What to Know About What the Great Recession Cost You

Have you heard about Spiders Georg? If you've spent enough time in the sillier corners of the internet, you probably have. For the uninitiated, he's the star of a meme about statistics. The entire joke is this: "average person eats 3 spiders a year" factoid actualy just statistical error. average person eats 0 spiders per year. Spiders Georg, who lives in cave & eats over 10,000 each day, is an outlier adn should not have been counted

Last week, you may have seen the headlines blaring: The Great Recession, fast approaching its 10th anniversary, cost every American $70,000 in lifetime earnings. The numbers aren't just pulled out of thin air either — they come from the Federal Reserve. The American, British, and European economies are still significantly below what their pre-crisis trends suggested. That's worrisome for all of us: "When the economy is doing poorly or in a recession, favorable financial conditions may not necessarily stimulate economic activity if there are no investment opportunities," write the Federal Reserve economists. "As such, financial conditions may cool a hot economy but might not heat up a cool one."

If you're not already mad, consider Spiders Georg. While each American losing $70,000 would affect different socioeconomic groups differently no matter what, analysts suspect that the wealthiest Americans have actually made it through just fine. TL;DR: That 70 grand is actually probably a lowball number. "Those in the top 10 percent saw median wealth jump by 26.6 percent since 2007," writes Erik Sherman for Forbes. "Everyone else was at best almost back to where they were (80th to 89.9th percentiles) or significantly worse off (all others)."

Economics is called "the dismal science" for good reason, and it's always worth maintaining your skepticism when experts sound off about the future of the markets. That said, whatever the past or the future may hold, making plans to save and grow your money is always timely.