Publications

- October 1, 2018: Vol. 30, Number 9

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Rollercoaster ride: The sharp fall and steady climb of the past decade

by Loretta Clodfelter

Ten years ago — almost to the day, depending on when this issue appears in your mailbox — Lehman Bros. went bankrupt and the global financial crisis began in earnest. Warning signals had appeared in the months prior, as other financial institutions wobbled or collapsed, notably Bear Stearns & Co., Countrywide Financial Corp. and Washington Mutual. Credit had become notoriously difficult to obtain, at any price. Trust had evaporated from the system.

And then it got even worse.

Those who experienced the fall of 2008 — a season of continuous falls — are now battle-hardened veterans, still wary even in the face of a near-decade of growth. Real estate values dropped by one-third, or more, and some portfolios were wiped out. But if you managed to hold on, if you could “pretend and extend” until 2010, or 2012, then you came out on the other side, into what has become one of the longest booms in the modern financial era.

From its previous peak, reached i

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