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Old Yesterday, 07:29 AM
 
20,363 posts, read 11,300,514 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoCal_Native View Post
Moore's law (every 18 months the performance of electronics doubles)
Interest rates are around 4% now compared to 10-15% in the 1980s.
Cars for example are much better built.
Places like Walmart and Amazon are so big they pass savings on via economy of scale.
The internet
And, finally, it's possible, it's an illusion and we only think subjective things are different now.
A college degree costs ten times more in labor hours than it cost in 1970.

Fifteen hundred square feet of housing--in the exact same house--costs 10 times more than it cost in labor hours than in 1970.

A gallon of gasoline costs 10 times more in labor hours than it cost in 1970.
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Old Yesterday, 07:33 AM
 
886 posts, read 200,030 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph_Kirk View Post
A college degree costs ten times more in labor hours than it cost in 1970.

Fifteen hundred square feet of housing--in the exact same house--costs 10 times more than it cost in labor hours than in 1970.

A gallon of gasoline costs 10 times more in labor hours than it cost in 1970.
That means the cost increased 4.8% per year. That's not crazy high but probably a little higher than inflation. And cars are more reliable and get twice the MPG.

College can be really cheap if you attend a JC, live at home, transfer to a state U and still live at home and work part time for beer and gas money. Most importantly: earn a practical degree. Start building wealth as soon as you start working and have little to no student loans.

Housing in places other than LA, SF, NYC, and BOS and a few other places is consistent with wages - otherwise, nobody could buy them and builders wouldn't be building tens of thousands of homes per year.

Last edited by SoCal_Native; Yesterday at 07:44 AM..
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Old Yesterday, 07:42 AM
 
672 posts, read 211,250 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by notch on my belt View Post
Things that make life in the middle class more stressful today include: Medical Costs, Health Insurance, No Pensions (You must save for retirement yourself), school expenses for the kids that people in my day did not have to worry about, College Tuition, a second or third car with all the bells and whistles that have jacked up the costs, the costs of travel, Cable TV, Cell Phones, Out to Eat Meals, Credit Card Interest, etc.

When I was a kid we did fine, at least we thought we did because there were not so many messages by Madison Avenue and the media telling us we were nothing unless we had the latest toys and all the things I listed above.

The government says the median income for the bottom 80% of the population, adjusted to inflation, has not really moved up since the early 1980s but somehow the middle-income people are spending more on all these things. How do they do it?
Some of those things are your list are "wants" and not "needs" and far too many people are paying for them with money that they do not have. Sure, life is more expensive than it once was for the middle class (especially when it comes to education, medical care, and housing) , but the "lifestyle creep" that too many people of modest to moderate means are prone to is especially concerning as it shows a general lack of self-discipline and the ability to delay gratification.

Madison Avenue certainly told me what I needed to have when I was a kid (I'm a young Gen-Xer), but I also had parents who either said no (I usually knew better than to ask, let alone beg as that definitely would have fallen on deaf ears), made sure that the things that I coveted the most were under the tree at Christmas time, or taught me to save for what I wanted to have. Those lessons learned as a child have served me well as adult. I live quite well, if somewhat modestly in many aspects of my life keeping in mind that I can "have it all" in many ways--just not all at once.

Anecdotally, the people I know who admit to living paycheck-to-paycheck are often the same people who are taking frequent and/or extravagant vacations, paying for thousand dollar cellphones on payment plans, go out to eat for most meals, and drive cars that they cannot afford on extra long auto loans. That's all fine as it's their personal choice, but I also don't feel sorry for them when an unexpected, non-medical expense hits them and they cannot scape together the funds to cover it and have to slap it on their high-interest credit card.

Last edited by Formerly Known As Twenty; Yesterday at 07:56 AM..
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Old Yesterday, 07:51 AM
 
3,522 posts, read 2,155,595 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cougfan View Post
Case in point - I have a friend who REALLY wants to go to TopGolf - I'm sorry....but 25-45 dollars/hour plus food/drinks to go to a glorified driving range....really????

Maybe I AM that chintzy! And I'm only 53!
Yes, you are. LOL You couldn’t go with your friend one time to TopGolf(?) Split the difference maybe. Next week split a coffee at McDonald’s while sitting by your golf bags outside!

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Old Yesterday, 08:56 AM
 
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It is difficult to find apples to apples comparisons.

Following WWII was probably the time when just starting out families had it the best from that time's perspective. They achieved the lifestyle that they wanted by working the jobs that were available to them.
It would be interesting to compare a one bath, 3 bedroom house of 1948 with the same size & features set up today along with low features vehicles to same....and see how cost of living works out vs similar type employment.
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Old Yesterday, 08:56 AM
 
20,363 posts, read 11,300,514 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoCal_Native View Post
That means the cost increased 4.8% per year. That's not crazy high but probably a little higher than inflation. And cars are more reliable and get twice the MPG.

