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The economy is on the upswing, albeit slowly, but there is still a long road ahead to full economic recovery, said CBS financial analyst Jill Schlesinger.

This was one of the several talking points of Schlesinger, editor-at-large of CBS MoneyWatch, when she spoke on Friday, September 21 at a business forum at Queens College. Among other things, Schlesinger discussed the job market and housing, and offered advice on financial planning.

Schlesinger, who got her start as a trader on Wall Street, broke down some of the causes of the 2008 economic crisis that still has a number of countries scrambling to get back on their feet. A cause of the “bubble bursting,” according to Schlesinger, was overspending on credit, deregulation, and mortgages that were too easily approved.

“We really had a perfect storm in that market,” she said. “We got lazy as investors, we just expected things go up. [Investors] bought into this idea that things are great.”

Schlesinger said the highest demographic of those unemployed were workers who only possessed a high school diploma. The lowest group of unemployed was those with at least a bachelor’s degree, and Schlesinger told the Queens College students in attendance that it paid to complete their degrees.

“College is worth it if you don’t spend too much money on it,” she said. “You picked the right place. Stay in school and get degrees, because college really is worth it.”

But though the last time the nation lost jobs was February 2010, there are still nearly five million fewer jobs than before the recession’s 2008 peak.

To plan for the future, Schlesinger advised that those planning to retire put aside additional money and determine how much they would need for the rest of their life.

“Hopefully what we see, and after what we’ve gone through and where we are in this recovery, what you understand is it’s still your personal, financial life,” she said. “It’s still up to you to manage it, and it really is up to you not to blow it. I wish it would be different, but it’s just not.”

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