The Urban Institute reports that Americans' retirement accounts lost $1.6 trillion of their value in the 12 months from 9-30-07 through 9-30-08. That's a bit over 18%. The losses have had the effect of reducing the average retirement account held by people age 50 and over from $105,000 in 2007 to $89,000 this year.
The report also indicates that more older Americans are still working after the age of 65.
Meanwhile Richard Fuld, the former CEO at bankrupt Lehman Brothers lost more than the average Joe (either Sixpack or Plumber). Near the end of his career, he sold 2.88 million shares of his company for less than $500, 000. They had been worth $247 million 18 months before.
But I don't feel too sorry for ole Dick. Bloomberg reported in September that he realized almost half a billion dollars from sales of Lehman stock during his 14 years at the helm.
I got some pig lips around here someplace.
Update: make that $2 trillion over the past 15 months. See here for details. And see here for an opinion about what that would have meant for folks if their Social Security benefits had been invested in the equity market.
Hint: They'd be screwed.