Power Players

Mark Cuban: 7 money and career tips for young people to survive a recession

Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban smiles during the game between the New York Knicks and the Dallas Mavericks at Madison Square Garden on January 30, 2019 in New York City.
Elsa | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images

The Great Recession lasted from December 2007 through June 2009 and was the longest economic downturn since World War II. And now, a decade out from that recession, there is talk and worry that another one is coming.

More than half of U.S. CFOs (53%) believe the country will be in a recession by the end of the third quarter next year, a new survey from Duke University showed. And the number of Google searches for the word "recession" even spiked at the end of July.

The resulting anxiety has people looking for advice on how to prepare and what to expect.

One Twitter user asked billionaire tech entrepreneur and star of ABC's "Shark Tank," Mark Cuban, for advice: "Hey Mark! I have a question I think many people would like to hear you answer. With all the talks of a Recession coming, what do you think will help someone going through it for the first time? For example 'Millennials.'"

In response, Cuban tweeted a prescription. Here are Cuban's seven pieces of advice to prepare for an economic downturn.

1. 'Refinance your student loan and any other debt you have. Interest rates are at an all-time low'

Cuban suggested refinancing debt, and that's good advice, Andrew Pentis, a personal finance expert at Student Loan Hero, told CNBC Make It.

"With a strong credit history, or a cosigner who's creditworthy, refinancing would allow you to nab one of those especially low rates that are advertised by lenders. A lower interest rate equates to less money spent on accruing interest as you progress through repayment," Pentis tells CNBC Make It.

That said, people's loan profiles and goals vary, check the health of your credit score first, to make sure you would be eligible for a better rate, Pentis said.

And watch out for those headline numbers advertised for loan refinancing — they may not be what you can actually lock in for your loan, Pentis says.

"Also be aware that many lenders' lowest promoted rates are variable, meaning that the rate could rise (or fall) over time," he said. Fixed rates, on the other hand, are static. They are also low at the moment and could be "a safer, wiser choice for many refinancing candidates," according to Pentis.

As for student loans, be careful if you have federal loans.

"Almost nobody" should refinance their federal loans, Betsy Mayotte, founder of The Institute for Student Loan Advisors, tells NerdWallet. That's because federal loans carry protections that private loans don't, like loan forgiveness programs and payment plans that slide based on your income. If you refinance, you lose those safeguards.

2. 'Save as much as you can. The greatest opportunities come when you are one of the few with cash'

Cuban is not the only notable businessman to give this advice.

Octogenarian investing legend Warren Buffett has a similar perspective for investing: "A simple rule dictates my buying: Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful," Buffett wrote in an opinion piece for The New York Times in October 2008.

In other words, if you have the ability to invest when the market is down and prices are low, do it, because you could get a bargain. In recessions, "the nation's many sound companies" will "suffer earnings hiccups, as they always have," Buffet wrote in 2008. "But most major companies will be setting new profit records five, 10 and 20 years from now."

If you don't think you can pick stocks like Buffett, Cuban previously advised putting your money into an S&P 500 SPX fund.

3. 'Understand the economics of the company you work for and the impact a slowdown would have on your job'

Educate yourself about the business model of your employer — how the company makes money — and how and why that employer will be impacted by an economic downturn.

With that understanding, you can be proactive, Cuban told CNBC Make It.

"If you recognize the risks then you can anticipate or at least have a general understanding about how a change in the economy will affect your job," Cuban said. "Too many people get blindsided by layoffs when they could have seen it coming and maybe made a move in advance."

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4. 'Live as much like a student as you can. The lower your bills, the lower your stress'

Cuban is not the only one giving this advice, either.

It's your spending, not your income, that dictates your feeling of financial comfort and ease, says the serial entrepreneur, self-made millionaire and New York University professor Scott Galloway.

"The definition of 'rich' is having passive income that's greater than your burn," Galloway told CNBC Make It in 2018.

Galloway said his dad and stepmother are the perfect example: Together, they take in only $48,000 per year from Social Security payments and their pensions, he said, but they spend $40,000 a year. "They are rich. They have more money than they need," Galloway said.

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5. 'Don't listen to any "experts" about whether or not a recession is coming'

"We live in a global economy, whether we like it or not," Cuban tweeted. "The butterfly effect applies. We don't know what combination of big and/or little things will make things better or worse till they happen."

Market watchers are keeping an eye on a slew of factors to measure the economy, in an effort to predict an impending recession. Those include global trade wars, geopolitical crises, global uncertainty, consumer spending, yield curves in the bond market, gross domestic product growth, corporate profits, manufacturing levels and the job market.

Even so, "Historically, the best that forecasters have been able to do consistently is recognize that we're in a recession once we're in one," George Washington University economist Tara Sinclair told the New York Times in July. "The dream of an early warning system is still a dream that we're working on."

6. 'Do all you can to be great at your job. But you have to be honest with yourself'

"Employees with no self awareness always get fired first," Cuban tweeted.

It's a point Cuban has made before.

"You have to be able to know how others see you," Cuban previously told Kiplinger. "You have to be brutally honest about your strengths and faults. If you can't be honest with yourself, it's going to be very difficult to know what it will take to be successful."

That advice goes for business owners too, Cuban says.

"You have to look at your own company and be brutally honest with yourself and say, 'What do we do well?' That's great. But also be honest and say, 'What do we not do well? Where are our challenges? And then how can we improve them?'" Cuban told Amazon Insights for Entrepreneurs.

7. 'Be someone who reduces stress rather than increases it for your boss and everyone around you'

In an economic downturn, you want to be valuable at work. And valuable employees reduce their boss's stress, according to Cuban.

"The people that tend to work for me a long time, not only are smart, not only are driven, not only are learners," he told Money in 2017, "but they understand that the greatest value you can offer a boss is to reduce their stress."

Bottom line: "If you are a stress reducer, you're going to do well. If you're a drama creator, you're not going to do well," Cuban said.

See also:

Mark Cuban: Workers paid by the hour are 'always going to fall behind,' making wealth inequality worse

Billionaire Mark Cuban: One of the 'most patriotic' things you can do is get 'obnoxiously rich'

Mark Cuban, Scott Galloway, Mike Rowe all agree 'following your passion' is totally bogus advice

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Disclaimer: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to "Shark Tank."

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