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America’s Total Net Worth is Up. Is Yours?

This article was written by in Personal Finance. 10 comments.


The total net worth among Americans has risen to $53 trillion, the highest this measure has been since the end of 2007. At that point, Americans were worth $65 trillion. The increase this past quarter of $2 trillion was the first increase in this measure since 2007.

I am taking this as a good sign for the economy. In addition to this increase, overall personal debt is not increasing. Even though some markets are still slow and unemployment is still high, when consumers start feeling better about the economy, these should improve. I’m still waiting for interest rates for savings accounts to start climbing again more than just a few hundredths of a percentage point like Ally Bank.

On the other hand, the stock market has been the primary driver behind the increase in net worth, and it’s quite possible that stocks have recovered too much too quickly. If the current recession is over, another might be around the corner. The stock market helped my net worth increase, in addition to income, over the past few years, but this might just be the result a temporary rally.

Has your net worth been increasing over the last few months, and if so, how are you increasing it?

Updated June 16, 2011 and originally published September 21, 2009. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar savvy

While our net worth has been increasing, only a small part is due to the stock market recovering. We’re merely continuing to do what we’ve always done – contribute to our 401ks and IRAs and add a little to the mortgage payment each month.

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avatar wayne

Net Worth has increased steadily since beginning of the year. Not yet to the high in 05/08 but steady. Only change was to recently increase my 401k contribution (17%) to where it was last year. Reduced it end of last year to build up emergency fund. All other monthly contribution have stayed the same.

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avatar David@DINKS Finance

The stock market is definitely to blame for the increase in our nation’s net worth. In my opinion, it is seriously overvalued so this net worth isn’t likely to be sustained. I see the market dropping again and gold shooting up to $1,200 or so.

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avatar Ellen / MoneyLounge

Like you, I am also optimistically taking this as a good sign for the economy. I am hopeful that we do see a definite turn-around in things and that we can start confidently using the R-word.

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avatar Sick of Debt

My net worth has been going up all through the recession, so the recent changes in America’ Net Worth haven’t made a difference. It’s basically been a focus on improving my career earnings, improving employment security, cutting expenses, and paying off debts.

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avatar Enrique S

My net worth has increased this year, mostly from my 401(k) contributions and delaying major purchases. The market value of my house has increased about $5K this year, so that’s an unexpected bonus.

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avatar Candide

Depends on the value of my house–I bought (and sold) in 2007, so while the stock market has come back, I don’t think my house has regained the $150k or so it lost in value in two years. Also, I wished I shared your optimism; I think unemployment is gonna be high for a while.

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avatar JoeTaxpayer

We were up 12% in the second quarter, still down 18% from the peak, which for us was Q3 07.
House is about 30% of our net worth, and I don’t adjust it frequently, that would just confuse things.

From that peak, when I remove house, we are down 24% vs S&P 30%. But, in those 2 years there were dividends not in the index (so over time you can beat the Index but not usually when you account for dividends) nor our deposits which were about 4% of net worth or so.

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avatar ctreit

Yes, our net worth has also increased because of the stock market rally, but we have not banked the increase yet. So, we can lose that rebound in our net worth any day again.

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avatar Jason @ One Money Design

Our net worth is increasing. Mainly because we have not changed our debt reduction strategy and have continued contributions to 401K, with company matching minimum, regardless of the recession.

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