Working and retired Americans have searing memories of the financial meltdown.
People may remember 2008 and 2009 as frightening years when it felt like the world was ending. A lot of names were used at the time – "financial crisis," or "meltdown," or "downturn" – but it was, in fact, a recession, aka the Great Recession.
Specific indicators, according to economists, are what qualified the period as an actual recession.
Here's what made it a stomach-churning time.
Jobs started drying up. By the end of the recession, unemployment hit 9.5 percent and peaked at 10 percent in October 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
People lost their homes to foreclosure at a staggering rate. Foreclosures spiked to a rate far larger than in any of the previous three recessions.
Kids may not have had the same burdens as adults, but that doesn't mean they were free from financial fallout. Millennials experienced 2008-09 as vividly as their parents and the adults around them.
The crash had a radical impact on people who are now ages 27 to 35, says Shane Mason, a 31-year-old CPA and CFP in Brooklyn, New York.
Several factors combined to create an economic storm that hit millennials particularly hard: Student loan balances began ballooning, coupled with a terrible job market.
Certified financial planner Sophia Bera, founder of millennial-focused financial advisory firm Gen Y Planning, thinks the economy has made millennials cautious. "We saw our families struggle during the stock market crash of '09, and the tech stock crash," she said.