reduction to kick-start the retail cycle. As it happens, we have Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 in the pipeline, which has racked up impressive presales despite a steep retail cost, and with the long-promised PlayStation 3 price drop on the horizon, the gaming economy could soon receive the shot in the arm it so badly needs.
Software sales may have fallen, but gameplay has emerged unscathed. According to a recent study by Nielsen Media Research, gamers are shunning the allure of costly outdoor activities and investing more time than ever into their home consoles. We don't believe hardcore gamers are driving up the usage averages we've observed.
Second, gamers may be looking to stretch their entertainment dollar further through playing games they own more.
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The pre-owned games market has reaped the rewards of this. While high street stores' profit margins have taken a nose dive, independent games retailers are experiencing something of a boom, with part-exchange proving to be many customers' favoured form of transaction.
Although the second-hand market has its fair share of critics within the business, few can deny that it's a highly effective method of cost-cutting during times when bank statements become a daunting read. The importance of independent retailers during times of economic hardship is undeniable, but for those who scoff at the notion of cast-offs, another viable option is budget games and free-to-download titles, which have never been in richer supply thanks to the rise of digital distribution.
If you don't already own a PS3, now is arguably the worst time to buy one. The system is priced higher than all of its current-generation counterparts and the long-rumoured price cut could come at any time. But for those who do pack the hardware, there are plenty of credit crunch-busting titles available online via the PlayStation Store. Complete with some inventive motion controls and a downloadable expansion that enables online multiplayer action, this is one shooter that provides plenty of bang for no more than a few bucks.
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Anyone seeking a little more substance might consider some of the PSOne classics currently on offer. Signs that Sony has begun to deliver on its promise to make more games from its back catalog available via PSN are beginning to emerge. If you're not one for nostalgia but have no more than a tenner to spend, then the recently-released Battlefield will bring endless hours of authentic frontline multiplayer escapades, despite being somewhat light on content.
Xbox Live Arcade might carry a vexing subscription cost, but there can be no better way to save a few pennies and simultaneously support the industry from the ground up than investing in Xbox Live Indie Games. Formerly known as Xbox Live Community Games, these independent titles were recently given a pricing overhaul, enabling budding developers to sell their wares for less.
For PC owners, the internet is jam-packed with high quality free-to-download titles. Point-and-click adventure games have made a comeback of late, so why not try AGD Interactive's exceptional remakes of Sierra golden age titles? Innovatively reimagined versions of King's Quest and Quest For Glory are currently available completely free of charge on via the homebrew developer's official website. In addition to these, cyberspace also plays host to a wealth of abandonware, forgotten classics no longer protected under copyright law.
Log onto abandonia. Nintendo's Virtual Console service may not host as much quality homebrew content as the likes of XBLA, but nostalgic gamers can enjoy a trip down memory lane on a shoestring budget. SNES and Genesis titles offer more substance at a steadily increasing cost, but the jewel in the online storefront's crown is arguably N64 milestone The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time , which is surely the bargain of the decade at just 1, Nintendo Points. While the recession's impact on the gaming industry is incontrovertible, there's no reason to panic just yet.
First and foremost, recent sales figures must be viewed in context.
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