How much does the Average American Make? Breaking Down the U.S. Household Income Numbers.

How much does the typical American family make?  This question is probably one of the most central in figuring out how we can go about fixing our current economic malaise.  After all, we don’t hear many people saying in today’s world that they have too much money.

The median household income in the United States is $46,326.  Here in California people have a hard time understanding that yes, 50 percent of our population live on $46,000 or less a year.  Even today, all the elixirs and remedies being thrown around fail to focus on income and the big brother of income, solid employment.  Dual earner households have a higher median income at $67,348.

To highlight the massive discrepancy I’ve put together a chart showing the household income distribution:

U.S. Income Distribution

As you can see from the above chart, only 17.8% of all U.S. households make more than $118,200 a year.  Only 2.67% make more than $200,000.  The fact that only 34% make more than $65,000 is astounding given how expensive other cost of living items have gotten over the past decade.  That is why the middle class is feeling squeezed from all different sides.

When I put together a budget for a family making $100,000 I received a bit of feedback on both sides.  Even though I realized very few people had household incomes in the 6 figure range looking very closely at the data, I can understand why people took issue with a budget that was at that level.  I also put together a budget from someone living in California making $46,000 a year and received feedback as well.  I think when it comes to income, you can never have too much.

What is even more fascinating, is how even amongst the super wealthy income is not distributed evenly.  There are approximately 146,000 (0.1%) households with incomes exceeding $1,500,000 a year.  Even at that, the top 0.01% of households had incomes of $5,500,000 and accounted for 11,000 households.  The 400 highest tax payers in the nation brought in a stunning $87,000,000 a year.  Now that is wealth.

For us mere mortals, it is important again to focus on that chart.  $46,000 does not go a long way.  In a recent Census report there are 110,000,000 households in the United States.  What this data tells us is that 55,000,000 households are living on $46,000 or less a year.  Let us assume this is a married couple with 1 child.  Let us run the numbers:

Texas Income Household

I ran the numbers for a state with no state income tax, Texas.  A family at this level is only bringing in $3,215 a month.  The national median home price peaked around $200,000.  So let us assume this family purchased the median home:

5% down payment:         $10,000

Mortgage 30-year fixed (6.5%):   $1,200

Taxes and Insurance:     $333

PITI:  $1,533

Right off the bat, this family is spending 47% of their net pay on a median priced home.  We didn’t even account for any pre-tax retirement account investing.  Given the recent stock market performance and the loss of $50 trillion in global wealth, maybe that wasn’t such a bad idea.  The bottom line is the average American family is being squeezed from every angle.   What we need is a focus on jobs and our economy, not bailing out banks.  That defeats the entire purpose.  The average American family is struggling getting by and when they hear about these billion dollar handouts, they can’t help but to feel left out.

**Update February 2013:

Since this article was written, not much has changed on the household income front.  I went ahead and dug out the most recent data on household income:

us-household-income

Source:  Census, ACS 2011

The latest Census data has the median household income in the US at $50,500.  But as the chart above highlights one out of four US households are living with less than $25,000 per year in household income.  This makes sense when we measure this up against Social Security data that has the median per capita worker income at $26,000 for 2010.  You also begin to realize why two income households are almost a necessity to get by in American today.

 

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135 Comments on this post

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  1. eternitus said:

    Right on. Unfortunately, everyone making the decisions in congress earns over $100k per year… they don’t understand that what we are asking our citizens to pay to own shelter is ridiculous, and sucks up valuable capital and discretionary income that could be spend elsewhere.

    That’s why they say the “problem” is falling house prices… when the real “problem” is that house prices were too high and the payments that came with them were crushing American families to death.

    December 2nd, 2008 at 7:45 am
  2. Robert Cornelison said:

    The median family did not purchase a $200,000 home in Texas. They started with a $80,000 home and traded up as they built equity and the home appreciated. If you are going to be realistic, be realistic.

    December 2nd, 2008 at 9:55 am
  3. jerry said:

    great aricle!

    December 2nd, 2008 at 10:28 am
  4. Zach said:

    Disclosure: we are a single income household at $43,300 annual in KY.

    1st, regardless of what we may hear on news outlets, the “Free Market” has not failed us. It behaved consistently with all of the applicable influences, i.e. implied backing of the Fed Gov’t.

    Our nation is soon to realize that luxury items are called “luxury” for a reason. We cannot finance our way to a wealthy lifestyle.

    from the article:
    “What we need is a focus on jobs and our economy, not bailing out banks.”

    The Federal Gov’t needs to focus on its constitutional responsibilities. Cutting down the excesses of gov’t and dramatically reducing taxes is a good start. End income taxes and establish a sales tax system. Taxes on corporations always come back to the consumer as a hidden tax. Attract major employers back to the US by greatly simplifying compliance costs. Encourage a health system that is not dependent upon employment. But it must be a truly free market solution. Tax $$ added to this problem will only increase the costs. Consider College tuition… the more gov’t loans and so-called “access to credit” the fast tuition has risen. Wake up America!

