Economic Recovery, the Weight Watchers Way

Last Updated Jul 8, 2009 10:16 AM EDT

In a culture that craves immediate gratification, I beg you to shore up your strength and instead pin your hopes on a slow and boring economic recovery. As noted in my mid-year update, the flow of data points to improvement, but that does not mean that recession and its lagging effects are over--that's a good thing!

I discussed the current economy with Harry Smith on The Early Show this morning.

The US economy and its participants must learn the hard lessons from the recession. I liken this to weight loss: we need the Weight Watchers approach, not a crash diet. As a Lifetime Member of Weight Watchers (thank you junior year of college!), I can tell you that grinding out a pound a week is hard, but by doing so, I've been able to maintain my weight loss for twenty years. Friends who were lured by the fad solution were doomed to be yo-yo dieters for years.

So too with the economy. If the recovery occurs too quickly, people and institutions may return to their old, bad habits. In order to build a stronger economic foundation, consumers and corporations must live within their means and manage not for the next three months, but for long-term viability and success.

There are no tricks to weight loss--the solution is clear: eat less and exercise more. And there are no quick ways out of a two decade credit binge--the solution is clear: spend less and save more.

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    Jill Schlesinger, CFP®, is the Emmy-nominated, Business Analyst for CBS News. She covers the economy, markets, investing and anything else with a dollar sign on TV, radio (including her nationally syndicated radio show), the web and her blog, "Jill on Money." Prior to her second career at CBS, Jill spent 14 years as the co-owner and Chief Investment Officer for an independent investment advisory firm. She began her career as a self-employed options trader on the Commodities Exchange of New York, following her graduation from Brown University.