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Old 01-08-2017, 04:17 AM
 
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A group of us were talking about the good old days. Most people said that if you were a professional person in the 1960s and 70s you actually made more money than today adjusted to inflation. You were actually living better and were able to buy more stuff with your money than today. Your standard of living was higher.

Is there a way to find out what professionals with college degrees were making in a certain year (lets say 1967) and adjust that figure to the 2017 cost of living and wages for similar jobs? For example, would a CPA (Accountant) working for a large Public Accounting Firm have a higher standard of living in 1967 or in 2017, if they were doing the same job, the same type of company, had the same level of responsibility and worked in the same city?
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Old 01-08-2017, 04:29 AM
 
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what does college have to do with being "professional"? many people have college degrees and not work professional jobs, leave the college part out of title, it has no relevance to thread, you didnt even mention it in post

if they were better off in the 60-70s, then it was because they had better financial sense to not spend more than they made

not 100% sure a "degree" is required for a cpa, online it seems to say someone would need 150 hours of education, but does not directly mention them actually requiring the degree. not sure why anyone would do this, but if they could document the education credits, it seems possible to sit for cpa without a degree?
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Old 01-08-2017, 06:12 AM
 
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Surely you acknowledge a correlation between professional jobs and college degrees, so I don't understand why you're jumping all over that. Also the question goes beyond spending more than one makes, if someone with median salary in 1970 could buy more (or less) house, car, loaves of bread, etc. with that salary that is what the thread is interested in.

Yes, as far as I know (rules vary by state) there is a requirement of a college degree and semester hours from an accredited source to be a CPA.
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Old 01-08-2017, 06:39 AM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
26,900 posts, read 58,020,547 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curious Investor View Post
...if you were a professional person in the 1960s and 70s
you actually made more money than today adjusted to inflation.
Absolutely.
But the distinction that is most meaningful is that the jobs that most college educated held..
actually required having the degree to do them and well. And they also worked fewer hours.

Quote:
...would a CPA (Accountant) working for a large Public Accounting Firm have a higher standard of living in 1967 or in 2017,
if they were doing the same job, the same type of company, had the same level of responsibility and worked in the same city?
That's too narrow a focus but still might be interesting.

Instead, look into the para-professional jobs around the CPA.
When "secretary" became "administrative assistant" what effect did that have on them...
and the compensation package and the number of hours. It's disheartening.

Rather few "degree required" jobs today actually require a degree to do them and well.
But the employers still demand it but mostly as a filter to keep out the generally inferior
high school grads as compared to what qualities most high school grads had in years past.
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Old 01-08-2017, 07:01 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MLSFan View Post
what does college have to do with being "professional"? ......

not 100% sure a "degree" is required for a cpa......

"Professional" jobs are those which require advanced education and training. Since about half the US population of high school kids are going on to get college degrees, the term is all but synonymous with jobs requiring a college degree. The BLS uses this term and you can check to see what occupations they include. This includes doctors, lawyers, and a great many other occupations where education beyond a 4 year degree is required. Also included are jobs which generally require a 4 year degree such as architect, nurse, engineer, and accountant. Jobs such as LPN or dental hygienist, which do not usually require a 4 year degree are not included.


Sure there are some "professional" level jobs which are held by people without 4 year degrees. Many jobs do not require any sort of certification. Even with certification, there are often exceptions. I also am not 100% sure about CPAs. There maybe some few individuals who have been "grandfathered" into the field and are certified. That is no longer the case and a degree is required in each of the 50 States. I am sure there are other "professional" occupations were a small minority of the job holders do had have degrees. Those numbers will dwindle with time as employers are way more likely to hire individuals with college degrees even if not strictly required by certification.


Back to the OP's actual concern. I think you would need to research each individual job classification to see how inflation adjusted salaries have changed over time. Overall changes in inflation adjusted salaries have received a lot of attention. The median for all workers increased up until the 80s. There has not been much forward momentum since then. Of course, there were also decreased real median salaries following the 2008 recession. We also know that the bottom portion of the middle class has been suffering. Those without degrees or skills have been sinking rapidly. The factors impacting the unskilled are numerous and relentless: globalization, computerization, robotics, big agriculture and big ranching, and many others including competition with illegal aliens. So the median is relatively unchanged in recent decades, the bottom has been sinking, so the top has to be doing at least somewhat better, overall.
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Old 01-08-2017, 07:51 AM
 
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According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the average starting salary for a college grad in 1965 was $7,257. That would be about $53,000 today. In inflation-adjusted terms, starting salaries peaked in 1969, and have been lower ever since. There has of course been a major expansion at the other end of the scale as high-end, end-of-career salaries have grown substantially since the 1960s.
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Old 01-08-2017, 11:39 AM
 
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I have my doubts about these sorts of long term comparisons. I think it is difficult to accurately put a number on inflation. Then to make those estimates over 50 or 60 years just magnifies the potential errors. I also remember my salary from my first job in 1970. It was a pretty decent job, but the pay at $7700 was way short of the charts. Something else seems more than strange about this data. The listed current salaries seem screwy. Does a new out of school English major really start at over $50K? I also went back and checked my daughter's starting engineering salary in 2011. She started with a prestigious company in downtown San Francisco and made $10k less than the charts. The data is highly suspect in my opinion. It seems to come from asking schools what graduates are being paid. I am not even sure how that would work. I have never had a school ask me how much I was being paid. Nor would I tell them if they asked.
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Old 01-08-2017, 11:43 AM
 
9,477 posts, read 4,768,535 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curious Investor View Post
A group of us were talking about the good old days. Most people said that if you were a professional person in the 1960s and 70s you actually made more money than today adjusted to inflation. You were actually living better and were able to buy more stuff with your money than today. Your standard of living was higher.

Is there a way to find out what professionals with college degrees were making in a certain year (lets say 1967) and adjust that figure to the 2017 cost of living and wages for similar jobs? For example, would a CPA (Accountant) working for a large Public Accounting Firm have a higher standard of living in 1967 or in 2017, if they were doing the same job, the same type of company, had the same level of responsibility and worked in the same city?
CPA don't make much money. My sister was a CPA starting in early 1970s and she also worked at one of the Big 4 or Big 8 back then. She is the poorest in our fairly. Never made rough to pay rent for an apartment, always rent a room from somebody. She only live by herself in the late 90s. That's a long time to be poor.
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Old 01-08-2017, 12:23 PM
 
Location: Metro Detroit, Michigan
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If college grads were paid better back in the 1960's, it's probably because everyone and their brother wasn't going to college to get a degree. The market seems quite saturated today. And it also seems that many schools have reduced their standards of admission, and even watered down their programs. This would reduce the value of the degree in my opinion.
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Old 01-08-2017, 01:14 PM
 
Location: Central IL
13,465 posts, read 7,173,474 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewbieHere View Post
CPA don't make much money. My sister was a CPA starting in early 1970s and she also worked at one of the Big 4 or Big 8 back then. She is the poorest in our fairly. Never made rough to pay rent for an apartment, always rent a room from somebody. She only live by herself in the late 90s. That's a long time to be poor.
Really? My aunt and uncle were both CPAs...they retired in their 40's and traveled the world until they hit 90. Now, I heard they had insider stock tips - they were heavily invested in the blue chips of the day...but they had tons of money and basically did whatever they wanted. CPAs are not "bookkeepers" ya know.
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