    December 2nd, 2008 at 10:53 am
  5. Chris said:

    Your PITI calculation is missing Mortgage Insurance….so tack on another few hundred dollars because in this hypothetical situation you are not putting down 20%.

    December 2nd, 2008 at 11:38 am
  6. Joey Boots said:

    Zach is wrong: the “free market” did fail, because of greed at all levels. People buying houses they can’t afford; builders/real estate agents pushing home ownership as “the best” wealth builder for average people (as they made huge profits/commissions on those sales); mortgage brokers pushing products with the best commisions (not the best loan for the borrower); banks/financial institutions repackaging/pooling/dividing up the loans, so that no one knows who owns them; financial institutions insuring against the failure of those packaged loans with “pennies on the dollar” in reserve, etc…

    Those that believe we can ever live in a totally free market are living in fantasy land. Society must be protected from its own greed and the damage to others that greed will do.

    I don’t want Communism/Socialism, but Capitalism must ALWAYS be watched for those who would exploit it for their own gains!

    December 2nd, 2008 at 12:30 pm
  7. jon said:

    Lets be realistic. The median family did purchase a 280K house in CENTRAL Ca where the median income is 46K. Let the falling home prices continue until they are REALISTIC as well

    December 2nd, 2008 at 1:26 pm
  8. jon said:

    Until we tax the speculator/investor at least 50% for capital gains of a sold home which was held for less than 4 years this bubble will rear its ugly head again

    December 2nd, 2008 at 1:32 pm
  9. Don said:

    That’s why I sold my $700K house in Long Beach CA in 2006 and bought the same house for $150K in Wisconsin, where gee whiz, the average house cost about 3 times annual earnings.

    I need to stop now, cause I’m making too much sense.

    Move to Wisconsin and get real. Oh, and for you Snow haters, wake up. There is a new invention it’s called 4 wheel drive and heated seats, shopping on the internet, and indoor heat. You can live in snow, so take that you So Cal Snobs. Enjoy your 201 k’s and your $4,0000 dollar a month house payments.

    don
    Spring Green WI

    December 2nd, 2008 at 3:52 pm
  10. joel said:

    I’m considering making my first home purchase. I have followed the markets over the past couple years and agree that eventhough prices have drastically come down, they still seem over-inflated. My concern is that we have entered a downward spiral of bankrupcy, forclosure, and jobloss which will continue to compound the housing values…which may not be a bad thing, but for someone purchasing their first home, makes me a bit weary.

    Suspending bank forclosures may aleviate some of the issues out there right now, but I think it all comes back to what people can reeally afford and sustain. When your parents bought their first home for 5,000 back in the 40′s, how much of a stretch was that for them? What was the percentage of their mortgage in relation to thier income? These are things I would like to learn to compare with where we are today and where we came from. I would love your advice!

    December 2nd, 2008 at 6:47 pm
  11. Derek said:

    Nice article and nice site.

    One correction:
    You said
    “As you can see from the above chart, only 17.8% of all U.S. households make more than $118,200 a year. ” but from the chart, I believe that you ment only 10% make more than $118,200 a year.

    December 3rd, 2008 at 3:46 pm
  12. Neil said:

    This article is definitely warped and unrealistic. I own a home in Texas and the math that this article dishes out about the average Texan paying 200K for a home is pure Baloney! The Median Home price is actually 126K!! Compare that with a California Median price of 360K.

    December 3rd, 2008 at 7:41 pm
  13. Eric said:

    Neil,

    It is baloney, but so is the average person making 46k a year. Try 25-30k and 100-125k and you’re closer to reality. Also toss in the need to buy a car every 3-4 years due to the long commutes to work. His analogy was an average-income person in this country with an average-priced house, but singling out Texas to remove state income taxes from the calculation. Mattering on where you live, that might be another 10% (sometimes more) of your income, but varies greatly.

    Still, it’s better than the east and west coast, especially the superheated cities, where the state taxes and local sales taxes are also the highest.

    December 5th, 2008 at 11:17 am
  14. Jay said:

    Love the article. The numbers may not be entirely accurate. But the article and its details were superbly captured. Hats off!

    December 5th, 2008 at 4:40 pm
  15. Zachary Williams said:

    Joey, the markets cannot be declared a failure if the banks and GSE were taking huge risks with the implicit backing of the Federal Gov’t. I do believe in in the depravity of Man, but you can’t regulate that out of the equation. We must refuse to reward it. A belief in Free Markets does not mean there should be no laws or regulation. It relies upon the fact that a price for goods and services will be set by the risk vs reward sentiments. When the Feds, GSEs, and various gov’t programs attempt to play god and manipulate the results, there are always unintended consequences. E.G. make home ownership a national goal, and you can bet that depraved men people will find a way to take advantage of the situation. We must allow the deflation to occur… it will only be worse later if we try to stop it.

