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Local financial advisor offers positive spin on economy

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POSTED: December 26, 2008 2:21 p.m.

He may be in the minority with his line of thinking, but local financial adviser Derek Sills isn’t worried about the current recession.

The Heritage Bank’s first vice president/head of financial services told Hinesville Rotarians on Tuesday that a recession is a natural part of the business cycle. According to Sills, people should know what they are dealing with, but don’t let the word "recession" paralyze them with fear.

"There’s a recession about every five years," Sills said. "This is the 33rd recession since 1854. It’s a natural part of our economy. It’s part of the gig."

Although Sills has a calmer-than-most attitude about the recession, he said he isn’t in denial and admits that a slowdown is occurring.

"I don’t get a suspended reality. I talk with clients about it every day," he said.

Sills also acknowledged the unique circumstances surrounding new issues and policies regarding bailouts, real estate and credit cards. He said he often hears fearful clients tell him, "This time is different."

According to Sills, each recession has a unique set of problems and complications.

He said he saw similar fear of a depression after 9/11, and when the millennium approached.

Using football as an analogy, he gave one piece of advice to help people or businesses survive the current recession: "Stick to the fundamentals. Fundamentals are what make you successful."

According to Sills, who said he got the advice from a wealthy grandfather, there are three keys to accumulating and maintaining wealth. The most imperative is the first one.

"Pay yourself first," he said, referring to putting money in the bank. "We’re so quick to pay everybody else, to pay the cell phone company, the credit card company. You’ve got to pay yourself first."

The second, he said, is to buy what the wealthy buy. By this he means real estate, stocks and other assets.

"Bill Gates isn’t rich because he created Windows," Sills said. "He’s rich because he owns all the shares of the company."

The third piece of advice is to be patient and persistent with the first two fundamentals.

"Rome wasn’t built in a day," he said.

Sills said recessions understandably make people nervous, but that if you’re smart about your finances, there’s no reason for it to break you.

 

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