Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 10-16-2007, 04:04 PM   #21
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
HFWR's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Lawn chair in Texas
Posts: 12,964
Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345 View Post
But I missed out on all the pot and other stuff.
Yeah, me too...


Quote:
Originally Posted by justin View Post
There's always FIRE, right?
Medical marijuana...
__________________

__________________
Have Funds, Will Retire

...not doing anything of true substance...
HFWR is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 10-16-2007, 04:04 PM   #22
Moderator Emeritus
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 11,044
I personally love to go back to Europe some time to time to remind myself of how middle class people in other rich countries live. My mom has high speed internet, 82 TV stations and unlimited phone, all for $39 a month. I pay over $200 for the same (unreliable) services. People live in smaller houses, they drive smaller, energy-efficient cars... I think that in America people now have an unrealistic expectation about what a middle class lifestyle is supposed to be. They all want the house, the 2 cars, the big screen TV... And I think that's why people are getting frustrated.
__________________

__________________
FIREd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2007, 04:09 PM   #23
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
MasterBlaster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 4,359
Quote:
And I think that's why people are getting frustrated
People see what kind of lifestyle they are supposed to live on TV.

Shows about the problems of rich people are evidently what people want to watch.

That sets the "normal" American lifestyle in everyone's mind
__________________
MasterBlaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2007, 04:11 PM   #24
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,617
Warren redux ad nauseum. She must have a new book coming out.

She's claimed ever since "The Two-Income Trap" that families have bid up real estate near good schools, and even more so since mortgage money has become so cheap. (Some of you may remember in the 1970s when mortgage companies wouldn't count a married woman's income and held the line at 26% mortgage debt, 38% total debt. No such things as zero-option ARMs!) What used to be a mortgage that could be paid out of one income has become a "requirement" that can barely be handled out of two. And if one of those two is laid off, there's no safety margin.

Let's not forget that the halcyon 1970s were generally applicable to middle-income white families. Blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities shared in this prosperity at a much lower rate.

We also got to that 1970s standard of living by destroying the infrastructure of most of Europe, western Russia, and Japan during WWII and then ramping up the military-industrial complex to support the Korean & Vietnam wars. Jobs were plentiful because we'd essentially wiped out a generation of workers (and perhaps the necessities of daily life) and then had to build it all back up. No wonder we had it "so good" back then...

No nostalgia for me... I'll stick with the tougher 21st century.
__________________
*
*

The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2007, 04:13 PM   #25
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
MasterBlaster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 4,359
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords View Post
We also got to that 1970s standard of living by destroying the infrastructure of most of Europe, western Russia, and Japan during WWII and then ramping up the military-industrial complex to support the Korean & Vietnam wars. Jobs were plentiful because we'd essentially wiped out a generation of workers (and perhaps the necessities of daily life) and then had to build it all back up. No wonder we had it "so good" back then...

So Are you suggesting that this is a bad thing ?
__________________
MasterBlaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2007, 04:58 PM   #26
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
dex's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 5,105
I think these stories are all about when you start the comparison. The late 60s and early 70s were the beginning of the end for the one family wage earner.
BUT HERE IS THE KEY - The one family wage earner lasted only a short period about 35 years from the 1940s to about 1975.
Prior to that there was an extreamly small rich strata and a very small middle class which is not really worth talking about.

The vast number of people were working class - men, women, and children worked when and if they could.
I believe the USA moved from a majority of a agricutural society to a manufactuing society in the 1960s but I could be wrong about that date.

And the women that could stay at home did work - just think about life without the modern conveniences.

So we keep measuring ourselves against a very unique period in history.
Now we are moving towards what was the norm or mean in the past.
__________________
Sometimes death is not as tragic as not knowing how to live. This man knew how to live--and how to make others glad they were living. - Jack Benny at Nat King Cole's funeral
dex is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2007, 05:05 PM   #27
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
MasterBlaster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 4,359
Quote:
Originally Posted by dex View Post
Now we are moving towards what was the norm or mean in the past.
You have a point there. However the norm for most of human history is pretty miserable except for those near the top.

