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Notes to myself, possibly of interest to others.
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Monday, February 16, 2009

Tracking the Household Balance Sheet

The survey was ... taken in 2007, but with a few adjustments we can see what the current balance sheet looks like.

On the headline level, median income fell from $47,500 to $47,300 (all figures are in constant 2007 dollars), while median net worth (assets minus liabilities) grew from $102,200 to $120,300. No surprise there: we already knew wages stagnated, while real estate and stocks appreciated. However, since the survey was conducted in 2007, median net worth fell by 17.8% according to the Fed estimate, to $99,300, and that’s just to October 2008. Given that the cumulative returns of the stock market have been about -15% since October 31, and that housing prices have fallen as well (and the Fed used a housing index that has fallen less than the Case-Shiller index*), that net worth is probably between $90,000 and $95,000 - significantly less than in 2004, and back around 1998 levels ($91,300)...

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