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Oprah says this recession may serve as a wake-up call for many Americans. "This was a shake 'em up, wake 'em up to get us back to some semblance of the center," she says.

For years, Robert says people have filled their homes with stuff to emulate the upper class, and in doing so, they dug themselves deep into debt. While the situation may look bleak now, Robert says there's a silver lining.

"The economy will get better. I can't tell you exactly when it's going to happen—probably next year," he says. "But I hope we don't lose sight of what we've learned in terms of what really matters and what really counts."

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