    December 5th, 2008 at 6:34 pm
  16. Dee said:

    Honey, you are living in la-la land !!! Many of us in NY are living on less money and with some wise and frugal planning one can make it.
    Your figures are guesstimated….there are more ‘we the people’ who are living far below that $65 K figure…..government bailing out any organization only succeeds in more enslavement, poorer guality of life for the masses and assurance of more comfort for the greedy controllers of all of us….the only CHANGE I see coming is economical immplosion of the USA….

    December 16th, 2008 at 4:54 am
  17. Surviving A Recession said:

    It is sad that you cannot live off of 50,000 a year. And they wonder why the bottom fell out of the real estate market.

    January 9th, 2009 at 9:31 am
  18. Chris said:

    Well I’ll tell you this, I for one am not gonna give up my to 60inch plasma screens and my awesome chilled beer keg. I got them all from Circuit City\Chase at 0% interest for 3 years. I make 145k in the banking industry and I am loving it…Now that the rates are so low, people are refinancing again….it just never stops, I have been making huge bonuses for the last 8 years. I love our Govt. I feel sorry for the rest of you living on less than 50k a year. The best thing is I get to work from home in my Mansion that I bought in 02 for 500k which is still now valued at over 1.3 million. Man life is great! Depression, recession bring it on, there are always opportunities if you seek them out and get off the couch! Who was that politician who said Americans are a bunch of cry babies. You all have it so good and are not even thankful, go live in another country, maybe then you’ll realize how good you have it….

    January 20th, 2009 at 3:48 pm
  19. Mama Maria said:

    OK, why can I, a person with just 2 years of college, figure this out (see my blogpage) but the moronic idiots in Congress haven’t managed to understand? I am THRILLED that the housing market in CA will crash, so my adult children have a hope of getting a home in the same state as me, but I am appalled to think how many people bought houses they couldn’t afford on predatory lending schemes that are sending them to the streets with nowhere to live.

    Can anyone reach the twits on Capitol (note the spelling is obviously not what we need) Hill? I’ve written my rep, and senators, but they are as clueless as Paris Hilton.

    HELP!

    January 21st, 2009 at 6:37 am
  20. Letisha said:

    Chris,you are a nonsympathetic a–hole! Did it ever occur to you that not all people b–ching about the Gov. and the economy actually have a good reason for complaining about their situations and it’s not because they are on the couch all day? Hat’s off to you for making 145k;you probably earned it over the 8 years you have worked in your job position and deserve every penny. BUT…. I cannot assume that because I was not there over those 8 years to personally see how you acquired how you got where you are today.The same reason you should not assume that these individuals who are commenting negatively are not making it in our society because they are lazy and not doing enough or anything at all and that’s why they are in these bad positions in the first place because YOU WERE NOT THERE to see why they are only making 50k or less! I appreciate my government and all the rights I have as a citizen but that does not mean I do not work hard for what I do have and in the position I am in there are things stopping me from getting ahead and I also would like to own a house in california but the prices of houses are so ridiculous I dont know if saving all my money for along time would even be sufficiant to feel safe and secure when I do decide it MIGHT be possible.I need ucla medical center to keep working with me on my particular illness and I had to move because I could not even afford the 1500 dollar a month apartment,bills that go with it,feed my child,save for his college and try to save a little on the side for both of our futures;That was’nt gonna happen so we had to move. YES I believe the government is to blame for alot of things wrong and our housing prices are ridiculous in alot of states but alot of these people are working their butt’s off and it is still JUST NOT ENOUGH TO the next month. And since your cocky egotistical sounding personality(not saying that that’s what you are definitly like)but that is how you come across! Since you seem to have all or most of the answers than please provide us with some clue on how to get out of our ruts;you do work at a bank,tell us please the best possible way to go when it comes to our money and some possible ways to get ahead. Unless that is that you are to good for cry-baby neandrathols like us and refuse to give a helpful suggestion to your fellow man kind who also wish the government would consider our situations too.The economy sucks and the Gov. did their fair share to make it that way. Iwould love to be in your place;give me the oppurtunity,the training and I’LL DO THE WORK. We need to help each other right now,not condemn them.If you are doing so well than help your fellow man by contributing to college tuition funds so that these kids who do’nt have the funds to get their college edu. can.I need to stop b-cause I could go on forever! Chris you offended me and the comments you made were cruel. Iam happy for your success but alot of us are working really hard and still are not even close to your more than efficiant lifestyle. Learn how to have some compassion for the other citizens in this country that are working their tails off but it’s still not working out. BE A SUPPORTER OF THE PEOPLE,NOT A TYRANT. You might have money but try to have a heart too! I hope on those cold lonely night AND days that 60inch plasma is there to support you,emotiolally and physically cuz your gonna need it,plus hold on to those cold beers;they’ll help your 60inch with those pysical nights. GOOD-LUCK A–HOLE!

