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Data on the US 2007 and prior
Old 01-22-2009, 05:46 AM   #1
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Data on the US 2007 and prior

We discuss averages and what certain ages of people have or need to live on this forum a lot. This data seems to be very informative in the aggrate but, of course, it depends on the individual does.

Consumer Expenditure Survey
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Old 01-22-2009, 03:53 PM   #2
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I love data like this! The "Income before taxes" table was pretty interesting to me. Average income after taxes was $60,858 for the group studied, and the average expenditure was $49,638. So I guess people save, on average, $11,220. The table then goes on to break down the expenses by category, and it's quite detailed. For example, it breaks down the food expenditures into 4 categories of food (cereals, meats, vegetables&fruits, dairy) and then 14 subcategories. This ones a keeper! Thanks for sharing this with us.
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Old 01-22-2009, 04:05 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocketdog View Post
I love data like this! The "Income before taxes" table was pretty interesting to me. Average income after taxes was $60,858 for the group studied, and the average expenditure was $49,638. So I guess people save, on average, $11,220.

These are some tricky statistics. Those are averages. So Bill Gates and Warren Buffet earning a couple billion last year and spending only a few dozen million may have skewed the figures a bit. In general, the data shows that the higher the income, the larger the proportion of income that was not spent. Makes sense - the more you make, the more discretionary income that can be allocated to savings.

Although I question the data some. For example, the "$150,000 plus" pre-tax income category (from the higherincome.pdf datasheet) has an average before tax income of $243,000 and and average after tax income of $231,000. Do folks earning $243,000 on average only pay $12,000 in taxes?!?!?!
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Old 01-22-2009, 04:44 PM   #4
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Fuego, yes, tricky statistics--especially the overall averages. I did look at some of the smaller groupings in the "income before taxes" table, and the folks making 5K to 14.9K per year (12,958 "consumer units" were looked at), on average, went 8K into debt in 2007. But the folks making 50K to 69.9K (18,390 "consumer units"), on average saved only 9K a year.
I guess the big savers all ended up in the open-ended category of folks who made more than 70K per year (37,322 "consumer units"). These guys saved an average of 46K per year, and paid an average about 6K in taxes per year!
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Old 01-22-2009, 05:01 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by rocketdog View Post
Fuego, yes, tricky statistics--especially the overall averages. I did look at some of the smaller groupings in the "income before taxes" table, and the folks making 5K to 14.9K per year (12,958 "consumer units" were looked at), on average, went 8K into debt in 2007. But the folks making 50K to 69.9K (18,390 "consumer units"), on average saved only 9K a year.
I guess the big savers all ended up in the open-ended category of folks who made more than 70K per year (37,322 "consumer units"). These guys saved an average of 46K per year, and paid an average about 6K in taxes per year!
I'm just wondering how all these higher income people paid next to nothing in taxes!
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Old 01-22-2009, 07:20 PM   #6
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I think the "Consumer Expenditure Survey" does a better job on spending than on income.

Quote:
Information on assets and liabilities is collected from respondents to the survey; however, like the income data, the assets and liabilities data are not as reliable as the expenditure data. Respondents may be unable or unwilling to provide accurate information on their assets and liabilities.
My guess is that they recruit volunteers to share information on spending, then ask for income/asset data as an aside.

It's a good source for comparing your distribution of expenses to the US averges. I've mentioned before that our expenses run very close to their median couple.

Notice that SS taxes are treated as an expense.

If you like finer breakdowns, the "cross-tabulated" tables are good: CE Cross-tabulated Tables
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Old 01-22-2009, 07:38 PM   #7
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Interesting. From the stratification by occupation, "retired" occupation earns $35,000 a year, gets 66% of that from SS, or public/private pension, 20% from earned income, and only 11% from interest, dividends, and property rental income.

In other words, the typical "retiree" is living off of SS or small pensions, working at walmart part time, and probably interest from a modest savings account or some CD's.
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