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Lessons From the Recession

Sep 01, 2013
Millions lost their homes, savings and jobs in 2008 when the economy went into free fall. What have we learned?

The Great Recession officially lasted from December 2007 to June 2009, but it sure seemed longer.

The economy cratered, crushing the real estate and stock markets, destroying $18.9 trillion of household wealth and wiping out more than 8 million jobs.

But we endured — and like those who suffered through the Great Depression, we absorbed some truths about personal finance in the process. Now that the economic picture is brightening, we need to make sure we don't forget the hard lessons we learned. Below are six of the most important.

1. Just because you can qualify to borrow money doesn't mean you should

Today's low rates have tempted many Americans to refinance and extend their mortgages before they retire. That's not a good idea, says Eleanor Blayney, [CFP®,] a certified financial planner and consumer advocate for the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. "Those monthly payments can lock you into a lifestyle you can't adjust in bad times — and if you retire today at 65, history shows you're likely to live through two or three more economic downturns." 
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AARP Bulletin
Lynn Brenner
September, 2013

 

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