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Stock market's silver lining
When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping for stocks. Right now there's a fire sale, says this PBS TV host.
Growing your bottom line

Spotlight: Consuelo Mack

On Oct. 9, 2007, the Dow Jones industrial average closed at 14,164 points, its all-time high. At that time, many pundits said we were experiencing a "Goldilocks economy," not too hot, not too cold. Just right.

At a glance

In the fairy tale, Goldilocks was in danger of confronting three bears, but in the financial world, an impending bear market was just around the bend. As we've since learned, it turned out to be a brutal grizzly.

So what can we expect going forward? Are our only best options to maintain a cash and fetal position for the foreseeable future, or is this downturn that proverbial "once in a lifetime" buying opportunity for savvy but steel-willed long-term investors?

To gain some insights into what we're in for and what it all means, Bankrate spoke with award-winning financial journalist and "Cramer-antidote," Consuelo Mack, host of the acclaimed PBS television program "Consuelo Mack WealthTrack."

Many people don't understand why the stock market experienced this recent crash. How did we get here, and what or who is to blame?

Yale behavioral economist Robert Shiller put it best on "WealthTrack": "You can't blame it on any one person or regulator. What we had was a social epidemic ... simultaneous bubbles in a number of different markets."

We've been through this era of being an over-leveraged, credit-based economy, and this de-leveraging process that we're going through means that we're probably going to go back to growth rates we had seen more than 10 years ago. That easy credit we enjoyed did a lot of good things, but it also led to so many bad things -- such as the bad mortgage loans we're now hearing so much about, the lax borrowing standards and all of these people who were being paid fees to make these mortgages and other loans. And then there was that perception that there really was no risk to all of this.

There were people like Robert Shiller and (money manager) Jeremy Grantham who saw this problem coming, but nobody wanted to listen to such doomsayers when everything in the economy seemed to be going so well.

-- Posted: Dec. 5, 2008
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