We're just months away from a Great Depression-style disaster, with "massive bankruptcies", soaring unemployment and crashing house prices set to hit markets hard.

That's the view of US demographer and financial commentator Harry Dent, who believes the coronavirus crisis is simply the "perfect trigger" that will set off an already "sick" economy.

While the pandemic has sucker-punched global markets, Dent, who correctly predicted the 2008 crash, said the looming "depression" had been building for years.

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"Central banks and governments have stimulated the economy so much that the entire world is on the brink of a 1930s style meltdown," he said.

"They have literally printed trillions and trillions of dollars, and along... multi-billion dollar stimulus packages, have created a property and mortgage bubble that combined with increased unemployment will be the catalyst for massive bankruptcies.

"This is a two-year meltdown between late 2020 and late 2022 and nothing can stop it."

He told news.com.au conditions were "much worse" now than before the GFC and predicted the real estate market could go down by 30 to 50 per cent.

US economist Harry Dent says the crisis has been brewing for years. Photo / File
US economist Harry Dent says the crisis has been brewing for years. Photo / File

"The bubble is off the charts. It's so obvious and there's no easy way out and no magic solution," he said.

"It's going to be a big shock … most of the time when there's a correction or a recession you just sit through it, but this is not that.

"This is a once in a lifetime thing and its closest correlation is not the GFC, it's not the recessions of the 80s or 90s – it's like the early 30s."

"It's the greatest bubble in history … there's no way (central) banks can beat the monsters they created with financial asset bubbles."

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Mr Dent, who has been described as a "doom expert" by critics in the past, said detractors could ignore his warnings at their own peril.

"My point of view is simple and you can believe it or not – but if you don't you'll be sorry," he said.

"We will never get back to where we were even with stimulus.

"It will be the biggest crash of our lives and there will be a really big reset in the economy … everyone will have to raise taxes."

Economist Dominick Stephens warns of significant job losses as the economic fallout of Covid-19 takes hold. Video / NZ Herald

But he said the good news was the crash would work in favour of "everyday people" as rich-listers were more exposed to risk, and people still had some time up their sleeves to sell assets they didn't want to keep for life before the major crash hit, meaning now was the time to downsize.

"Get out of risky assets for a couple of years. This will not last forever, I'm not bearish at all, but it's the biggest risk of a crash we'll see in our lifetime so if you don't get serious about your financial assets, you're going to be in trouble. It's D-Day," he said.

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"Do not listen to politicians or financial advisers or real estate people who say it will be a short-term crisis. During the GFC people said we wouldn't see anything that bad again – but this is going to be worse for two reasons: debt is high and the demographic trend is even weaker.

"There's almost no chance next year won't be a very bad year. You won't find a bigger bubble anywhere in history."

The Harvard economist will be joined by Rich Dad Poor Dad author and personal finance expert Robert Kiyosaki and Australian property analyst Martin North on Sunday, May 24 for a free webinar to discuss the looming crisis and how to prepare for the tough road ahead.

Kiyosaki told news.com.au the world economy was already weak and that the coronavirus simply helped create the "perfect storm".

"The biggest problem is the world's debt – such debt is unprecedented in history," he said.

Rich Dad Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki says the crisis will bring with it plenty of opportunities. Photo / File
Rich Dad Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki says the crisis will bring with it plenty of opportunities. Photo / File

And he warned Australia was particularly at risk, as China was now in a "serious financial position" and "when China catches a cold, Australia gets pneumonia".

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But he said the crisis would bring with it plenty of prospects, with the "best real estate on planet earth" – Australia's – about to go "on sale".

He said falling house prices would present an opportunity for savvy buyers, but that locals would have to compete with Chinese buyers who would be tempted to invest.

It will also be the perfect chance for entrepreneurs to pounce.

"Every Aussie has a (mobile) phone and is now connected to the world, so there's no reason if you're an entrepreneur living in Bondi that you couldn't be marketing to the whole planet," he said.

"Einstein said 'imagination is more important than knowledge' and I'm very optimistic the future will belong to entrepreneurs and not corporate guys because they're nimble and can make changes more quickly – they can talk to the world and even language is not a barrier anymore (thanks to technology)."

- News.com.au

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