How to profit in the new economy
The next chapter of our economic story won't be anything like the last. See how the changed landscape will affect you as an investor, worker and consumer.
(Money Magazine) -- There comes a point in every good book where you're convinced you know how the plot goes. And then you turn the page and something unexpected happens that changes all your assumptions. Well, that's where we are now.
Since the early 1980s, after the war against stagflation was won, our script has gone something like this: A growing economy starts with low tax rates. Left with more of your own money to spend, you're emboldened to take risks by investing in stocks, buying homes, even starting your own business - all of which serve to expand the economy without necessarily leading to high inflation or interest rates. And a healthy economy coupled with cheap money prods you to spend aggressively as well, fueling yet more growth.
Meanwhile, since individuals and businesses are best suited to make their own decisions, the most helpful thing government can do is just get out of the way. That forces individuals to take on more responsibility -- and risk -- on such critical matters as their retirement and health care.
For a while, this formula worked. But the financial crisis has revealed just how much risk individuals have taken on, wittingly or not. The result: When the economy emerges from recession, our tale will take a decidedly different turn.
In the following stories, you'll see how the economy is poised to change and what the likely impact will be on your investing, spending, and career. And most important: You'll learn how you can profit from this new normal.
The downsizing of the U.S. consumer
The demise of the 'ownership society'