Better or Worse Off? [Survey Results]
A couple of weeks ago, Marc Miller published a blog post posing the question, Are you Better or Worse Off Since the End of the Great Recession? In that post, Marc discussed the four better or worse off areas listed below as they relate to his life since the great recession:
- Physical Health
- Career Status
- Happiness Level
Marc’s assessment of his life showed that he was better off in his current physical health and career. His finances, which took a hit during the great recession, have since recovered and conto he to be on track for success.
Also included in the post was a survey for readers. We asked them to answer the same questions as well as to provide comments about their personal experiences in regard to the four better or worse off areas and the great recession.
Our survey was open for approximately two weeks and we received 82 responses. The following is a summary of the survey results and comments from some of our participants.
36% of respondents said that they took a big financial hit from the great recession and are beginning to recover. This was followed by 25% of respondents indicating that they took a big financial hit and never recovered.
Some comments from our respondents:
- The recession isn’t over by a long shot.
- Investments still have not recouped, but I invested more, made more until 2016.
- Income has been flat, but the increased property taxes and more out-of-pocket costs for health care make my family worse-off financially.
- Nothing to do with the economy. My wife & I planned ahead and so we were entirely out of debt when it hit.
- I never sold any stocks and had to wait for the market to come back, and it did!
Are people better or worse off financially since the end of the great recession?
As indicated by the results, people believe we are still worse off financially. Most were hit hard during the great recession and continue to struggle to regain their financial footing.
The majority of respondents said that their physical health has declined since the great recession, followed by the other, who indicated that their health was about the same.
Here are some comments from the respondents about their physical health:
- I have had autoimmune issues, partly induced by stress from the economy.
- I have made major improvements in my diet and physical exercise routine over the past 3 years.
- Financial stress: job-search and new-job stress.
- No insurance until ACA (Affordable Care Act) went into effect (couldn’t afford private insurance I’d had for 40 years anymore) and now Medicare has helped with joint replacements. My health from stress suffered, but now on a better path.
Are people better or worse off in their physical health since the end of the great recession?
The overall answer to this question is similar: some are better off in their physical health, while others are struggling with their physical health.
Based on the comments, it seems that those who controlled or managed the stress in their life by going to the gym, walking, or eating right felt the same or better about their health.
Those who said their health has declined since the great recession were more likely to be stressed about finances and career, or had an unexpected illness that required additional medication and treatment.
The third area we asked about in our survey was career status. The majority of respondents said that they were currently working in a job that was below their skill level. The next group said they were looking for another job or were unemployed.
Comments from the respondents:
- 3 layoffs in six years
- I am actually a consultant with specialized skills. I am burned out. I need a drastic change. I am fortunate to have been so successful, but am ready to move on. I can’t see the forest for the trees. My skill set is diminishing.
- My employer fired all those who were eligible for retirement to reduce overhead. They were given a retirement party and “thanked” for their years of service. Total joke. In the next wave, after ten years of being classified as a key contributor, I was stripped of my job. The responsibilities were transferred to my 32-year-old manager. I went from a Contracts Administrator to a glorified file clerk. I took the job for the medical benefits. At 61, I will not find a job making my previous salary. My management team knows that and used it against me.
- Starting our own company. Don’t want to go back to work for “The Man” again. After all, I’ve been hit by five different layoffs.
- When I wanted to switch jobs, I didn’t have a problem finding a new one.
- Decided to leave long-term career due to terrible market. Could not find another job and took early retirement. Now that my health is better, I want to look for part-time work to supplement Social Security, which does not cover all my expenses.
Are people better or worse off in their career status since the end of the great recession?
The majority of respondents believe they are still worse off in their careers since the great recession.
We received many comments in this part of the survey. People are still struggling to find a job or are working a job well below their pay or skill set. Many people are simply working at jobs for medical benefits or to reach retirement.
On the brighter side, some enterprising respondents said they were starting their own businesses so they are in control of their career and the money they make.
Our final area that we asked respondents for feedback on was the level of happiness in their life since the great recession. Two responses both received 33%: people felt some happiness or people felt moderately happy with their life.
Comments about the level of happiness:
- Happy but struggling. Having to use 401k to pay bills.
- Learning to “manage” anxiety because I will probably never completely get rid of it.
- I want more family time. I miss them when I am at work. Struggling to find my balance. Begging for a change but I don’t know what that change is. 6 months off would do me a world of good.
- With little reserve money due to a low-paying job, we worry about unexpected expenses and need to scrimp all the time.
- I’m doing what I love. My time is my own. I probably wouldn’t have done it if the economy hadn’t been bad.
- Without enough money to keep up, I worry about the future.
- As I have guided three kids through college and seen them get good jobs, happiness has gone up.
- Despite hardships, I’d say I’m fairly content. I try not to obsess on my limited financials, but focus on enjoying free time wit’s friends and family. Had always been fairly frugal, so my lifestyle has not been affected too much. Would like to build savings and have funds for some extras, but my family and friends are more important.
Are people better or worse off in their level of happiness since the end of the great recession?
Again, we see that the overall response to this question is similar: some are moderately happy in their life, while others believe that there is some happiness in their life.
The split response for the area of happiness tells us that people are still struggling with finances, careers, and their health. These struggles are due to bad luck, poor decisions, or factors outside of their control.
Others may have all the same issues but have accepted them and are working to make them better.
What do you think about the results?
Do you agree with them?
Check out past Career Pivot survey results here.
This post was written by Elizabeth Rabaey, a Baby Boomer herself, is a creative with a love for details. She has spent over 20 plus years working for environmental engineering and consulting companies providing project management and technical assistance on many innovative engineering projects. She has applied creative, literary and scientific skills to these projects to help the client maintain a profitable business operation and protect humans, health, and the environment. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.
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