Asma Khalid

Updated at 11:35 a.m. ET

The wild swings in the stock market in the last two weeks grabbed headlines and were hard to miss for most Americans.

But do those market gyrations actually affect anyone's day-to-day finances?

Relatively few Americans actively trade or own stocks. But a 10 percent drop in the markets can affect our attitudes about the economy, even for those who don't invest, says James Poterba, president of the National Bureau of Economic Research and an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.