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The financial landscape of decades past

MoneyRates.com Senior Financial Analyst, CFA
January 05, 2012

As 2012 begins, the economic picture seems pretty bleak. But looking back, no matter how rose-colored our memories of the past might be, each era has brought its own serious financial challenges. In the slides that follow, MoneyRates.com looks at the last 50 years in 10-year increments. And what you'll see is that each decade brought challenges that, for the most part, have been faced successfully.

Remember When? Money through the decades.

A young president faces tough challenges


A nostalgic view of 1962 evokes images of the Camelot White House, "Lawrence of Arabia" thrilling movie goers, and the New York Yankees winning the World Series. However, 1962 was also the year that the Cuban missile crisis brought the world to the brink of nuclear disaster, while racial tensions mounted here at home.

Economically, 1962 was a good year for the job market. The unemployment rate, which had topped 7 percent at times in 1961, ended 1962 at 5.5 percent. Inflation ran at a cool 1.3 percent for the year, even as economic growth accelerated from 2.3 percent the prior year to 6.1 percent for 1962. Home buyers enjoyed affordable mortgage rates that ranged between 5.5 and 6 percent, but savers were surely less happy about earning short-term interest rates of less than 3 percent.

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