Has the U.S. economy hit bottom or not? It’s too early to tell. But the markets and exchange traded funds (ETFs) are moving up, the jobless rate is improving, government programs have boosted the housing and auto markets. As things are under repair, it’s always worth looking back to see where we can learn some lessons.

Phillip Moeller for Smart Money reports that there are six major lessons to be learned from this recession:

  • The experts are not the end all, be all. The trust in financial institutions and leaders will not be restored for some time. All of the kind words from banks, brokerages and real estate companies didn’t amount to much when crunch time arrived. Make sure to protect yourself with an entry and exit strategy, instead of relying on the predictions of others.
  • Learn how to budget, and live within it. Make a household budget and watch where your money is going. This is a good way to get a handle on spending and to help downsize if need be.
  • Learn how to negotiate. Make sure that you do not have to pay full price. For most products and services, including home improvement, the consumer is in the drivers seat.
  • Actively manage your own investments. As you may have learned from the past market meltdown, buy-and-hold isn’t foolproof. Passive investing is the way of the past. To brush up on your trend following skills, educate yourself. The ETF Trend Followng Playbook is a simple and effective place to begin.
  • Forget about housing wealth. Even a few years of solid increases in home values could bring on mass amnesia. Do not depend upon housing wealth for a retirement or even appreciation. Housing gains are only a cushion, nothing more.
  • Stay healthy, both mentally and physically. People who exercise feel better and think better. Remember that exercise is free and bad health can cost you a small fortune.
  • To this we’d add: Brush Up. Brush up on what you need to know to be successful in the markets. If you’ve taken a beating, dust yourself off, pull yourself up by the bootstraps and examine where you are now, your strategy, how you’re feeling and what you can do to improve. Looking inward can only benefit you.

For more stories about trend following, visit our trend following category.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.

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