Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Americans Living Large

Star Tribune Big Houses are Back

When I read the comments from Liberals, I would swear that the last 35 years have been the darkest days in America's history.  Then I read articles like this and remember how wrong they are.

Pretty much all of my older relatives lived in little houses with maybe 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths and a 1 car garge.  I mean look at the houses in the Twin Cities and first tier suburbs for proof.  Now we have people thinking that an entry level home should be something much more impressive.

As the Global Competition intensifies, it is likely that people in some countries will "gain" and some will "lose" somethings.  Since typical Americans live very well compared to many in the world, I assume some Americans had better start looking forward to more traditional living accomodations.



John said...

And vacations, travelling team sports, etc.

I believe there was a time when families were happy to go to the Wisc Dells, Black Hills, North Shore, Camping, etc. Now the norm for many people I know is a cruise or a stay in Mexico, Costa Rica, Aruba, etc.

And the days of playing local teams, now the travelling teams feel the need to truly travel across the country.

So I keep hearing that things are worse for us than it was for our Parents / Grand Parents, however I find it hard to agree with. To me it just seems like we keep wanting more... And are less satisfied with the basics.

Anonymous said...

I think that Americans typically take bigger vacations like this because they have to 'max out' the little paid time off they get.


Laurie said...

I think about 25% are living large. The difference from a generaton ago is two income and in many cases two good incomes. I think about 50% of families are just getting by. We have two incomes and live pretty much check to check (and we are not living large.)

John said...

Is bigger really better for "Maxxing Out" time off?

I find my most relaxing vacations to be the cheap ones where there are no planes, no resorts, no pass ports, etc. Just the family together at the lake or hiking...

Sean said...

I guess I don't buy your anecdotes, John. Polling shows, in fact, the opposite. Large percentages of Americans took no vacation time in 2014. And a majority didn't travel anywhere at all.

Travel Habits of Americans

John said...

You really need to find a better financial planner. If you have 2 incomes similar to yours and the kids grown, things should not be that tough.

I have friends (couples) who are in the $10 - $15 per hour range and somehow they even got to Disney World, Cancun, etc.

John said...

According to this link the median household income in Hennepin county is $60,000.
2010 Hennepin County Stats

That would be 2 people earning $15/hour, or one earning $30/hr.

John said...

CNN Vacation Article

"According to the study, in 2013 U.S. employees took an average of 16 days of vacation, compared with an average of 20.3 days as recently as 2000."

16 days + ~9 holidays is still 1+ months off per year.

Now I don't disagree that American's choose to work too hard.

Sometimes I call my "Paid Time Off", "Paid Flex Time"... Since if I take off Friday, I often have worked more on Thursday and Monday to make up for my absence.

Sean said...

I would guess that the difference in the numbers reflects the fact that large numbers of Americans don't have paid vacation available to them.

John said...

Please explain why that matters?

Paychecks, Paid vacation, Insurance payments, 401K matches, etc are all just forms of compensation. Hourly folks who do not have paid vacation take time off by asking for their schedule to be shifted...

Laurie said...

John, Thanks for the advice, but I don't I don't think you understand living on a moderate income very well. My husband is currently making $120 a day as a substitute teacher (except not in the summer). If we get a little bit ahead we use it to contribute to our kids' tuition. (My younger son just graduated high school and my older son is moving back home.)

I think many college educated people are doing better than their parents financially and many other people are doing worse, especially many single mothers. Two income families, in general, probably do better, but not always.

John said...

Choices matter.

If people choose to live in single parent households, not work during the Summer, not work hard in school, smoke/ drink/ gamble, hire household / home improvement tasks done, etc, they will have less money available for things, activities, etc.

So why again should the dual income college grads who work ~12 months per year, abstains, "does it themself", etc folks be required to pay higher taxes to subsidize the first groups choices?

My current "big money savers" included redoing our front landscaping to prevent salt from the driveway from killing the law every Spring, and prepping/ painting the outside of my home. It is a lot of work and kills my social/hobby schedule but it will save ~$4,000, which is equivalent to earning an extra $6,000+.

Laurie said...

John, it seems we have something in common financially. I am not spending $4000 on painting and landscaping this summer either.

I think you got sidetracked by your lectures and missed my point which is that the majority of people are not living large. Something like 25% of kids are in families living in poverty.

John said...

Who is Poor

Single Parent Snapshot

John said...

"Something like 25% of kids are in families living in poverty."

What exactly do you want us to do about the choices these adults are making?

"Most poor children live with parents who are married, or who have been married, or who are cohabiting. In 2012, 41% of poor children lived with two married (32%) or two unmarried (9%) parents, 28% with a never-married single parent, 22% with a divorced or separated single parent, and 8% with no parent."

I was not lecturing, I was stating facts. According to this ~58% of poor kids live in single parent households. No wonder they are broke and the kids are in trouble and not learning. Parenting is a lot of work and is very expensive.