College can be really cheap if you attend a JC, live at home, transfer to a state U and still live at home and work part time for beer and gas money. Most importantly: earn a practical degree. Start building wealth as soon as you start working and have little to no student loans.

Housing in places other than LA, SF, NYC, and BOS and a few other places is consistent with wages - otherwise, nobody could buy them and builders wouldn't be building tens of thousands of homes per year.
You don't seem to understand the point.

If the amount of labor hours it takes to purchase a standard item is increasing--even despite rising technological advantages--then the standard of living is decreasing in real terms.

If a person has to work more hours to purchase the same item, then his standard of living has decreased.

The fact that purchase methods have become more creative to make purchasing possible does not change that.
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Old Yesterday, 09:13 AM
 
886 posts, read 200,030 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph_Kirk View Post
You don't seem to understand the point.

If the amount of labor hours it takes to purchase a standard item is increasing--even despite rising technological advantages--then the standard of living is decreasing in real terms.

If a person has to work more hours to purchase the same item, then his standard of living has decreased.

The fact that purchase methods have become more creative to make purchasing possible does not change that.
More low paid, low skilled people lowering the average wage?
Does a specific occupation experience this? For example do engineers of today have it worse than engineers of yesterday?
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Old Yesterday, 09:27 AM
 
20,363 posts, read 11,300,514 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoCal_Native View Post
For example do engineers of today have it worse than engineers of yesterday?
Yes, in terms of having to work more hours to purchase a gallon of gas or a gallon of milk or the same house purchased 50 years ago.
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Old Yesterday, 09:48 AM
 
Location: DFW/Texas
778 posts, read 702,881 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by damba View Post
Yes, you are. LOL You couldn’t go with your friend one time to TopGolf(?) Split the difference maybe. Next week split a coffee at McDonald’s while sitting by your golf bags outside!


My husband goes to Top Golf about once a year with his dad and/or buddies and has a great time. He spends about $75-100 for just himself and that's going all out- paying his portion of the Uber/Top Golf, drinks and bar food. Would I want him to do it every weekend or even once a month? Eh, probably not, but, considering that a lot of the golf courses in DFW can be $75+ for a Saturday AM round, Top Golf provides a nice alternative.

Everyone has a different definition of what "middle class" really is. It amazes me that people can complain that they "have no money" to have experiences or the like, but then they drive up in a new SUV that stickers at $60K, pull a new $1K phone out of their pocket and show me into their house that cost $600K. Uhhhh, what? LOL!

To me, middle class is:
1. Nice/decent house in a safe neighborhood
2. Good cars with reasonable payments (to me, reasonable is $300 a month or below so that probably means a USED car, gasp!)
3. Quality public schools for your kids.

4. One nice vacation per year.

5. Being able to still save for rainy days and retirement while paying your bills.

6. Splurging on something once in awhile, whether it be a new electronic or experience and PAYING FOR IT ALL AT ONCE.

I don't know, I suppose it all depends on what you choose to make important to you and your family. If having the latest and greatest in phones and cars is what's important, then expect to pay for them and don't whine about the cost.
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Old Yesterday, 10:03 AM
 
672 posts, read 211,250 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Berrie143 View Post
My husband goes to Top Golf about once a year with his dad and/or buddies and has a great time. He spends about $75-100 for just himself and that's going all out- paying his portion of the Uber/Top Golf, drinks and bar food. Would I want him to do it every weekend or even once a month? Eh, probably not, but, considering that a lot of the golf courses in DFW can be $75+ for a Saturday AM round, Top Golf provides a nice alternative.

Everyone has a different definition of what "middle class" really is. It amazes me that people can complain that they "have no money" to have experiences or the like, but then they drive up in a new SUV that stickers at $60K, pull a new $1K phone out of their pocket and show me into their house that cost $600K. Uhhhh, what? LOL!

To me, middle class is:
1. Nice/decent house in a safe neighborhood
2. Good cars with reasonable payments (to me, reasonable is $300 a month or below so that probably means a USED car, gasp!)
3. Quality public schools for your kids.

4. One nice vacation per year.

5. Being able to still save for rainy days and retirement while paying your bills.

6. Splurging on something once in awhile, whether it be a new electronic or experience and PAYING FOR IT ALL AT ONCE.

I don't know, I suppose it all depends on what you choose to make important to you and your family. If having the latest and greatest in phones and cars is what's important, then expect to pay for them and don't whine about the cost.
That is the middle class in which I was raised and in which all three of my parent's children now live, albeit one of the three of us is in what would considered to to be the lower rungs of the upper middle class.

Money on which to live, money to save, and enough money for a few "extras"--that's what being in the middle class has always meant to me with the addition of having the benefits of being around people who value education (even if they were not able to obtain higher education for themselves) and who are life-long learners no matter what their profession or trade.
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