The average person spends 81.2% of his or her post-tax income on food, housing and other expenses, according to ConvergEx Group, a New York-based brokerage. That’s down from the 85% that Americans shelled out for mandatory and discretionary items in 1973. LA Times
- Household Income After taxes: UP. $9700 in 1973, $63,000 today (adjusted for inflation.)
As a percentage of income, spending in the following categories went…
- Savings: DOWN. Way down. We put over 13% of our income in the bank in 1973, now a terrible 4.6%!
- Housing: UP. 15% of income in 1973, 19% today. Partly because the average square footage of a home has nearly doubled since then!
- Food: DOWN. 19% of income in 1973, 13% today. Of course, family size has shrunk, from 2.9 to 2.5 people.
- Cars: DOWN. 9.5% of income in 1973, 6.6% today. However, the next item…
- Fuel: UP. 4.2% in 1973, 5.4% today.
So, it’s a mixed bag. Maybe it just SEEMS like we are paying more and more and more?
Personally, I think these numbers are wack. Like, the size of our homes has doubled, but we’re only spending 20% more of our income for them? My theory?* They are measuring expenses as a percentage of household income. In 1973, less than 40% of moms worked outside the home. It’s over 60% today (I looked it up!) So, in 60% of homes, it’s taking two incomes to enjoy a 4% decrease in overall household expenses. Yay progress!
My question to those who remember 1973 is this: what do you think? Do you think we are better off, worse off, or about the same as we were back then? Did Dad and/or Mom work as hard/harder/about the same to pay the bills as we do? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!
*Disclaimer: I’m an English major!