Twenty years of accumulated prosperity was wiped out in the economic crisis, according to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances. A family with a net worth of $126,400 in 2007 was worth $77,300 in 2010. Three-quarters of the loss was due to the housing crash. Decline in family income had already started, but accelerated during crisis, falling from $49,600 in 2007 to $45,800 in 2010. The percentage of families saving anything over the previous year fell to 52% in 2010 from 56.4% in 2007. The survey did find that families had shifted their reason to save money from retirement or education to taking precautionary measures to meet short-term needs.

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