We bid goodbye -- and, frankly, good riddance -- to 2009.
During the past 12 months, three "R's" dominated the financial headlines: recession, reform and relief (as in unprecedented government bailouts).
America watched in disbelief as simultaneously our home values plummeted, defaults and foreclosures skyrocketed, financial institutions once thought "too big to fail" did, and our once-robust economy stalled, leaving one in 10 of us out of work.
Any one of these crises would prompt ample sleepless nights for the most steadfast among us. Together, they have radically altered the consumer credit landscape and ushered in a new frugality not seen in generations.
Financially speaking, 2009 was scary. Tell-your-grandkids scary.
By all indications, 2010 will be a watershed year as the ramifications of recession, reform and bailout relief continue to shape the new consumer landscape.
One very large example: Congress harnessed public outrage to pass the largest-ever reform of the credit card industry, the Credit CARD Act of 2009. It prohibits such long-standing practices as double-cycle billing and retroactive interest rate hikes by credit card issuers.
How the card companies retool their products in 2010 to recoup the profits they will lose when the CARD Act's major provisions kick in Feb. 22 may affect the borrowing power of Americans for decades to come.
What's in the cards for 2010?
We asked a field of financial experts to play forward these 2009 game-changers and venture a few predictions for the new year in personal finance.
Here, in New Year's ball-dropping countdown style, are their predictions on how the next 12 months will change your financial life.
Let the financial countdown begin: 10: Your spending
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