Recession Proof

The economy's braking fast, so here's how you can make the most of any leaner times ahead

So you want to be a hero? Go ahead--get those credit cards out and shop yourself silly. George W. Bush will be grateful. But remember, you're on your own out there. Retail sales are down. Car buying is depressed. Consumer confidence is fading. Last week GM and Whirlpool announced big layoffs. In November the S&P; 500 stock index finished its first 12-month period of negative returns in a decade, according to Bianco Research. In other words, people are getting squeamish.

No, we're not in a recession yet, and we may well avoid the textbook version--consecutive quarters of negative real gross domestic...

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