If you compare whatever your situation is to someone living in a mud hut then you've really got it pretty good. Count your blessings !
__________________
MasterBlaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2007, 05:06 PM   #28
Dryer sheet wannabe
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 14
I'd note that it's also a lot easier to relocate to a cheaper place to live today. Unlike the old days when you had to show up to the factory or company for work, today you could telecommute and work remotely for many jobs. If you can save a decent amount of $ in the US, you could retire early in another country easily. Many countries now offer "retirement VISA" programs. As Americans we still have many options to get out of the rat race, but only if we're willing and able.

Also, I think you can't just depend on your job now. You need to invest and find ways to generate additional income on the side.
__________________
peorth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2007, 05:09 PM   #29
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Rustic23's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Lake Livingston, Tx
Posts: 3,624
DW and I have driven across the country 9 or 10 times at least. Two things always come to mind as the most amazing things our ancestors did.

1. Take a look at the country they crossed. Some of the 'gullies' are 50 t 100 feet deep. No roads, no water, trees so thick you can't see through them, Indians, scorpion, snakes, (chiggers across Texas). And, we get tired doing it at 70 miles per hour.
2. They did it without a psychologist or counselor for the kids.

How did they survive!
__________________
Rustic23 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2007, 05:35 PM   #30
Recycles dryer sheets
gettingthere's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 150
Here's what stood out to me in that article:

''So what's the problem? Why do so many middle class Americans with so much stuff say they feel so squeezed?"

I think a lot of money is spent on things that seem essential now, that didn't even exist a few years ago.

all the newer tech stuff -- Computers, cell phones, cable TV, IPods, microwave ovens....

"Back in my day" .... we were lucky to have one car per household, one television in the house (ours picked up 2, sometimes three stations), one phone - and that was rented from the phone company, etc.

People consider a middle class lifestyle to include more possessions now than existed in the past. Spending on all that stuff leaves less to spend on the real essentials and less to save.

We are constantly bombarded with ads and images from television and movies that make all the new stuff seem essential - like our lives are somehow incomplete without it all.

Except for my computer and high-speed Internet connection, that is. That stuff really is essential!...
__________________
gettingthere is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2007, 06:16 PM   #31
Full time employment: Posting here.
UncleHoney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Columbus
Posts: 769
Ah, lets see........

1970
24-36 month auto loans
20% down 20 year mortgages
maybe a gas credit card

2007
up to 84 month auto loans
no money down 30 year mortgages
cell phones
cable tv with the $150 sports package
computers
high speed internet
more credit cards than will fill the average wallet
$1.00+ bottled water from vending machines
$4.00+ cups of coffee
__________________
UncleHoney is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2007, 06:30 PM   #32
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
MasterBlaster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 4,359
Those 1970 autos were pretty much only good for 36 months or so.
Mortgage interest rates in 1979 were what 18 percent. What a deal

You can make the case for 7 year car loans now based on improved quality.
Just try to find a no money down mortgage after the sub-prime meltdown
you have a point with cell phones, cable TV, and internet. However that must be contrasted with the steep decline in telephone rates.

Drinking bottled water is perhaps a much better choice than drinking soda.
__________________
MasterBlaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2007, 06:31 PM   #33
Full time employment: Posting here.
Kronk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Philly 'burbs
Posts: 547
Is this type of "stuff" bloat part of the CPI? I did a quick search, but nothing was obvious. For instance, are cell phones in the CPI?
__________________
Kronk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2007, 06:46 PM   #34
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 371
The thing that struck me about the article was that no mention was made of the largest single item increase in the chart comparing 1970 and today....

TAXES!!..it was there in the chart but wasn't brought up in the article. hmmm....
__________________
novaman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2007, 06:58 PM   #35
Moderator Emeritus
Bestwifeever's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 16,375
I seem to remember from filling out early tax returns that interest earned on savings was deductible, as was interest paid on credit cards, car loans, etc., in the mid-70s, too.
__________________
Bestwifeever is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2007, 07:48 PM   #36
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
dex's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 5,105
Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterBlaster View Post
You have a point there. However the norm for most of human history is pretty miserable except for those near the top.
You got my point. If we don't identify the issues we can not address them. (Same with global warming in my view - it is population but that is another thread.)

