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Key Findings Details

How Did the Recession of 2007-2009 Affect the Wealth and Retirement of the Near Retirement Age Population in the Health and Retirement Study?
Alan L. Gustman, Thomas L. Steinmeier and Nahid Tabatabai
WP 2011-253

  • Over the period spanning the "Great Recession," 2006 to 2010, the total wealth of the near-retirement population fell by about 2.8 percentage points.
  • Members of older cohorts had increased their wealth by about 5 percentage points at comparable ages, so in total, the wealth of the near-retirement population was about 8 percentage points lower than it would have been had they experienced the same wealth increase as members of older cohorts.
  • Retirement is similar to that observed for members of older cohorts at comparable ages. 
  • The major wealth losses were in housing, but Social Security and pensions modulated the negative shocks.
  • Retirement wealth of poorer households was least affected by the recession.