    January 23rd, 2009 at 9:02 am
  21. Rog in Miami Gardens said:

    What we all need to understand is that we’re all connected, as cliche as that sounds, but we are.

    To those who say: “Let the housing prices/values continue to fall, so that I can take advantage of it and purchase my home,” I would say: be careful. Remember, home prices are falling partly because the GLOBAL economy is faltering, so chances are if values continue to fall, that means the communities/neighborhoods where those homes are located are suffering, and pretty soon, unless you work in healthcare (even though some hospitals are laying-off nurses and cutting physician fringe benefits), you could be out of a job, as well. It seems that no one’s immune.

    Finally, I do agree that some Americans got tremendously greedy, especially, those house-flippers and mortgage brokers, and there’s enough blame to go around. However, I just think that we all need to re-evaluate our own lives, period. Does every room have to have computers and televisions? Does every home really have to have two cars? Must every child have a cell phone? Do you HAVE to have a vacation EVERY year?

    This economic downturn has me and a lot of my friends really re-evaluating the things that are truly important, i.e.: family and friends. Just the other day, we forfeited eating out, met at a friend’s house, played board games and cooked our own meal. I hadn’t had so much fun in months! It was truly great! Also, I barely use my car anymore. I catch the bus to work, I walk/bike to the store & dry cleaners; thankfully, most of my friends/family live in biking distance. I only use my car to go out of town to visit my other family members. And, you know what? I don’t miss the rushed, gotta-have-the-latest-this-or-that lifestyle. I truly don’t, and I actually pity those who still think they do. Funny how that works.

    February 11th, 2009 at 5:32 pm
  22. Ivan said:

    Chris
    If your making 145K/yr and getting HUGE bonuses, couldn’t you just pay cash for your awesome beer keg instead of financing it for 3 years?
    this has got to be some kind of joke

    February 19th, 2009 at 10:11 am
  23. Don said:

    hummmmm……. wonder why the great thinkers in D.C. think iddle class is between 100k – 250k. That doesn’t seem to fit reality.
    Maybe they are out of grasp of reality, naaaa …. just clueless

    April 9th, 2009 at 4:50 am
  24. joel said:

    this is bull crap most people are getting payed 15 to 30 a year or nothing. in the 80′s you could get a lone for a home and pay 400 a month. now people are swamp ratting in the same houses because they have no where to go. and they cant even go to the doctors because they cant even afford their own shared rent. every one I know is doing this and I know hundreds. so who’s counting them? no one! they cant afford or have time to fight this greed their just hopeless.

    its story’s like this that make people think its OK to charge people so much. when most of them have nothing.

    May 7th, 2009 at 10:41 am
  25. Pete said:

    hey i’m on $60000 at the moment single 24, i could be making more probably if i’d passed university at 20 if it weren’t for alcohol and women. its a bad combination when your trying to succeed. Anyway I find myself in a casino job now that i’ve been in for just over a year and with $60K looking at two guaranteed promotions over the next year and a half which would take me up to about $80K. After that there is a lot more room to move, just not guaranteed cause you have to move into management and the union doesn’t get you your promotions anymore. So anyway I gotta look on the bright side I’m doing ok bought an aparment in the city last year got no other debts, but hey I’m passing uni at the end of the year been doing it part time. still I gotta cut down on th edrinking at some point don’t wanna end up with all sorts of health problems

    May 10th, 2009 at 8:22 pm
  26. auto phi said:

    This is an amazing post. I had no idea everyone around me was poor too! And I thought the BMWs and Mercedes meant people actually made a lot more. This is really a sobering message for me.

    August 24th, 2009 at 2:59 pm
  27. Terry said:

    I make $11K per year, can you make me a budget?

    August 27th, 2009 at 8:29 am
  28. testing said:

    here’s your budget, move in with a family member, and your 11K per year can go along way, since you most probably have to pay little to nil in taxes , good luck

    September 3rd, 2009 at 11:35 pm
  29. Young Finance Guy said:

    damn …

    You write and blog with some real conviction and purpose i liked every damn post I read.

    I am a instant fan but… I catch myself calling you a prick at the same time. Thats so not fair.

    Good stuff.

    i especially liked the BoA post with countrywide settlement.

    I think we are all pretty screwed here. The next few months could get scary. What do you think?

    October 17th, 2009 at 7:29 pm
  30. Kevin said:

    Great article. Exactly the reason my wife and I wont buy a home. I dont mean to play devils advocate but if people only average 46,000 year, why do they accept the price of a 200K home? why buy something more than 4 times your income? Prices would naturally go down if people would stop buying homes at 200K. We can blame the govt and the banks but at the end of the day it us to blame. Why would you buy a home more than twice your income. I guess I dont understand.

