For the most part, the mortgage crisis we've been hearing about has related to individuals and their home mortgages. But it was inevitable that a flagging economy was going to be more readily apparent in the commercial sector sometime soon. The Associated Press reports that shopping malls are feeling the pain, with a few properties going into foreclosure and more to soon follow.

It's not hard to envision how and why this is happening. Retailers have been struggling for most of the year, and the massive number of shoppers out on Black Friday probably won't be enough to save several big names. As retailers go out of business or file bankruptcy, the shopping malls are losing revenue, putting their survival in question as well.

I never like to see businesses close their doors or people lose their jobs, but I can't help but feel like some of this is necessary. Americans have been overspending for years, and maybe this is a fine time for consumers to cut back on their spending, even if it is not by choice. It's easy to see how in my own life, I've been buying more than I needed, and that cutting back is the wise thing to do. Short term there will be pain for retailers and their landlords, but hopefully this will be an opportunity for consumers to become more responsible with their spending and make some long-term changes in their financial behavior.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

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