Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56 Page 57 Page 58 Page 59 Page 60 Page 61 Page 62 Page 63 Page 64 Page 65 Page 66 Page 67 Page 68 Page 69 Page 70 Page 71 Page 72 Page 73 Page 74 Page 75 Page 76 Page 77 Page 78 Page 79 Page 80 Page 81 Page 82 Page 83 Page 84 Page 85 Page 86 Page 87 Page 88 Page 89 Page 90 Page 91 Page 92 Page 93 Page 94 Page 95 Page 96 Page 97 Page 98 Page 99 Page 100 Page 101 Page 102 Page 103 Page 104 Page 105 Page 106 Page 107 Page 108AGING IN THE 21S T CENTURY 84 CHAPTER 5 | TRACKING THE IMPACT OF THE GREAT RECESSION The Great Recession of 2007 to 2009 led to the loss of more than 7.5 million jobs in the US. At the peak of the recession, the unemployment rate was over 10%. At the same time, the crash of the housing and stock markets cost Americans trillions of dollars of wealth. The security of retirement plans was challenged by the same fall in asset prices and in some cases by cuts in employer contributions for current workers. An economic shock of this magnitude has implications for older Americans’ decisions about when to retire, how much to spend and how to invest. Even though older adults were more insulated from some aspects of the crisis, such as job loss and mortgage foreclosure, their children and other family members were often in need of support. Because the longitudinal HRS followed its members before, during, and after the Great Recession, it provides uniquely valuable data for researchers to track its impact on individuals and families. T here are substantial effects of the recession on work expectations as well as actual work transitions. A number of studies demonstrate that Americans seem to have adjusted their spending in response to the recession. While many older Americans weath- ered the Great Recession well, several studies support the concern that the downturn had a disproportionate impact on certain vulnerable groups. Future studies will evaluate the poten- tial longer-term impact as more post-recession HRS data become available. Effects of the Great Recession Effects on Wealth One of the hallmark events of the Great Recession was the substantial decline in stock market values, which dropped by more than 40% from October 2007 to April 2009. The effects of this decline on those near retirement age might depend on how much wealth they held in the stock market. What was their exposure? Did the recovery mean a return of those losses? Gustman et al. (2010) examine this question by looking at the wealth of Early Baby Boomers, aged 53 to 58 in 2006, to see what losses they would be likely to experience as a result of the decline in value of both the stock and housing markets. A major advantage of HRS data is its comprehensive coverage of sources of retirement wealth, especially non-liquid sources like defined benefit (DB) pensions and Social Security benefits. It turns out that stocks are not a large part of the retirement portfolio of Early Baby Boomers, and DB pensions are still the dominant