    Kevin

    November 21st, 2009 at 4:27 pm
  31. Richard Bankers said:

    How dare you blame poverty on banks and financial institutions! You sir are scum and everyone blaming the finance industry should be put in jail. Banks are pivotal to the economy and I can attest that executives working at them deserve to have the most incredible lives with everything imaginable for them and their children. Poor people are disgusting and should imprisoned to make higher profits for the finance captains and our well-to-do deserving families. Jesus teaches us that it is noble for you people to suffer at the expense of the important people like bank employees.

    December 3rd, 2009 at 2:24 pm
  32. David Baker said:

    What you seem to be missing here is that freedom by nature is going to produce different results. If it is wealth distribution you seek, communism is more your speed.

    If I am an entrepreneur who is willing to put my house, fortune, and credibility on the line in order to pursue my economic interests, am I not entitled to the fruits of my labor? Truth is many people dream of working for themselves but for whatever reason never seem to try. People may not like scraping by and living life constantly aware of a budget. But they seem to prefer it, as oppose to risking the unknown.

    No man is obligated to except that his capital worth is menial. Just like no man is obligated to except that he should run a business. It is freedom to change our fate that’s important. Remember it is no more morally right to take a man’s wealth through legislation than it is with a gun.

    December 8th, 2009 at 2:24 pm
  33. carlos carboney said:

    home prices will keep falling untill the mass’s qualify, it that simple. to sell a home it must meet 3 criteria

    1. it has to have value, overpriced forclosures have no value, if they
    did they would be snapped up. but they are laying like dead
    refridgerators. banks don’t need to sell anymore, we funded their
    hold strategy for at least the next 6 years.

    2. the mass’s must be able to qualify for the lone, enough said.

    3. there must be employment, enough said,

    the empire is over, get used to it. or get out. only real americans will stay, the rest have already started abandoning the fallen empire.
    signed… the huddeled mass’s

    December 11th, 2009 at 1:26 am
  34. Luke said:

    I agree with Kevin and some of the other posters. I feel for those people who are trying to make it on 46k a year. It can be very difficult. The American Society has had a “keeping up with the Jones” complex for many years now and it seems as if that attitude is crashing down around them. I hate to see it happen. All these people wanted was the “American Dream”. It just so happens that that dream kept getting bigger and more high tech, it continues to do so. People forgot how to live within their means and are now, unfortunately however deserving some think it may be, being slapped with reality. Also, please don’t think that all six figure income homes are filled with arrogant, self serving pricks. My household income is almost 8 times the national average. We donate on a regular basis to a variety of local charities and organizations. We will gladly help anyone who asks in setting up their budget and/or evaluating their financial situation, including giving them tips that we use to hold onto and make money. I live in Texas so property is not as high as in other areas. Where I live at homes can easily reach 3 million plus, however we did not buy a home that expensive. We live in a 400k house, granted its 5 bed/4 bath/6 living/3 dining/ 3 kitchen. We put 75% down and financed the rest for tax purposes. Why stress a fat mortgage payment, outrageous property taxes and home owners dues!?!?!? Just so you can say look at me?!?!?! It makes no sense. Set your budget, live within it. Yes it is nice to have, but there will alway be someone out there with more than you. Look at Chris and his 60′ tv and beer keg making 145k a year. That wouldn’t buy the limoges china, sterling flatware and crystal we eat with. As sure as I say that, there is someone out there with even more expensive utensils than that. I guess the difference is that we would sell everything that we owned and do without if someone in our family needed it. Life is about taking care of and being with the ones that you love, nothing else.

    December 28th, 2009 at 12:37 am
  35. april said:

    Wow – finance talk really heats things up. My family of 3 makes 45,000 a yr. It is tight but u can do it. Make up a budget and stick to it. Sometimes things come up that u dnt count on like a car repair and that can blow ur budget. Just plug along and do the best u can. Our only debt is our mortgage of 88,000 left to pay. We have no credit card debt and own or car and small boat. We have a very small buget for entertainment so we take hikes, go fishing and do things that are free. Good-luck all, the rich and poor alike, we may all be on the same boat some day. I dnt want to see someone I stepped on on the way up. I want to know I was kind when they were down, then maybe now they will help me as I fall. : )

    January 3rd, 2010 at 12:53 pm
  36. TruthSetsYouFree said:

    I would like to point out that the percentages listed above in the chart add up to 117.41%. So, who are the extra 17.41%? Or, are all the numbers in the article suspect? I do not want to rain on anyones parade, but facts HAVE to add up, or it is just another internet hoax. I agree that the premise for the article SEEMS right, but that is not enough to make any conclusions until the facts are presented.
    In Liberty,
    TruthSetsYouFree

    February 15th, 2010 at 6:39 am
  37. answer_for_truth said:

    TruthSetsYouFree,
    It doesn’t matter what the percentages add up to; you shouldn’t be adding them up since they overlap–each percentage to the right is included in the number to the left. (the author mistakenly added these as well to calculate the percentage who earn over $118,200, when that was already shown in the chart to be 10% as someone pointed out in an earlier post).

