The great recession of 2007-2010 wiped out almost 40%, or two decades worth, of Americans' wealth, the Federal Reserve said last year. This dramatic shift in wealth will have a major impact across all aspects of family and wealth, not only for the middle class but also for wealthier people and business owners.

The brunt of the blow fell on the backs of the middle class because their major financial asset and wealth builder—real estate in their homes—was so negatively impacted. According to the Fed study, the median value of Americans' stake in their homes fell by 42% between 2007 and 2010, to $55,000, or where they were in 1992. Losing a job for an extended amount of time also set the middle class back, severely affecting their retirement savings plans and restricting their access to credit in the future because of missed payments.

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