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Average American’s Net Worth Drops to a Level You Won’t Believe — Dollars and Sense

Joe Raedle, Getty Images

According to a study done by the Federal Reserve, the net worth of the average American family dropped a stunning 40 percent between 2007 and 2010 — mostly because of the housing crisis.

The Survey of Consumer Finances, conducted every three years by the Fed, provides a snapshot of Americans’ savings, income and debt, as well as the assets and investments they own. And the most recent data, obtained last year, wasn’t pretty.

In 2007, the average homeowner’s median net worth was $246,000. But just three years later, it had dropped to about $174,000, a level not seen since 1992, thanks mainly to the sharp drop in housing prices.

But even people who don’t own homes felt the pinch. As a whole, the median net worth of all American families dropped some $50,000 between 2007 and 2010, meaning the recession caused by the housing crash wiped away nearly two decades of savings and investments.

What’s more, income levels during that period also fell almost 8 percent, leading fewer Americans to save money. While more than half still put away money for a rainy day, the number who did so in 2010 represented the lowest level recorded since the early 1990s.

But if you’re among the top 10 percent of income earners, you got a pass — families in that group actually saw their net worth increase from a median of $1.17 million in 2007 to $1.19 million in 2010.

[CNN Money]

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