    February 20th, 2010 at 9:45 am
  38. CharlesCurmudgeon said:

    This blog contains “hard” if not documented average U.S. income — which I am grateful for; however, I REALLY want to see, documented, the average of non-governmental civilian income, (excluding Federal – civil and military, State and city/local incomes, elective, political and “civil service”, as well as retirees, SSI and jail./prisons), using Google Motion charts and percentage pie charts over the last 20 years, (with a 5 year statistical projection) to see the growth of top heavy gov’t on the backs of the little guy taxpayer, increasingly crushed, now – and especially into the future – with the unfunded social security and medicare as the baby boomber “mature.”

    Would you place calcula this — but include the raw data tables so that “we” can further analyze the data?

    GoogleWebVisionCaster

    Keep up the good work!!

    February 22nd, 2010 at 9:08 pm
  39. Doooglaz said:

    My Great Grandad abandoned an empire.
    So did I.
    Have fun up there.
    When you morons let Bushy steal term two it was all over.

    February 22nd, 2010 at 11:54 pm
  40. Tristan said:

    @Doooglaz: I agree. 2004 was the year I officially lost faith in the American people. (Though to be fair, it might have really been Diebold’s fault…)

    February 23rd, 2010 at 5:36 pm
  41. RW said:

    All this is very cute. Can someone explain that when you borrow on credit (as we have from China to finance what you want now, because you have no virtues of patience and need instant gratification), that if you cannot pay it back in your lifetime….you pass on that enslaved debt to your children. I would think that African Americans would find that espescially agregious, enslaving their children. With the median income as low as it is, how can the middle class afford higher taxes? As of today we are headed toward socialist medicine. That will be additional taxes. I think the party is over and the feds are trying to get control of as much as they can so as not to lose their power when it all comes tumbling down. I think China will take the west coast when they call their loans in and we have to hand over territory. So I hope that real estate values remain high there. That way maybe they will own just west of the Rockys.

    March 22nd, 2010 at 12:02 pm
  42. Living comfortably in CA said:

    To Don in Spring Green, WI, who wrote, “That’s why I sold my $700K house in Long Beach CA in 2006 and bought the same house for $150K in Wisconsin…”

    First of all, if you think you bought the “SAME” house in WI that you had in CA, you’ve been too much cheese. I’m glad you left the state and took your lack of logic with you.

    As for your comment, “Enjoy your 201 k’s and your $4,0000 dollar (sic) a month house payments…” perhaps one of your Wisconsin neighbors could help you translate your “$4,0000 dollar” figure into a number with the correct number of zeros or help you move the comma to its rightful place so we could understand what you are trying to say.

    Finally, I see that one of Spring Green’s tourist attractions is the local brewery–Furthermore Beer. Have you been consuming more than your quota of the local product, or are you getting much dairy? :)

    March 23rd, 2010 at 10:51 pm
  43. DH said:

    To Living comfortably in CA,I believe California is wine country isn’t it? I don’t know if there’s a “quota” on the local product but I think perhaps you’ve had a tad too much of it yourself.What does”you’ve been too much cheese”mean exactly? Maybe you should take a road trip to Wisconsin and see for yourself what a home comparable to yours would cost.You can pick up some really good cheese while you’re there,it will go quite nicely with that wine that you’ll probably be consuming more of.

    March 27th, 2010 at 9:11 am
  44. CharlesCurmudgeon said:

    You begin this excellent document with the “fact”: The median household income in the United States is $46,326.

    But is this REALLY true; or does it disguise or misstate or ever state “the Truth?” I suspect that this figure does indeed include all, or almost all, government household workers — except perhaps military, who are often paid less, (e.g. many National Guard members who have been involuntarily called to active duty have taken pay cuts).

    But if government employees, on the average — active duty military excepted — earn on the average a great deal more than non-gov’t employees, then the “poorer” non-gov’t households are have on theilr backs a very heavy additional burdon, doubly so since many if not most state and local gov’t employee pension funds are terribly underfunded, which become an even heaver future burden and a further skewing of “average household” income.

    Can you PLEASE calculate or recalculate “Average household income” in this light, (perhaps also separately calculating military household income)?

