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Old 08-07-2019, 10:38 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
30,788 posts, read 49,656,094 times
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'using today's middle class lifestyle' ... has only been available right now.

Much of what you might consider to be middle class was not available before.
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Old 08-07-2019, 10:50 AM
 
769 posts, read 498,791 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.
Could not agree more.
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Old 08-07-2019, 11:16 AM
 
969 posts, read 249,047 times
Reputation: 2176
Quote:
Originally Posted by Submariner View Post
'using today's middle class lifestyle' ... has only been available right now.

Much of what you might consider to be middle class was not available before.
No, just different "things."

Your Roku was a VCR. Your cell phone plan was a landline with crazy long-distance rates.
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Old 08-07-2019, 11:56 AM
 
21 posts, read 5,329 times
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Things cheaper today adjusted to inflation than 50 years ago:

Food (at grocery stores)
Clothes (regular clothes you would get at a place like JC Penny and other mid-priced outfits)
Electronics, Appliances
Air Travel
Gasoline (much of it due to better MPG)
Lots of stuff found at Walmart and the Dollar Store
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Old 08-07-2019, 03:25 PM
 
12,435 posts, read 18,521,658 times
Reputation: 19535
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.
Housing and college perhaps, but where do you get the gas figure from? There have been spikes in the 1980s, and 2008 and 2012. But inflation adjusted, today it's about the same price it was in 1970 (note the below only goes to 2015, it's slightly lower now). 1970 was a low price for gas by the way, we can also say inflation adjusted that today it's much cheaper than prior years.

I know you are using "labor hours" and are going to use the argument that wages have not kept up with inflation, but I think your sources are playing with the statistics because no way is it 10 times, or 5 times, or even 2 times.

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Old 08-07-2019, 03:45 PM
 
5,581 posts, read 2,368,229 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by notch on my belt View Post
There has been a flurry of stories recently in the news talking about how much the middle class has been struggling financially. As a person who has closely watched economics and personal finance stories in the news for over 40 years, I have to say I don't remember a year in my lifetime where the middle class did not struggle financially. It seemed like every year there was a story in the news about how the middle class is struggling.

The articles that are being written today seem to be saying that middle-class people have it harder TODAY than in the past. It is easier to make that blanket statement, but harder to back it up. Was there a date(s) in the last 60 years where middle-income people had it easier and could live a 2019 version of the middle-class lifestyle without watching their budget and getting into debt? What year in our history did the middle class have the highest standard of living?

If things are so great today economically, why is there an uptick this year in the media stories about middle-class struggles?

Because they have to write about something. Their job is to afflict the comfortable.



Do yourself a kindness. Look at the material wealth of the middle class from 50-60 years ago. Back then, middle-class families might have had two cars. I grew up in a decidedly middle-class neighborhood and no family had three. The square footage of their homes were far less in order to accommodate bigger families, roughly half the square footage in new homes as it is today. Air conditioning was a relatively new luxury. The prices of appliances, indexed to inflation, were exorbitant compared to what far superior appliances cost today. The vacations were modest. The number of clothes would be paltry by today's standards and the entertainment options would be equally pathetic. Unemployment rates are as low, yet earning power is higher. Our health is better, our cost of food is lower, and the list goes on and on and on. We have computers, smartphones, internet, and a wealth of entertainment options. Because the world is become flatter by the year, people who don't live in huge cities have more cultural options.

And that doesn't even begin to take into account the number of people for whom the middle-class lifestyle with all its opportunities was completely off limits. Most African Americans and Latinos. Unmarried women. The elderly.

Sorry. But anybody who tells me that the middle class has it worse today isn't paying attention to reality of what it was like back then. If you are a middle-class household today, you are living in miraculous times compared to the way your grandparents or great-grandparents lived. The problem isn't in increased costs, but in increased expectations.
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Old 08-07-2019, 04:06 PM
 
969 posts, read 249,047 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MinivanDriver View Post
Sorry. But anybody who tells me that the middle class has it worse today isn't paying attention to reality of what it was like back then. If you are a middle-class household today, you are living in miraculous times compared to the way your grandparents or great-grandparents lived. The problem isn't in increased costs, but in increased expectations.
Yes, but....the point is that the middle class isn't materially better off because they are truly "better off." They're "materially" better off because of ballooning debt.

