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Are Harder Times Ahead for Financial Advisers, Clients?


Just when financial advisers were starting to feel comfortable again, comes news that some key indicators are heading south again.

First and perhaps most worryingly, home prices are now clearly headed into a dreaded "double-dip" downturn. The nationwide Case-Shiller Housing Index has declined for eight straight months after turning positive briefly last summer. Since the housing bubble burst in 2006, home sales prices have plummeted even more precipitously than did during the Great Depression in the 1930s. Many analysts are now predicting home prices will continue to slide this year for a total drop of 5%, before hitting bottom sometime early next year.

Meanwhile, the jobs engine that usually kicks into gear at the end of a recession has been sputtering and it appears unemployment will remain at 9% for some time to come.

Not surprisingly, consumer confidence, as monitored by the Conference Board, is also slumping, dropping in May to 60.8 from 66 in April.