In contrast, people remember earlier decades as an exciting time of innovative music, hippies, free love, space exploration, mini skirts and flared trousers.
Impressions of the 1980s include the "loadsamoney" economic boom and the political dominance of Margaret Thatcher, with fashion and music still high up on the list, according to the survey of 2,000 adults, by global investment managers Templeton.
A Templeton spokesman, Ken Nicholson, said it may be that bad memories faded with time, so the 90s would ultimately be remembered for more positive reasons. "Clearly it's the sounds and the visual images that dominate over time.
"The big question is, in 20 years, will we have forgotten the rise of the Internet, John Major, unemployment and the recession and simply remember Brit Pop and the Spice Girls?"
The findings emerged from a guide which the company compiled to track whether world events such as wars and the moon landing had any effect on the financial performance of investments.
"The conclusion was they didn't," said Mr Nicholson.
"Just as the global events of the past 40 years have faded in people's memories, they have also had little lasting impact on long-term investment values."Reuse content