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Sticker Shock: What the Financial Crisis Cost in Lost Personal Wealth

WARNING: The following may be hazardous to your health. Or at least your blood pressure. So you want to know how much the financial crisis cost you? Me, I can't handle the truth. For stouter souls, The Pew Charitable Trusts has issued a new report tabulating the wealth that Americans lost as a result of the crash between 2008 and 2009.

What's interesting about the research is that it isolates the impact of the collapse during that period from the merely sluggish economic conditions that prevailed just before disaster struck. A few data points that will palpitate your heart:

  • $100,000: Cost to the typical American family in combined losses from declining stock and home prices
  • $5,800: Average household income loss resulting from declining economic growth
  • $14,200: Average household loss in wealth caused by plunging real estate prices
  • $66,200: Average stock market losses for households from July 2008 to March 2009
  • $2,050: Average household cost to pay for TARP, the main government program to shore up the economy
Write the authors of the report:
Beyond dollars and cents, the financial crisis had substantial negative impacts on American families both at present and, likely, for decades to come as the hardships faced by children translate into changed lives into the future. The poverty rate, for example, increased from 9.8 percent in 2007 to 10.3 percent in 2008, meaning that an additional 395,000 families fell into poverty....

The financial crisis of 2007 to 2010 has had a massive impact on the United States. Millions of American families suffered losses of jobs, incomes, and homes -- and the effects of these losses will play out on society for generations to come.

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