    March 29th, 2010 at 8:59 pm
  45. Herman Clausan said:

    People said to me “If you don’t like America leave it”. So I did. I moved to Thailand. Health coverage was a main factor. Illegal’s have free care plus a Govt. check. And never paid in a dime. I retired with $450,000 plus $950 a month social security. One illness in America would wipe me out. It cost me $4 to see a english speaking doctor here. I blood test in U.S. for glucose level cost me $549. WTF. America is a dream place for immigrants but not for the ones born here. I built a new house here in Thailand for $25,000 a new Toyota truck for $11,000 . Can’t beat it. Like all your posts. Keep up the good work.

    April 10th, 2010 at 5:32 am
  46. Tristan said:

    @Herman: Redshirt madness notwithstanding, it’s beginning to look like my own retirement will look something like yours. I have a Thai wife and live in the States; but I can’t seem to make ends meet here, so can’t save for retirement. Social Security payments will be joke by the time I retire some 20 years hence. Isn’t that a sad comment on what it’s like to be an educated middle class American citizen? (Though Thailand does have some really great features, notably its people.)

    April 11th, 2010 at 3:46 pm
  47. E said:

    My wife and I are under 30 and make a household income of about $175k per year. looking at the percentile it looks like we make a lot, however it sure doesn’t seem like it. We have rented a 2-bed room apartment in Southern California for 4 years. A decent home in the OC/LA area will cost us north of $400k. We will need to save up at least $80k or more for a down payment. After that we will still pay 3k a month for mortgage, insurance, tax, etc. Forget about saving for retirement.

    May 14th, 2010 at 2:43 pm
  48. xyz said:

    The income and wealth analysis on this website is excellent. But this blog does not examine the root cause of the problem ; greed; properly. It is fine to blame the ‘greedy’ rich. But one gets the feeling that the middle class is greedy too and it is grumbling because it has not got the benefits of greed. The rich got rich by harnessing the inherent greed in the society. Nobody forced the average household to take on massive debt in the form of credit cards and loans. The corporations certainly induced and seduced the average American with dreams of luxury and consumerist paradise. For the past few decades Americans have acquired an inflated sense of entitlement and this persists even in these tough times.
    Why for example does an average household need a 200k home. Why do middle class families need swimming pools in their backyards. Why does everybody need cars. Public transportation can be very cheap, eco friendly and generate millions of jobs in manufacturing, maintenance and operations. Yet Americans have opted out of this. Why does anybody need the latest cell phones, music players, cameras and TVs?
    Greed. Everybody has become greedy, some more than others.

    May 24th, 2010 at 9:28 pm
  49. djb said:

    The people are so concerned about “state run capitalism”. But no one seems to be concerned about the reality…”a capitalist run state”.

    May 26th, 2010 at 1:16 pm
  50. Frank said:

    I live with two friends. I am engadged. And I make about 7k$ a year. That’s the best I can do and attend school. What else am I supposed to do? How can people in the top 3rd live with themselves when there are people like me and people even worse off. I’m not a bad person, I just try to better myself and seem to fall further and further behind because I have nothing to start with.

    June 7th, 2010 at 5:20 pm
  51. Heather said:

    Excellent article! My husband and I both work fulltime and make just under 50k. The sad thing is we both have degrees. I have a masters and he has his bachelors. We have worked very hard just to get to this point, and have no intention of quiting. Not a pity party, just reality.
    We really need to reevaluate the value of products and everything that goes into supplying them. People wouldn’t require as high a salary if the products weren’t as expensive. Reality is that we will only continue to increase the cost of things to pad business pockets and require the public to shell out more and more money. No one wants true change. They just want more.

    June 28th, 2010 at 11:39 am
  52. Tony said:

    Just commenting on the person who wrote real early in the article about PMI insurance. Owning a home is a privilege not a right, if you can not afford to put down more than 20 percent than you either look for another home cheaper or rent till you save enough to put down. Not the only probelm in our country but one of the big ones is people like yourself, who dont realize that if you cant afford something dont do it. I did not come from a wealthy enviroment, and I remember my parents telling me, if you never had it you dont miss it, thats true if you keep the right mind set. I have survived on a 25,000 dollar a year job, and saved a lot of money on a 100,000 plus a year job. Its always about what you need to do not what you WANT to do. if you do what you want, most of the time in the money word it equals huge debt.

    July 3rd, 2010 at 6:26 am
  53. olsteen said:

    The article makes assumptions that may or may not be in line with reality. Everyone’s situation is different. The article doesn’t come close to analyzing my brilliant situation, so allow me to let you in on the New American Dream. It’s not a house, a fancy car, a riding mower with headlights. Its’ Free Time.

    That’s it. The true dream is having time off to spend with family, go on trips, fly kites, climb trees…all that fun stuff.

    Here is how. To begin, learn something about technology, computers that is. Next become an expert in one particular aspect of computer technology (for me it’s eLearning). Get a job using that expertise, then quit for a better job, then quit again for a better job….and so on, until…

    you have worked for a dozen or so companies and are now an expert not only in your eyes, but the eyes of others. You are now a consultant. You can go into companies and recommend things that they do, instead of doing them yourself.

