*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Using data over a nearly 30-year period, we trace the wealth trajectory of families by birth cohort. This allows us to measure not just the change in wealth before and after the Great Recession, but the change in wealth relative to what wealth would have been given that cohort’s lifecycle wealth trajectory. Beyond families’ net worth, we examine key components of net worth including housing equity, retirement savings, and non-retirement financial assets, among others. The paper also examines the differential effects of the Great Recession by race, educational attainment, income group, and, importantly, for families at different points in the life cycle. For example, we will provide evidence on how older families near retirement fared as compared with younger families who might have recently purchased a home or are accumulating savings to send a child to college. A life cycle approach distinguishes assets by their relative importance for typical households at different stages of life and it demonstrates how the power of compounding works on steady saving patterns over time. Beyond descriptive analyses, analyses will include aggregate cohort-level and family-level regressions.
The results of these analyses will help researchers and policymakers understand the disparate impact of the financial crisis and will shape policy that aims to better prepare families for financial emergencies and asset building.