Boomers’ wealth falls around 40%

Closeup of quarter

A new report shows just how badly baby boomers have been hurt by the collapse of the housing and stock markets just a few years before they should be retiring.

The Center for Economic and Policy Research recently looked at how much wealth boomers lost from 2004 to 2009.

It found that many baby boomers have little, if any, equity in their homes, thanks to declining home prices (and, we suspect, some disastrous decisions to yank cash from their properties during the housing boom).

Nearly 30% of late boomers -- those 45 to 54 years old -- and 15% of early boomers -- 55-to-64-year-olds -- now owe more on their homes than they are worth.

Boomer retirement accounts and other investments have been seriously depleted by the bear market that's driven the major stock indexes down more than 40% from their peak in October 2007.

By the end of the year, the study says the median household in the 45-to-54 age range will have seen its net worth fall by more than 45% since 2004 to just over $80,000. (That's including home equity.)

Early baby boomers, those closest to retirement, will have lost 38% of their net worth and seen their median wealth fall to $140,000.

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