Australia is set to see “massive bankruptcies”, quadrupling unemployment rates and crashing property prices within months, a financial expert predicts.

US demographer and financial writer Harry Dent said the COVID-19 pandemic is simply the “perfect trigger” to set off a depression for an already struggling economy.

“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 with the Australian Government’s multi-billion dollar stimulus package, 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.”

Dent said conditions were “much worse” now than before the Global Financial Crisis and predicted Australia’s real estate market could fall as much as 50 per cent.

“The bubble is off the charts. It’s so obvious and there’s no easy way out and no magic solution,” he told

“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.”

Dent said people still had time to sell assets they did not want to keep for life.

“Get out of risky assets for a couple of years,” he advised.

“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.

“My point of view is simple and you can believe it or not.”

Financial commentator Peter Switzer offered a more optimistic outlook, saying Australia could see a few years of rising stocks after the coronavirus crisis ended.

He said the pandemic only brought forward the inevitable market crash that would have taken place in 2021 due to the bull market cycle.

“No one knows how the anti-pandemic economic stimulus packages will play out around the world and whether we’ll be crushed by a second-wave of infections that will close economies down again, but right now the stock market is into a range because it doesn’t know either – but it’s leaning to the positive!” Switzer wrote on his website.

“Cautious investors could wait about six months and in that time they could see a great buying opportunity after another big leg down, or they could wait for another leg up driven by the best-case scenarios for the virus and the economy.”

Rich Dad Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki, who will be joining Dent and property analyst Martin North on a May 24 webinar to discuss the crisis, said the world’s current level of debt was “unprecedented in history”.

Kiyosaki told the outlet Australia was at risk because China was in a compromised financial position and “when China catches a cold, Australia gets pneumonia”. 

He said the crisis presented an opportunity for entrepreneurs.

“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.”

This article originally appeared on Over60.