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Low-interest rates giveth, high-interest rates taketh away.

What happened: American households saw the third consecutive quarterly decline in net worth during Q3, as stocks were pummeled by rising interest rates.

Why it matters: Household net worth — which includes the value of assets such as 401(k)s and residential real estate — is a ballpark estimate for the aggregate wealth of Americans.

  • Economists have long theorized that perceptions of net worth influence economic decisions, as rising wealth levels help people feel more confident about spending money. This relationship is known as the wealth effect.