They'd better. The New York Times says baby boomers nearing retirement age "lost the most earnings power of any age group, with their household incomes below what they made when the recovery began three years ago" -- even as their kids were entering college and their parents were entering nursing homes. The economic downturn was a "wakeup call," according to data from Fidelity Investments, the Boston mutual fund behemoth. In a study called Five Years Later, Fidelity says the recession triggered "both positive and permanent" personal financial behaviors among boomers, even after seeing the downturn eat into their retirement savings and curb their annual income levels. According to the report, 47% of U.S. adult investors said they lost "significant income" due to the Great Recession. In dollar terms, Fidelity measures those financial losses at 34% of total investable assets at the lowest point of the recession.
In addition, 17% of heads of household lost their jobs, and 64% of U.S. adults said they were either "scared or confused" by the economic collapse. But guess what?
That's one silver lining coming out of the economic recovery playbook, and it comes at a time there's no margin for error among older workers looking for some financial stability in retirement. "These positive behavioral changes found in the survey are significant, and we are seeing a similar trend with some of our workplace participants increasing their savings since the downturn," says James M. MacDonald, president of workplace investing at Fidelity. "We're starting to witness a more engaged individual emerge over the last five years, and we've seen some of the inertia that held many back start to dissipate."