Current downturn: not your grandfather’s recession
Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 8:35 am
Older folks are weathering kitchen-table economic worries far better than their children or grandchildren, reports the Pew Research Center in a new telephone survey of American adults.
Adults 65 and older — most of whom have already retired and downsized their lifestyles — have escaped its full fury. Adults in late middle age (50 to 64) have seen their nest eggs shrink the most and their anxieties about retirement swell the most. Younger adults (ages 18-49) have taken the worst lumps in the job market but remain relatively upbeat about their financial future.
While the older Americans polled view the recession as kindler and gentler than in years past, their sandwich-generation counterparts are much less sanguine — especially while reading their investment statements.
“One reason that late-middle-aged adults feel so vulnerable is that their nest eggs have taken the brunt of Wall Street’s meltdown. Two-thirds of adults ages 50-64 say they lost money in the past year in mutual funds, individual stocks or 401(k)-type retirement accounts. Of those who report such losses, two-in-ten say they lost more than 40 percent of their investments’ value and nearly four-in-ten say they lost 20 percent to 40 percent. By comparison, far fewer older adults or younger adults report losing money in stocks and retirement accounts in the past year.”
By contrast, younger adults are taking a more pragmatic approach to the sour economy they expect to ride out by shopping at discount retailers and planting “recession gardens” to stretch their food budgets.
See you at the Dollar Store!