I graduated college in May 2007. In November of that same year, I got my current job with Uncle Sam. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the recession began one month later, December 2007. This means that my entire adult life has taken place during a really crappy time to try and do things. Jobs are sparse, creditors are cracking down, people actually have to be able to afford a home before they qualify for a mortgage, and the stock market is, well you know, about as stable as Charlie Sheen is sober.

When the recession is all I’ve ever known, it’s hard for me to truly understand how things have changed. Were people having jobs thrown at them? Could people really buy a house that was twice what they could actually afford? Were people’s investment portfolios making insane returns year after year? Apparently, the answer to each of those questions is “YES!”

Personally, and I don’t mean to make this sound like I’m bragging ’cause I’m really not, the Ninja household has been fortunate to not only survive during the recession, but thrive in it. In 2007, I was an unemployed college graduate with a few thousand dollars in savings and $28,000 in student loan obligations. Over the last four years, I’ve been promoted a handful of times, started this blog (which brings in $10,000-ish a year), gotten married (to a working woman), and managed to stash some serious cash in both our retirement plans and savings accounts. A lot of hard work, and definitely some dumb luck, have helped us continue moving forward

That said, we know our story is not necessarily typical. I obviously have zero real world knowledge prior to 2007, and am aware not everyone is as fortunate as we have been.

I thought it would be interesting to hear from those of you who are 28 years or older. You all experienced the “boom” and the “bust”. I want to hear your perspective on how things have changed. What was it like in the good ol days (2003 to 2007)? Did you buy a home you shouldn’t have been approved for? Could you get a new job at the snap of a finger? Have you been directly impacted by the recession in any way? I’d love some insight from people who experienced this firsthand.

For my younger readers (let’s say 27 or less), what’s your experience been with the recession? Do you feel like life is more difficult than it should be? Or since this is all you’ve ever known have you learned to roll with the punches and make it work?

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