Americans haven’t heard a lot of good news this past year. Credit tightened, banks failed, bailouts ensued and stock market swings shrunk many people’s retirement savings. I’m Haley Lyons with your Bankrate.com Personal Finance Minute.

Bankrate’s Greg McBride has some advice for coping with the economy in 2009. According to McBride, 2009 won’t be much better than 2008, yet there will be some opportunities. Falling home prices coupled with low mortgage rates will continue to attract bargain hunters into the housing market.

A lesson that can be learned from 2008 is that consumers can not borrow their way to prosperity. According to McBride, we will begin to see a turnaround in the stock market and the economy well before we see a return to substantive job growth.

In 2009 people should build a savings cushion. Knock out any credit cards or other debts with low balances, cut your spending and identify other areas you can cut later if your job is eliminated.

Bottom line, be prepared for the worst and do your best to save as much as possible and you should manage the new year just fine.

To find out more on how to cope with the economy in 2009, log on to Bankrate.com, I’m Haley Lyons. 

Posted: Jan. 6, 2009