It really has been a short time (when you take the long view) that there has been a large middle class. It is getting smaller and reverting to the mean.

So how is the trend reversed? I'll be dead before anyone asks the question.
__________________
Sometimes death is not as tragic as not knowing how to live. This man knew how to live--and how to make others glad they were living. - Jack Benny at Nat King Cole's funeral
dex is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2007, 08:02 PM   #37
Moderator Emeritus
laurence's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: San Diego
Posts: 5,234
Hmmm, I seem to remember from some class in college that part of what made the Renaissance "The Renaissance" was the birth of a significant middle class. Now putting aside what % of the population constitutes a significant middle class, I think it's safe to say there is a half millennia history of a middle class, and it's an integral part of a stable society. I will say I've seen ample evidence here and elsewhere that the 1950's and 60's were better for the average American due to being the "market of the world", but a significant (there's that word again) portion of Americans have enjoyed what was considered in their time "a good life". And that's really the definition of middle class, right? I mean, basic necessities are met at a pretty low level. If a good bowie knife and a leather saddle are luxuries and you have both, aren't you living the good life? Perhaps we will float down slowly, or standard of living will rise only slightly for the middle class over the coming decades to bring things back to equilibrium. No riots or ruinous societal collapse needed.

In fact, perhaps definitions are in order before we move further. Is middle class measured as anyone living above the poverty level?
__________________
laurence is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2007, 09:49 PM   #38
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Milton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,077
Quote:
Originally Posted by dex View Post
The one family wage earner lasted only a short period about 35 years from the 1940s to about 1975. Prior to that ... [t]he vast number of people were working class - men, women, and children worked when and if they could.
Yes, quite correct.

Personally I think it's silly to suggest that times are tougher now than previously. In the not-too-distant 'good old days' (say, 65+ years ago), things were better for the very rich because they could pay servants next to nothing, and buy goods that were cheap because made by workers earning very little. But the great majority of people were caught in a true poverty trap: they could not afford higher education (for themselves or their children), had minimal savings or possessions, had essentially no retirement prospects, and had no choice but to work long hours in rather dismal and often dangerous conditions.

If we could tell our grandparents how "tough" things are now, they would laugh at us!
__________________
"To know what you prefer, instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive". Robert Louis Stevenson, An Inland Voyage (1878)
Milton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2007, 10:33 PM   #39
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 13,277
One of the things that get me is how many people who are above middle class THINK they are middle class and are struggling... I know some people who make over $120K as a family and don't save anything... and they say it is tough being middle class... when I say they are upper middle class they look at me funny...

But, two kids in private school... two very nice cars.. a large house (but average for today), $500 electric bill (say what).. he golfs all the time which costs say $100 per week.. eat out all the time..

So middle class was not easy street back then and is still not easy street today.. but it is not poor...
__________________
Texas Proud is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2007, 01:48 AM   #40
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 156
Easy to sum it up, go back to one bathroom in most houses
for a family of 4+ with most working labor intensive factory jobs.
Can't remember any families that did not have a mortgage
and us kids had shared bedrooms. Ward robe was 3 pair of each and a set of play clothes, one pair of sneakers for all sports. An unscheduled day off school was great because it meant a day of shoveling snow to make spending money. My first bicycle took a whole summer of mowing lawns and bailing hay on the weekends. The average 16 year old might of had a ride that week in the family car. Oh how we know how rough it is today for most.
Oh yeas the days before monochrome
Welfare was live with who ever you could and pick up donated food.
__________________

__________________
wcv56 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
RV Life fisherman Other topics 9 07-11-2007 04:56 PM
American workers are finding it harder to save for retirement ! wog777 FIRE and Money 67 01-23-2007 02:05 PM
OK ... The REAL Question of Life ... Your Socks Life Craig Other topics 25 01-19-2007 04:24 PM
Ever wonder how life would have been OldAgePensioner Other topics 14 06-28-2006 09:31 AM
Get a Life! REWahoo Other topics 43 12-05-2005 07:05 AM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:16 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.