Great Reset: How the Great Recession Changed Financial Habits

Investors and Consumers Save Rather Than Spend

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Five years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the triggering of the financial crisis, frugality is king when it comes to personal finances. (Published Monday, Oct 7, 2013)

    Five years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the triggering of the financial crisis, frugality is king when it comes to personal finances.

    Millions changed their financial habits after the Great Recession by becoming hesitant to invest heavily in stock markets that, for many, shrank their accounts.

    For Madeleine Bosco, the financial crisis became a reality check: the economy created a shambolic situation for consumers and investors alike.

    "I have to say, it's probably 2009 that it hit us, and that's when it was a big wake-up call that, hey, things aren't easy anymore," she said.

    An AP analysis of the 10 biggest economies found people have pulled hundreds of billions of dollars out of stocks, instead pouring money into savings.

    "When people are losing their jobs left and right, when people are very insecure about whether or not they're going to have a job around the corner, people start to tighten up," said Economic Policy Institute economist Dr. Heidi Shierholz.

    The effects of the financial crisis trickled out to international investors, particularly Asian markets.

    In Tokyo, Sahoko Tanabe saw her portfolio nearly evaporate during the crisis. This time around, she is trusting no one but herself.

    "I made huge loss and there was nothing good out of it," she said. "In the end, Lehman was the fatal blow. So, I decided to study so as not to make the same mistake."

    The Great Recession has forced a great reset when it comes to personal finances not only nationally, but globally.

    While good for the individual, the global pullback could actually harm the economy, Dr. Shierholz says.

    "They put off making a fix to their car, buying a new appliance. Doing things that you can put off, they will put off in times of economic insecurity."

    It is a need for financial safety and security that the world has not seen since World War II.