Less than golden years

Source: New York Times (Free Registration)

Even before the housing bubble, the country was facing a retirement crisis, with most Americans saving too little, if anything, for their post-working years. The housing bubble — and subsequent bust — have made that bad situation worse. As house prices surged through the middle of this decade, the already low savings rate turned negative. Many Americans were living beyond their means, in part, because swelling home values created an illusion of wealth. Now, with house prices falling, nearly 10 million people have lost all of their home equity. Millions more have given up all of the gains of the boom years — a wipeout totaling $3.5 trillion, so far.

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