How are you doing compared to 5 years ago?
I like some surveys and I like to contrast them to myself. This one is about how people say they are doing compared to 5 years ago.
I think I have progressed immensely in the past 5 years. We had a few hardships, both of us saw our incomes decline in the middle, but we are both doing better now. Going into teaching right around 5 years of cuts was a disaster to my career and resulted in years of under employment -- I completely under estimated the hardship to the profession or I'd have left the day the cuts came in. We both have excellent jobs now.
I would say that I was feeling like that survey about the finances being so tight before we sold our place in January. It was a struggle to make ends meet. We'd significantly reduced our mortgage payments because of the wage cuts and it wasn't feeling good at all that it was going to be years to pay it off. But now with better jobs and reduced expenses that stress is gone.
I fault the artificial lowering of interest rates for the problems and out sourcing jobs. I am becoming a believer in tariffs. Everyone must contribute to the costs of society and right now "free trade" means that income taxes on those products are not collected, they don't pay a fair share into the infrastructure, and the list can go on.
Is my standard of living better than my parents?
My parents were divorced when I was very young. I still could not afford the home my mom had bought a couple years before she died and my mom never finished high school. As a couple I could afford it, but she was a single parent when she bought it.
My father made very good money, but he was a walking disaster when it came to managing it. He taught me about budgets, and about half was allocated to his hobbies and vices. I have never had anything close to the opportunity in income that he had in life, but my standard of living has been better because I looked at how he lived his life and held it as an example of how not to live my life.
He had a 34 ft boat, a 43 ft boat, at different times, both of which I got to go out on exactly once. He also had a 20 ft boat that he owned at the same time as the 43 ft boat. At the same time he'd owned a place for a year and a half and decided it was too expensive and did a jingle mail. He never sold the place, he just gave the keys to bank and told them to take it back.
So, how is standard of living defined?
The biggest losers in the survey, young adults 18-29. With today's economy I suspect they will continue to be in the "losers" category in their 30s. The biggest gainers -- those over 65. Young people should completely enjoy the continuing transfer of what they don't have to seniors through government programs.