The preliminary August Money Anxiety Index stands at 59.8, which is the same as it was prior to the beginning of the Great Recession in November of 2007. The Great Recession was officially declared a month later in December 2007, when the Money Anxiety Index started climbing up and then back down for a total of 9 years.
During its nearly 9-year cycle, the Money Anxiety Index peaked at 100.4 on September 2011. The climb up was much faster for the Money Anxiety Index than the road back down to its current level of 59.8. It took the Money Anxiety Index 47 months to go from 59.8 to 100.4 compared to 59 months to decrease back to its current level of 59.8.
The one-year time difference between the increase and decrease in the level of money anxiety shows that it takes longer to build confidence than to destroy it. The impact of the lost jobs, property and wealth during and in the aftermath of the Great Recession was much stronger than the impact of the job gains and economic improvement during the recovery period.
The Money Anxiety Index is an early-warning system of shifts in the economy. The index is highly predictive. It predicted the arrival of the Great Recession over a year prior to the official declaration of the recession in December of 2007. The Money Anxiety Index was developed by Dr. Dan Geller, a behavioral economist and the author of Money Anxiety.
The Money Anxiety Index measures the level of consumers' financial worry and stress based on their spending and savings levels. Historically, the Money Anxiety Index fluctuated from a high of 135.3 during the recession of the early 1980s, to a low of 38.7 in the mid 1960s.