I was chatting with a friend today discussing whether times were down a little or really bad. So, I ran a few numbers on one of my favorite devices. My HP12C (see below). I found some interesting comparisons from 1983, when I graduated from the University of Florida, and today. Here goes:
– My first job was with Atlantic Bank in Jacksonville, FL (now part of the Wells Fargo company). I made $15K per year (well below what my friends were making.) If you assumed 5% per year inflation over those 26 years (average), that would be equal to $53K today. Are most college grads getting out of school and getting at least $53K per year? I don’t think so. That’s deflation you can believe in!
– Gasoline back in 1983 (April) was around $1.25 per gallon. If we assume the same 5% inflation and 26 years, gas should cost $4.44. It is much lower than that!
– GDP per Capita in 1983 was $15,008.21. Given the above variables, it should be $53,364.28. It is estimated to have been $47,000 in 2008. A little slip there. Not keeping up with inflation.
– 30 year fixed rate mortgages went for about 13% in 1983. They are now around 4.75%. That’s a huge drop.
– Phone bills are dead cheap today. If you are young and need a phone, you can get an all you can eat service from Boost Mobile for $50 per month. That covers the entire US. OR, for $3 per month for Skype Unlimited US. DSL from AT&T will run $30 (and includes hotspot access all across the US.) The two cost $33. $33 is $9.28 in 1983. I know I paid more than that back then. You had to pay for the line, the phone lease, wierd taxes and the dreaded long distance.
What’s the answer? Not sure. I think times are better. Much better. BUT, I do miss one thing from back then. The “party line”. My grandparents had one at their lake cabin. It was so much fun to listen in on other people’s conversations!