Sunday , 21 July 2024

Effects of 2008 Recession STILL Affecting Majority of Americans – How About You?

The Fed has just released a 200 page study on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. 8-signs-flirting-with-financial-ruin-7-savings-lgHouseholds in 2013 that reveals that 52% of the respondents to the survey said they did not have a mere $400 in savings for an unexpected emergency. That suggests to me that over half the county is on a paycheck-to-paycheck struggle. Below are my key findings from the survey presented in a concise easy to understand format.
The above introductory comments are paraphrased excerpts from an article* by Mike “Mish” Shedlock ( entitled Fed Study Finds 2 million in “Forced Retirement”, 52% Cannot Afford an Unexpected $400 Expense.
The following article is presented courtesy of Lorimer Wilson, editor of (Your Key to Making Money!)and (A site for sore eyes and inquisitive minds) and has been edited, abridged and/or reformatted (some sub-titles and bold/italics emphases) for the sake of clarity and brevity to ensure a fast and easy read. This paragraph must be included in any article re-posting to avoid copyright infringement.
Shedlock goes on to say in further edited excerpts:…Items in red below are things I found particularly noteworthy. Key Findings

  • 60% of respondents reported that their families were either “doing okay” or “living comfortably” financially [broken down as follows:]

    • 34% said their situations were about the same, and
    • 30% said they were somewhat or much better off
  • 34% said they were somewhat worse off or much worse off financially than before the 2008 recession [broken down as follows:]

    • 25% said that they were “just getting by” financially and another
    • 13% said they were struggling to do so
  • 42% said they had delayed a major purchase or expense directly due to the recession, and
  • 18% said they had put off what they considered to be a major life decision
    • 50% said they were putting some portion of their income away in savings, although
    • 20% said they were spending more than they earned
    • 61% said they expected their income to stay the same in the next 12 months, while
    • 21% expected their income to increase and
    • 16% expected their income to decline


  • The most common reasons cited by renters for renting rather than owning a home were:
    • an inability to afford the necessary down payment (45%) and
    • an inability to qualify for a mortgage (29%)
  • 10% of renters reported that they were currently looking to buy a home

Credit experiences and expectations

  • 31% said they had applied for some type of credit in the prior 12 months
    • 33% of those who applied for credit were turned down or given less credit than they applied for
  • 19% said they had put off applying for some type of credit because they thought they would be turned down
  • Just over 50% were confident in their ability to obtain a mortgage, were they to apply
  • Experience with credit appears to vary by race and ethnicity, with non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics disproportionately likely to report being denied credit, to put off applying for credit, and to express a lack of confidence about successfully applying for a mortgage, though these effects are partially explained by other factors correlated with race/ethnicity and credit, such as education

Financing of education

  • 24% said they had education debt of some kind, with
    • 16% having acquired debt for their own education,
      • 54% of those who failed to complete the program they borrowed money for reported having to cut back on spending to make their student loan payments (versus 39% for those who completed) and
      • ) 56% believed that the costs of the education outweighed any financial benefits they received from the education (versus 38 percent for those who completed)
    • 7% for their spouse/partner’s education, and
    • 6% for their child’s education


  • 57% of those who had savings prior to 2008 reported using up some or all of their savings in the Great Recession and its aftermath
  • 48% said they could completely cover a hypothetical emergency expense costing $400 without selling something or borrowing money [that is, 52% could not]

It’s interesting that when reporting the extent of their financial well-being (see above), 60% said they were doing OK or better , yet when reporting the extent of their savings 52% said they did not have a mere $400 in savings for an unexpected emergency. That suggests to me that over half the county is on a paycheck-to-paycheck struggle.


  • Almost 50% said had not planned financially for retirement, with
    • 24% said they had given it only a little thought and
    • 25% said they had done no planning at all
  • 31% said they had no retirement savings or pension (including 19% of those ages 55 to 64)
  • 25% said they didn’t know how they would pay their expenses in retirement
  • Among those ages 55 to 64 who had not yet retired, only
    • 18% planned to follow the traditional retirement model of working full time until a set date and then stop working altogether, while
    • 24% expected to keep working as long as possible,
    • 18% expected to retire and then work a part-time job, and
    • 9% expected to retire and then become self-employed
  • 40% of those 45 and over who had not yet retired said the Great Recession had caused them to push back their planned date of retirement
  • 15% of those who had retired since 2008 reported that they retired earlier than planned due to the recession, while only 4% had retired later than expected

Medical expenses

  • 34% said they had gone without some form of medical care in the prior 12 months because they could not afford it
  • 24% said they had experienced what they described as a major unexpected medical expense that they had to pay out of pocket in the prior 12 months
    • 43% said they could not afford to pay for a major medical expense out of pocket, and
    • 34% said it was only somewhat likely that they could afford to pay

[A great deal of insightful information on the current financial condition of Americans as a result of The Great Depression of 2008 can be found in the above survey results. What most stands out for me, however, is that when reporting their financial situation (see above),] 60% of respondents reported that they were doing OK or better (see Financial Well-being),  but when reporting the extent of their savings (see Savings) 52% said they did not have a mere $400 in savings for an unexpected emergency. That suggests to me that over half the county is on a paycheck-to-paycheck struggle.

Editor’s Note: The author’s views and conclusions in the above article are unaltered and no personal comments have been included to maintain the integrity of the original post. Furthermore, the views, conclusions and any recommendations offered in this article are not to be construed as an endorsement of such by the editor.


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