There’s always a next recession, so be prepared

Recessions are like natural disasters: They’re inevitable, but smart preparation may reduce the impact on you.

The U.S. economy has grown steadily since emerging from the “Great Recession” in June 2009, but expansions can’t continue forever, and this one is already the second-longest on record. Only the expansion from March 1991 to March 2001 lasted longer.

Recessions occur when growth stops and the economy starts to shrink. They vary in severity and length, but often jobs disappear, incomes decline and lenders make it harder to qualify for credit.

Knowing what may be coming can help you fortify your finances to withstand a possible slowdown. In my latest for the Associated Press, some steps to consider.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to invest during a bear market. Also in the news: Saying goodbye to John Bogle, how to budget for a family trip to Disney, and questions to ask before taking a tax refund advance.

How to Invest During a Bear Market
Strategies to consider.

Why We’ll Miss John Bogle — and His Wealth of Investing Wisdom
Saying goodbye to a legend.

How to budget for a family trip to Disney.
Money for Mickey and friends.

Before Taking a Tax Refund Advance, Ask These Questions
Beware of hidden fees, high interest.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to budget for a family trip to Disney. Also in the news: How to cancel an extended car warranty, investment strategies for 2019, and 5 credit card trends to watch in 2019.

How to Budget for a Family Trip to Disney
Saving money for the Mouse.

How to Cancel an Extended Car Warranty — and Why You Might Want To
An expensive gamble.

Investment Strategies for 2019
Conquring the first quarter.

5 Credit Card Trends To Watch In 2019
Higher interest rates are on the way.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Scrub these expenses from your budget in 2019. Also in the news: 3 simple strategies to max out your 401(k), how your slow cooker saves you money, and unnecessary fees to stop paying in the new year.

Scrub These Expenses From Your Budget in 2019
Hitting reset on your expenses.

3 Simple Strategies to Max Out Your 401(k)
It’s easier than you think.

How Your Slow Cooker Saves You Money
Set it and forget it.

Stop Paying Unnecessary Fees in the New Year
The most common fees and how to avoid them.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Smart ways to rein in holiday spending. Also in the news: Budgeting before Black Friday to prevent costly regrets, why you should check travel prices before Black Friday, and 7 things not to buy on Cyber Monday.

Smart Ways to Rein In Holiday Spending
Keeping your expenses in check.

Budget Before Black Friday to Prevent Costly Regrets After
Don’t go in without a plan.

Check Travel Prices Before Black Friday
You could be missing out on deals.

7 things NOT to buy on Cyber Monday
Not all sales are created equal.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to plan a vacation without getting into debt. Also in the news: How to save money and drive safer by plugging into your car’s computer, 9 expenses to pack in your moving budget, and 3 people show how they got control of their college debt.

How to Plan a Vacation Without Getting Into Debt
Sticking to your budget.

Plug Into Your Car’s Computer to Save Money, Drive Safer
Using the onboard diagnostic panel.

9 Expenses to Pack in Your Moving Budget
Don’t forget the minor details.

3 people, 3 ways of getting control of college debt
What you can learn from their approaches.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 7 air-travel headaches and how to head them off. Also in the news: 5 survival strategies for camping on a budget, 5 steps to officiating at a friend’s wedding, and what 20-somethings need to know about getting their financial lives in order.

7 Air-Travel Headaches and How to Head Them Off
Leave the headaches at home.

5 Survival Strategies for Camping on a Budget
Skip the “glamping.”

5 Steps to Officiating at a Friend’s Wedding
You don’t have to be a professional.

What 20-Somethings Need to Know About Getting Their Financial Lives in Order
Prioritizing is key.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Straightforward answers to your Roth IRA questions. Also in the news: Disney vacation pros share budgeting tips for trips, how to jumpstart your financial plan by ditching this phrase, and what to ask yourself before dipping into your emergency fund.

7 Straightforward Answers to Your Roth IRA Questions
Everything you need to know.

Disney Vacation Pros Dish Up Budgeting Tips for Trips
More money for mouse ears.

Ditch This Phrase and Jump-Start Your Financial Plan
No more dwelling on the past.

What to Ask Yourself Before Dipping Into Your Emergency Fund
Is it really an emergency?

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How debt settlement can make a bad money situation worse. Also in the news: Using an IRA as a legal, last-minute way to lower your taxes, 4 reasons why it’s smart to buy a used cell phone, and how to budget as a freelancer.

Debt Settlement Can Make a Bad Money Situation Worse
Not the perfect solution.

An IRA Is a Legal, Last-Minute Way to Lower Your Taxes
There’s still time for 2017 taxes.

4 Reasons It’s Smart to Buy a Used Cell Phone
Saving on new-to-you tech.

How to Budget as a Freelancer
Budgeting when income isn’t reliable.