10 Years After the Crisis: Middle-Income Boomers Rebounding But Not Recovered

February 2017

Middle-income Americans were overwhelmed by the financial crisis and recession that began in 2007. Their incomes decreased, their home values fell, and they lost their wealth. Even now as unemployment is low and the stock market booms, middle-income Boomers say they haven’t felt the benefits of a recovery.

Despite their uncertainty in a recovery, almost all middle-income Boomers still believe they will retire someday. What makes them so optimistic even though they claim they have not benefitted from the economic recovery? The following report examines how Boomers are faring 10 years after the financial crisis, and how it affected their confidence, behaviors and retirement expectations.
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  • While half (51%) of middle-income Boomers feel the economy has recovered somewhat from the financial crisis, only 2% feel the economy has fully recovered, and nearly half (47%) do not believe the economy has recovered at all.
  • Two-thirds (65%) of all middle-income Boomers do not feel they have personally benefitted from any economic recovery.
  • Only about one-third (31%) of middle-income Boomers feel well prepared or very well prepared for retirement, down from four in 10 (41%) before the financial crisis.
  • Two-thirds (68%) of middle-income Boomers are worried about another financial crisis in their lifetime.

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This study from the Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement—10 Years After the Crisis: Middle-Income Boomers Rebounding But Not Recovered—was conducted in October 2016 by the independent research firm The Blackstone Group.

The internet-based survey consisted of a nationwide sample of 1,000 middle-income Americans age 52 to 70. Quotas were established based on the U.S. Census Current Population Survey data for age, gender and income to obtain a nationally representative sample. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

The survey included questions that asked about middle-income Boomers’ feelings at three points in time: in 2006 (before the financial crisis), during the financial crisis, and today. Multiple answers were accepted on some questions; results on these sum to greater than 100%.

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