The biggest percentage (34.9%) reported they now save more for retirement, while 30.2% each indicated they’ve cut down on spending and they’re paying off their debts. Twenty-three percent said they pay more attention to their investments, and nearly 21% each said they save more in general and they’ve consulted with a financial adviser.
More than 18% invest more conservatively; 11.6% have sought more knowledge about investments; and 7% invest more aggressively. Nearly 5% reported they no longer use credit cards. More than 16% have made no financial changes since the recession.
“Other” (9.3%) responses included changing the planned age for retirement, buying a vacation home at the bottom of the market, refinancing mortgage and buying what they want.In verbatim comments, many readers shared lessons they learned from the recession and many shared advice. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “It is interesting to me that my Gen-Y child learned from my mistakes so well. At the tender age of 23, she bought her first home, has a full time job, and is working upwards, has her business on the side, attends school part time, and still manages to save both personally and for retirement! I, on the other hand, am struggling to live debt free. I no longer count on the American dream of home ownership, I live the American despair of massive medical bills, and figuring out who and how to pay from payday to payday. When I die, my headstone can read ‘I raised smart, hard-working children… that’s why they can afford this dandy headstone!’”
Diversification while good is absolutely essential!
Learned that the formerly conservative 7% investment return default built into modeling tools now seems irrationally exuberant, and will for the foreseeable future.
I watched many employees get out late and it hurt them. As much as I hated to at the time I rode it out and now am back in the black
It is interesting to me that my Gen-Y child learned from my mistakes so well. At the tender age of 23, she bought her first home, has a full time job, and is working upwards, has her business on the side, attends school part time, and still manages to save both personally and for retirement! I, on the other hand, am struggling to live debt free. I no longer count on the American dream of home ownership, I live the American despair of massive medical bills, and figuring out who and how to pay from payday to payday. When I die, my headstone can read "I raised smart, hard-working children...that's why they can afford this dandy headstone!"
I made savings a "bill" that needs paid every payroll. Therefore, I transfer an amount to my savings account each pay which has helped me to build up that important "emergency fund". It also helps that I setup my debit card to NOT allow me to withdraw from savings via an ATM. This makes the money more difficult to access.
I've become more focused on asset allocation and risk rebalancing in my retirement accounts.
It looks like those that don't work are going to get all the benefits so I decided if you can’t beat them join them! Quitting my job!
I was already making good contributions and had a good investment allocation. I followed the advice of many advisers to "stay the course." I did not stop contributing or move my assets to a more conservative allocation, as many of our participants did, solidifying their losses, despite our many communications to calm the waters, telling them to think of scooping up shares on sale as they would scoop up shoes or clothing at a fantastic sale price.
I should have bought stocks when they were falling!
There was a lesson in the recession?
Having lived through several downturns, I have adopted a practical (v. jaded) understanding that "what goes up usually comes down." I stay invested throughout downturns and do not attempt to time the markets.
I'm investing more conservatively and paying down debt, but at my stage in life, I would have been doing that anyway. So I haven't really made any unplanned changes.
Always have sufficient cash to buy when markets are low; limit debt by living within your means; ALWAYS know what your personal balance sheet and income/expense flow stand.
CASH IS KING :)!!
Never believe in a sure thing
Most important things to do are stay out of voluntary debt and keep home/car debt at reasonable levels. Bells and whistles are nice but they really are not necessary to sustain life. Being able to buy food and water and have shelter, however, is necessary. Apply common sense before spending!
It brought us back to reality. Debt is never a good thing, houses were way over-priced, and greed, in the end, still seems to have paid off for the big guys.
Maybe one should consider listening when someone says "been there - done that". By the way, I have.
I believe we need to be prepared for a much deeper recession (depression) within the next few years, which will wipe out a lot of value in pensions and savings.
Economists notwithstanding, I think we're not yet "post-recession", and even if we are technically, I think there's a pretty constant sense that we're going to slip back at nearly any minute. Economies rise and fall, of course, but this "recovery" feels like one declared by politicians, and just about as believe able. If you don't believe me, ask Ben Bernancke. Or, better yet, WATCH him.
I am nearing retirement and moved a large share of my 401(k) to fixed income when the stock market had recovered about 95 percent of its loss. I've missed out on subsequent increases, but that's ok. Prior to the crash I would not have moved my funds as I'm concerned about longevity.
NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not the stance of Asset International or its affiliates.