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Heading into 2013, the investing landscape looks bleak. As I described last week, both stocks and corporate bonds look vulnerable to a new bear market. The economy could be tipping into a new recession. (See "Welcome to the new recession.") And, as I've described in some recent blog posts, gold and silver look vulnerable as well.

To many, it no doubt seems that the entire concept of saving, investing and building a comfortable retirement is dead. Stocks are too volatile. Bonds are overpriced, and the equity returns are too low to compensate for the risks. Gold prices are falling as the Federal Reserve's stimulus becomes ineffective. Cash doesn't pay; have you checked the returns on money market and savings accounts lately? And commodities in general are hurt by a growth slowdown and a stronger dollar.

As I've said before, the truth is that the concept of "buy-and-hold" investing is indeed dead and buried (or at least, dead for as long as anything stays dead in investing.

But we're all still responsible for funding and directing our own wealth and retirement nest eggs, which means investing. So we can't just give up; rather, we need to put in more work, not less. We need a new strategy, built on moves that ride the market's medium-term undulations and the increasingly correlated nature of markets in which groups of assets -- such as the euro and stocks -- move up and down together. I've written about my strategy for this before and will again.

But right now, and for the next few months, this strategy suggests that it's time to batten down the hatches. Here's what I see coming in 2013, and how to invest for it.

The obstacles ahead

Democrats and Republicans are at each other's throats, and far from any compromise deal on the "fiscal cliff" -- setting the stage for an even uglier battle over the U.S. Treasury's debt ceiling limit in January and February. The economy is stalling as long-term structural woes -- per-capita growth of gross domestic product, labor productivity and persistent unemployment -- remain unresolved. The credit market remains tight, limiting the pro-growth impact of all the cheap money that global central banks are pumping into the economy.

And now, with CEOs and small-business owners already nervous, consumer confidence is plunging.

The silver lining

Despite this bleak outlook, I think the new recession and bear market for stocks likely to hit us in 2013 will be short -- yet scary enough to force Washington to address its fiscal problems as well as the need for spending on the catalysts of future growth, such as our dilapidated infrastructure. There is even talk of using the Federal Reserve to fund infrastructure investments, possibly through a public-private investment partnership model.

Why? For one, there is an incredible amount of cheap money floating around in the system -- with the U.S. monetary base, the total amount of money in circulation, pushing toward $3 trillion, versus $800 billion back in 2008. Other central banks, including the European Central Bank and the Bank of England, have similarly flooded their systems. All that money acts as a lubricant for the financial system, preventing it from seizing up.

Stocks can and will still go down, but all that idle cash will dampen things a bit. Credit Suisse notes that by one measure, the money supply in the developed world is growing 6% faster than nominal GDP. That's consistent with a 10% to 15% boost in global stocks.

Also, there hasn't been a lot of overinvestment in any particular area of the economy. There is no excess fat -- such as too many condos in Miami and Las Vegas (as in the last business cycle) -- that will need to be trimmed. The corporate sector has cut its cost profile to the bone via head-count reductions and lower wages. Households have focused on paying off debt.