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Lifetime earnings
Old 06-24-2014, 07:31 AM   #1
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Lifetime earnings

I was watching some TV show and someone said something about how much money they had made over their lifetime. This got me thinking, so I estimated how much money my wife and I have made over our lifetime and I was shocked and very happy to discover that we currently have more money than we have made in our entire lifetimes (take home pay). This blows my mind.
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Old 06-24-2014, 07:43 AM   #2
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If you go to the Social Security web site (or wait for your annual report from them), it lists all of your wages. My list, for example, goes back to my days as a college-age part-timer.
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Old 06-24-2014, 08:31 AM   #3
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I dont pay into SS so the only thing on my report is a few years of income very early on in my life.
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Old 06-24-2014, 10:48 AM   #4
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...we currently have more money than we have made in our entire lifetimes...
To be fair, you need to compensate for inflation. Let's take the inflation from Jan 1975 till May 2014 as an example. One dollar back then is equivalent to $4.57 now.

I used 1975 as an example because I am not old, but some people here started working in the 60s or 50s. Cumulative inflation is huge over the decades. And then, I am not even talking about how much the money would grow if invested.
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Old 06-25-2014, 07:26 AM   #5
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I didnt really mean this as anything other than a gauge of savings willpower and the power of investing and compounding. If a couple has $2 million saved you would think they were very disciplined savers, unless you knew when they retired they were making a combined $300,000 per year and averaged $175,000 over their 25 year careers.
Another couple who has the same $2 million saved but made only $1,800,000 over their lifetimes has done a much better job in savings territory.
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Old 06-25-2014, 11:54 AM   #6
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If you want to calculate your Social Security yourself, get the document at the following link.


For earnings as far back as 1953, it includes some "index factor" to compare those earnings with more recent.

http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10070.pdf
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Old 06-25-2014, 12:16 PM   #7
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I didnt really mean this as anything other than a gauge of savings willpower and the power of investing and compounding. If a couple has $2 million saved you would think they were very disciplined savers, unless you knew when they retired they were making a combined $300,000 per year and averaged $175,000 over their 25 year careers.
Another couple who has the same $2 million saved but made only $1,800,000 over their lifetimes has done a much better job in savings territory.
I have thought similarly about our situtation, and that is how I inderstood and see your original post. True that inflation factors in, but for me it is easier to appreciate a nest egg carved out of limited earnings over the years, as opposed to a similar nest egg which could be viewed as the surplus left over from extremely high earnings. Additionally, the person used to living on moderate wages while building a nest egg is more likely to be comfortable with a certain size nest egg as opposed to someone with the same nest egg who is used to substantial earnings to begin with.

Hey, all that for only $.02 -what a deal!
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Old 06-25-2014, 01:04 PM   #8
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If you go to the Social Security web site (or wait for your annual report from them), it lists all of your wages. My list, for example, goes back to my days as a college-age part-timer.
The SS report doesn't show your total annual wages but only those wages that were taxable for SS purposes each year. If your earnings exceeded the SS taxable limit for a given year then the excess is not shown so your lifetime earnings are probably higher than what the report shows.
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Old 06-25-2014, 01:14 PM   #9
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The SS report doesn't show your total annual wages but only those wages that were taxable for SS purposes each year. If your earnings exceeded the SS taxable limit for a given year then the excess is not shown so your lifetime earnings are probably higher than what the report shows.
That earnings limit is not a problem for many of us. I wonder what percent of wage earners exceed the SS taxable limit each year. I wonder, but not enough to try to find out.
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Old 06-25-2014, 04:38 PM   #10
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I was watching some TV show and someone said something about how much money they had made over their lifetime. This got me thinking, so I estimated how much money my wife and I have made over our lifetime and I was shocked and very happy to discover that we currently have more money than we have made in our entire lifetimes (take home pay). This blows my mind.
Probably true for every one of Sam Walton's children.
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Old 06-26-2014, 09:20 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by utrecht View Post
I was watching some TV show and someone said something about how much money they had made over their lifetime. This got me thinking, so I estimated how much money my wife and I have made over our lifetime and I was shocked and very happy to discover that we currently have more money than we have made in our entire lifetimes (take home pay). This blows my mind.
Wouldn't that amount be Total_Medicare_Taxes_Paid/.0145? If yes, then you can get that info. on SS website and simply divide the amount by 1.45%. It'll save you lot of time vs adding your medicare earnings for past thirty some years. I think since 1988, medicare tax % has been fixed at 1.45% your earned wages.
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Old 06-26-2014, 09:59 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by BTravlin View Post
The SS report doesn't show your total annual wages but only those wages that were taxable for SS purposes each year. If your earnings exceeded the SS taxable limit for a given year then the excess is not shown so your lifetime earnings are probably higher than what the report shows.
The SS report also does not show unearned income. According to SS, my lifetime wages are somewhere around those of a deep jungle, zero outside world contact, native Amazon tribesman.

Rentals have been very very good to us but neither of us ever made diddly working for others. Dividing our net worth by our combined age gives a figure larger than either of us made working for others.
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Old 06-26-2014, 11:19 AM   #13
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I have been told I must have the first nickel I ever made. Now I have checked - it appears I do.
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