Old article, but here you go:

https://www.theatlantic.com/business...s-grown/63552/

"total debt has increased from around $1,186 per person in 1948 to $10,168 in 2010."

(this is non-real estate debt only).
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Old 08-07-2019, 04:46 PM
 
Location: Myrtle Creek, Oregon
12,431 posts, read 12,626,227 times
Reputation: 19743
Quote:
Originally Posted by Submariner View Post
'using today's middle class lifestyle' ... has only been available right now.

Much of what you might consider to be middle class was not available before.
One of the things that was not available was credit cards. Total credit card debt is over $1 trillion in the US. Assuming an 18% average interest rate (probably low), that costs $18 billion a year. The average American has a credit card balance of $4,293, according to the latest Experian data. Add in late payment penalties and over limit charges and it adds up to over $800/year. Add in unnecessary impulse and convenience purchases, and the cost of using a credit card quickly becomes astronomical.

In the old days, when you ran out of money at the bar, you had to quit drinking.
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Old 08-07-2019, 04:58 PM
 
9,281 posts, read 9,346,543 times
Reputation: 29154
Quote:
Originally Posted by notch on my belt View Post
There has been a flurry of stories recently in the news talking about how much the middle class has been struggling financially. As a person who has closely watched economics and personal finance stories in the news for over 40 years, I have to say I don't remember a year in my lifetime where the middle class did not struggle financially. It seemed like every year there was a story in the news about how the middle class is struggling.

The articles that are being written today seem to be saying that middle-class people have it harder TODAY than in the past. It is easier to make that blanket statement, but harder to back it up. Was there a date(s) in the last 60 years where middle-income people had it easier and could live a 2019 version of the middle-class lifestyle without watching their budget and getting into debt? What year in our history did the middle class have the highest standard of living?

If things are so great today economically, why is there an uptick this year in the media stories about middle-class struggles?
The size of the middle class has declined over the last fifty years. According to government statistics 61% of the population was in the middle class in 1971. Today, that figure is just over 50%.

It goes both ways, a few have left the middle class because they have gotten rich. However, most have fallen into the lower or working class.

The decline in middle class membership has occurred for a number of reasons:

1. Declining union membership. Unions keep wages up.

2. The transformation from an economy that was manufacturing based to one that is information based. Such businesses require fewer employees and the employees who work within information based companies tend to be paid more.

3. Foreign competition which makes it difficult for businesses to pay high wages to workers when they can get the same product or service from someone paid one-quarter as much who is overseas.

It is a real problem. Conservatives like to pretend it is not, but the statistics show otherwise.


https://www.cnbc.com/2018/09/26/how-...dle-class.html
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Old 08-07-2019, 09:14 PM
 
5,581 posts, read 2,368,229 times
Reputation: 16652
Quote:
Originally Posted by djsuperfly View Post
Yes, but....the point is that the middle class isn't materially better off because they are truly "better off." They're "materially" better off because of ballooning debt.

Old article, but here you go:

https://www.theatlantic.com/business...s-grown/63552/

"total debt has increased from around $1,186 per person in 1948 to $10,168 in 2010."

(this is non-real estate debt only).

Debt in itself is neither bad nor good. It is debt you cannot pay is bad. And as I pointed out earlier in this thread, the percentage of household disposable going towards servicing debt has cratered to levels we haven't seen since the 70s or 60s.



The other thing? Let's compare the middle class of 1948. Life expectancy has increased remarkably. Opportunity has increased remarkably. And, as I guess I need to point out again, there were huge swaths of American society that were pretty much barred from having any chance at a middle-class lifestyle at all.
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