NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Fears of a recession have many of us wondering how we prepare for a downturn. Experts say the only hard and fast rule is don’t panic.

It’s nearing the end of the summer of 2019, and many see a dark cloud on the horizon in the form of a recession.

“Since World War II we’ve had recessions every seven years on average,” said David Rubenstein of The Carlyle Group. “We haven’t had one now for 10 years, so we are due for a recession and I think there are some signs we are going to head into one. But you can’t know for certain until you’re actually in it.”

Not all recessions are created equal. The 2001 downturn was relatively short and relatively mild. The “Great Recession” of 10 years ago was longer and far more damaging, and it was made worse by the mortgage crisis and the bursting of a housing bubble.

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“When we get to a new recession, I haven’t seen that kind of bubbly behavior. I haven’t seen runaway asset bubbles, so I don’t expect the next recession to be a severe downturn,” said Jack Hough, associate editor at Barron’s magazine.

Financial adviser Scott Kaplan is telling his clients don’t overreact.

“There is no one hard and fast rule, other than to continue to save,” Kaplan told CBS2’s Tony Aiello on Thursday.

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Kaplan said younger workers will experience multiple recessions and market downturns during their careers.

“Every time that there’s a market pullback we’ve seen that as an opportunity to buy in at a discount, so we look at this from an early-stage investor as more of an opportunistic play than anything else,” Kaplan said.

For workers at their career midpoint, remember, there is often a lag of a year or more between recession signals and the actual start of a downturn.

“Let’s say you’re someone who’s 60% in stocks and 40% in bonds and you keep it cheap with index funds, and that’s the right thing to do for you,” Hough added. “There’s nothing new for you to do here. It’s not time to run and raise cash.”

Workers nearing retirement may want to consider investments not directly tied to stocks or bonds, such as income-producing real estate.

“Whole life insurance that has a cash-value component that does not correlate to the markets, and annuities that can provide a guaranteed stream of income,” Kaplan said.

As always, experts say assess your tolerance for risk and invest accordingly.

The Trump administration says with low unemployment, strong retail sales, and good earnings for big firms such as Walmart, the economy remains on solid ground.


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