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Surveying the aftermath of the storm: changes in family finances from 2007 to 2009

  • Jesse Bricker
  • Brian Bucks
  • Arthur Kennickell
  • Traci Mach
  • Kevin Moore
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    In 2009, the Federal Reserve Board implemented a survey of families that participated in the 2007 Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) to gain detailed information on the effects of the recent recession on all types of households. Using data from the 2007-09 SCF panel, we highlight the variation in households' financial experiences by examining the distribution of changes in families' balance sheets. Further, we use information on changes in families' saving, investing, and spending behavior to consider the potential longer-term consequences of the current recession on households' finances and decisions. ; Most families experienced a decline in wealth between 2007 and 2009, but many families saw only small changes on net, and others saw substantial increases in their wealth. This pattern of gains and losses typically holds within demographic groups. Changes in families' wealth over the period appear to reflect changes in asset values (particularly the value of homes, stocks, and businesses) rather than changes in the level of ownership of assets and debts or in the amount of debt held. On the whole, families appear more cautious in 2009 than in 2007, as most families reported greater desired buffer savings, and many expressed concern over future income and employment.

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    Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2011-17.

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    Date of creation: 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2011-17
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    1. Arthur Kennickell & Annamaria Lusardi, 2004. "Disentangling the Importance of the Precautionary Saving Mode," NBER Working Papers 10888, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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