How the Great Recession Changed Our Habits

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Five years later, people feel more prepared for retirement and are making bigger contributions to their 401Ks. Most have less debt, too.

Fidelity Investments released a new survey of 1,154 people indicating the recession’s sobering lessons seem to have stuck.

The Associated Press reported on the findings, which indicate Americans lost an average of one-third the value of their assets at the bottom of the crisis. Just over a third said they had a “large drop” in income during the period.

More than half (56 percent) have shifted from feeling scared about their financial future to feeling confident. About the same number say they feel more prepared for retirement, and 42 percent have boosted contributions to retirement accounts.

About half have reduced personal debt and more than two in five have built up an emergency fund. 78 percent of the people who feel better prepared and more confident think the crisis led to permanent changes in their behavior.

Participants in the survey were randomly selected adults older than 25, made financial decisions for their homes, and owned investments beyond a savings account or CD. (But the amount didn’t matter, so they weren’t necessarily wealthy.)

Stacy Johnson

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