Our lives are filled with "Baselines"... Memories that serve to put our lives in perspective. First school, first love, first time away from home, first job etc...
We understand today, in the frame of our life experience, and relate to our past as a base for measuring where we are today.
Whether government, communications, mores, law, morality or any other measure of society, we can look back and see how our lives have changed.
One of the most basic baselines is money... directly measurable as inflation, and we have an easy tool to determine change.
Inflation Calculator | Find US Dollar's Value from 1913-2014
As I look back, one of my baselines was 1954, on entering college. We were relatively poor, with my dad earning about $2500/yr, which works out to about $22K today. Our house rent was $7/wk which is about $250/mo. today.
On entering College, I met up with my first millionaire, my fraternity brother Chauncey Alan Whitman III, whose dad was a banker type and thought to have an awesome net worth of over $1 Million. I was invited to a party at their mansion in Barrington RI, for a Christmas party, and as I recall, I was stunned with the trappings of wealth. Four bathrooms, a winding double staircase, a four car garage, and a boathouse on the ocean. "Millionaire" had a different meaning, but one that sticks in my mind as baseline.
Today, that "million+" would be about $10 million. A sixty year difference.
So today, a fun exercise in money reality check... going back to different times of my life to relate money then, to money today, inflation adjusted.
1943- Weekly school patriotic buying of a $.10 savings (war) bond stamp. Now $1.37.
1946- Movie admission went up from $.12 to a shocking $.14... Mom was furious. That should equate to $1.70 today... Hard to equate with $7 though color and wide screen might justify.
1954- College tuition $700... inflation $6200... actual today...$46K... Wow!
1959- Rented house on Martha's Vineyard for $95/mo. Was offered for sale for (for me) an impossible $30K...inflation says today s/b $244K... actual sale in 2006 $1,400,000.
1960- Married, 2 kids, hamburg $.39/lb, chuck steak $.79/lb. Today$3.12 and $6.33... not too far off.
1967- Salary $15,000... today, inflation adjusted, $107,000. That was a jump of 50% over the previous salary of $10K in 1966, so a big milestone.
1976- Bought a 2 year old Lincoln for $3000 (over paid)... today $12,500..
1979- Home in Chicago Suburbs $75,000. Today, $240K (inflation), but on market for $340K.
Apropos of nothing except a sort of reality check.