Fed policy has cost $7.5 billion for savers: Study

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Get rid of money madness

The past 10 years have been very good for investors, but not so much for savers.

Since 2006, the S&P 500 stock market benchmark has surged more than 60 percent (and more than 200 percent if you count from the time the bull market began in 2009). In the same period, however, folks squirreling away their money in savings accounts have lost nearly $8 billion.

Both results are due in large part to a Fed policy that has sought to push money out of zero-yielding savings and money market accounts and into riskier assets, particularly stocks. (Households have about $8.4 trillion in time and savings deposits, along with another $1.05 trillion in money market funds, according to Fed data.) The goal is to create a "wealth effect" that spreads through the economy, though economic growth throughout the post-financial crisis recovery has been mired in the 2 to 2.5 percent range.

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Various academic studies have shown that the low interest rates have pushed even more money into mattresses as savers have sought to make up for not getting returns by putting away more money. The overall savings rate went from 3.3 percent in 2006 to 5.2 percent in 2016, according to research from NerdWallet, a personal finance information site.