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Overall, only 15.2% of their wealth was held in equities through defined contribution (DC) plans, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), and direct stock holdings. Similarly, while housing values fell substantially through the recession, many homeowners in this cohort had already paid off their mortgages or already held substantial equity, and therefore did not find themselves under water with a mortgage lender. With longitudinal information on wealth changes during the recession, researchers show that for the Early Baby Boomers, by 2010 real wealth had fallen by 2.8% (Gustman et al. 2012). Early Baby Boomers with the lowest levels of wealth experienced a 1% wealth loss. On the other hand, those with the highest levels of wealth lost the most during the recession. In follow-up work, Gustman et al. (2014) study the effect of the economic recovery on the wealth of American households. For Early Baby Boomers overall, by 2012 — when they were aged 59 to 64 — real wealth was still 3.6% lower than before the 2006 recession. They show that the largest percentage wealth losses are in the highest wealth house- holds. In the top wealth decile the decrease from 2006 to 2012 is 26%, whereas the lowest decile actually experienced an increase in wealth. Comparing the experiences of these younger cohorts to older cohorts, they also find that real wealth increased in earlier cohorts at the same age (for example War Babies who were aged 51 to 56 in 1998), largely due to increases in the housing and stock markets in the 1990s and early 2000s. Younger cohorts being followed in the HRS will have greater exposure to stock markets as an increasing share of their retirement portfolios are held in DC plans. Gustman et al. (2014) report that in 2012, DC plans for the first time represented a larger share of pension wealth than DB plans, but only for Mid Baby Boomers who were aged 53 to 58 in that year. Nonetheless, Social Security is the most important asset owned by members of all of the cohorts examined and is a major source of stability through economic change. Other research examines mental health effects of wealth losses. Similar to Gustman and colleagues, McInerney et al. (2013) find large recession-related wealth losses among those with high levels of stock holdings. They also show that these losses are associated with increased symptoms of depression and use of antidepres- sant drugs. On average, older Americans’ percep- tions of financial strain actually lessened over the recession between 2006 and 2010, with 41% of respondents indicating a decrease in financial strain over the four-year period (Wilkinson 2016). Nonetheless, a quarter of HRS participants experienced increased financial strain during that period, leading to worsening anxiety and depres- sive symptoms. Figures 5-1a and 5-1b show the impact of the recession reported by HRS respondents in 2009. Impacts of the recession appear to be similar for men and women, but are more strongly felt by younger age groups. Effects on Retirement Expectations Large wealth losses could cause individuals who are nearing retirement age to continue working in order to offset their losses. Gustman et al. (2010) show that, as a result of the economic downturn, about 7% of those near retirement in 2006 are likely to delay retiring by a year, and almost 2% are likely to delay retirement by two years. Another study examines changes in expected retirement age over the course of the recession from 2006 to 2008 (Goda et al. 2011). These researchers map the date of the HRS interview to the value of the S&P 500 (an index of the value of the stock market), to quarterly fluctuations in the housing market at the state level, and to county-level unemployment rates during the month of the interview. Expectations about likely retirement are influenced by these economic indi- cators. Between 2006 and 2008, the percentage of workers expecting to work past age 62 increased from 47.5 to 54.5%, and those expecting to work past age 65 increased from 31.1 to 36.6%. A 2009 HRS survey assessed response to the economic downturn. Hurd and Rohwedder (2010c) compare expectations of working past age 62 for those who are over age 55 and working in 2008 based on their work status in 2009. For those still working in 2009, the subjective expectation of working past age 62 increased by 5%. The numbers are even more striking for Younger cohorts being followed in the HRS will have greater exposure to stock markets as an increasing share of their retirement portfolios are held in DC plans.