Get Rich Slowly readers have sent me many stories about the ongoing U.S. economic crisis and the debate over a possible bailout. Because I don’t like to talk politics here, and because economics is way outside my area of expertise, I haven’t provided much commentary on this situation.

Besides, sound personal finance skills are the same no matter what the condition of the economy. When times are rough, it’s even more important to focus on the basics: spend less than you earn, do what you can to avoid (or eliminate) debt, protect your job, etc. Also remember that investing is a long-term adventure; the time to make adjustments for low risk tolerance is before the market drops, not after.

Rather than ignore all the stories you folks have submitted, however, I thought I’d link to them all at once with only a minimum of comment.

And, of course, many people are looking for (and offering) solutions. Here are a few:

Finally, though it’s only marginally related, Clusterstock has an August 22nd transcript from what it calls “that awesome Warren Buffett CNBC interview”. It’s full of classic Buffett bites — little nuggets of wisdom about the economy from the world’s richest man. “I don’t try to pick turns [in the market] in any kind of an industry in terms of buying stocks. I just like to buy them when I think they’re cheap relative to their long-term earning power.”

But what does this all mean? Who can tell? Everyone seems to be flailing wildly to blame homeowners, banks, hedge-fund managers, Democrats, Republicans, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan. I don’t think it’s the fault of any one person or group of people. This was systemic. And now the system is correcting itself.

The next few years will likely be painful for everyone, but less so for those who continue to practice basic smart personal finance skills.

Update: As I was composing this, Trent at The Simple Dollar published a great post in which he echoed FDR: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Photo by Wonderlane.

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