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Buzz: Recession's toll and retirement anxieties

The Great Recession and slow-like-a-slug recovery has hit all Americans in some way, but there’s been a lot of debate about who’s been hurt worst.

By one measure, Gen X appears to win the unenviable prize. This week, the Census Bureau reported that 35- to 44-year-olds saw their median household net worth decline by more than half, on average, between 2005 and 2010.

Still, every age group took a hit, and that was reflected in what our readers had to say about the post.

About half of the more than 27,000 readers who took our survey said they were worse off financially than back in 2005.

Many complained that their homes and investments are worth less, and yet costs for things like health care were going up. For others, it’s just been really tough to find, and keep, a good job.

“Had a full time job 2 years ago. Lay off. Now working part time and still looking for that full time job. Hourly wages have going down,” one reader wrote.

Still, others said that thanks to promotions, education, marriage or smart financial planning they were doing better than seven years ago, or at least about the same.

“Much better off, but I know that a) I am blessed and b) I am the exception,” one reader wrote.

No wonder so many of us aren’t looking forward to retiring. A separate post this week reported on a survey finding that only about half of working-age Americans were actively looking forward to retirement. For those who aren’t, to cost of retiring is a big factor.

A little more than one-third of the more than 28,000 people who took our poll on that subject said they were looking forward to retirement, but were unsure if they’d have enough money for it.

Many said they’ve had to adjust their expectations for retirement, and may not be able to take as many trips or do other things.

“Won't be able to live as I had originally planned, but at least I'll be out of the rat race and enjoying life!” one reader wrote.

Still, many readers said they were more than ready to make the leap, both emotionally and financially. Some are literally counting down the days.

“I can't get there soon enough. I've got to hang on for 896 more days, then free to do what I like on my own schedule. Wooohooo,” one reader wrote.