    You’ve worked hard and this has taken years, but now you are rewarded: you work six months a year, bill around seventy five bucks an hour, pay your taxes, live in a motel (with a pool) for about eight grand a year – real estate tax, maintenance, cleaning, and toilet paper all in.

    Your services are in demand, so, if you want, you can follow the American Nightmare and have the house, fancy car, big TV, twelve hundred dollar barbecue grill…and work all year to to maintain those things, or you can chase the New American Dream – stay in the motel and enjoy life.

    Here is my own chart for last year:

    Income: 78,700 (worked from Feb. – August)
    Total income tax burden (yes, I pay state and local tax): 16,400
    Auto – a 2009 Scion (insurance, payment, fuel, maintain…): 6,000
    Food (I eat very well – sushi, fine food….): 8,000
    Motel (ahhh…home sweet home with free HBO): 7,200

    Left for me – 52,400

    I put away twenty K for old age, and had a serious good time with the rest including two trips to Disney World, one trip to the Bahamas, a cross country trip (I drove nice and slow), and a multitude of weekend/day trips.

    I did not pay for furniture, cable television, had no direct utility bill, don’t use or own a credit card, borrow money only for a car, use cash for everything (get a lot of discounts), no lawn mower….I swam every evening during summer without paying a dime for a pool…

    Okay, you get it. What we need is to abandon old ideals of using our time to work for others so they get rich and we get by, and give that time to those who are desperate for it – family, friends, and ourselves.

    That’s my two cents…thanks.

    July 24th, 2010 at 8:02 pm
  54. If you only knew... said:

    I would like to just throw something out here in regards to the government “bailing” out B of A. Hopefully ya’ll understand that the government actually profited from this “bail out”. The facts are that B of A asked for a specific amount, however the government forced the bank into borrowing more money than needed or asked for. What we need to understand is that when B of A paid back the “loan” *which has been done already* they paid significant interest on it as well…sounds more like an investment for the government if anything. We are acting like our government just handed money over expecting no benefit in return. As stupid as you think our government may be for making this decision, your wrong. In REALITY the government actually made money off of this deal. Wake up people, this deal was a win-win situation. The question we should be asking is where is all this government profit being applied to. Should we continue to support the single mom who chose to have 3 children (just because they like they’re large tax return) by providing all of this welfare available. For example, I am single making the average middle class income, but struggling my ass off to pay for medical, dental, vision…groceries, etc. Yet, its okay for a jobless woman (simply because she lacks motivation) to have a child and be approved for food stamps, section 8 housing, free health insurace with no co-pays, free public transportation…etc? I am a hard working guy making roughly the average income and my tax dollars are being applied to this jobless womans necessities. On this note, look in my refridgerator and you will see that I cannot afford food either and yet I cannot get approved for any assistance because I make “too much money”. Now this is where I think the government is in the wrong. Let’s remember, the largest population would be the middle class (who are the ones struggling the most due to lack of assistance) Personally, as a middle class citizen I think that you should only be able to recieve something you personally have paid into. Welfare has gotten out of control, I’ve seen it with my own eyes..and it disgusts me honestly. These teenagers having babies and such are given assistance I ultimately help pay for but cannot recieve myslef. Someone please help me make sense of how I’m forced to help people that refuse to help themselves. Especially when people like myself are working and trying to make ends meet and still can’t. I am just as much in need of assistance, but my salary disqualifies me. This goes to show you nothing in life is “FAIR”. I’m obligated to pay to put food on someone else’s table out of my taxes yet at the end of the day I’m the one thats hungry without food. What’s wrong with this picture?

    August 8th, 2010 at 11:11 pm
  55. Fred in NH said:

    Olsteen, you are a genius! Move to a motel here in NH, we have no state income tax.

    August 10th, 2010 at 6:29 pm
  56. MIKE said:

    CHRIS, YOU ARE NOT ONLY AN ARROGANT ASSHOLE, BUT A BLIND FOOL TO BOOT. 5 YEARS AGO i WAS MAKING 100 TO 125k PER YEAR WITH A 5k SQ. FT. HOME W A POOL AND 3 CAR GARAGE. i LIVED IN A NEIGHBORHOOD IN A 400k HOME AND MY NEIGHBORS WERE PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES AND BUSINESS OWNERS. DON HENLEY OF THE EAGLES LIVED 1 MILE AWAY IN A BEUTIFUL HOME ON ABOUT 10 ACRES. i DROVE AN SUV AND MY WIFE DROVE A LEXUS…..NOT BAD FOR A GUY WITHOUT A COLLEGE DEGREE IF I SAY SO MYSELF. WELL I THOUGHT I WAS PRETTY SPECIAL TOO,
    UNTIL I HAD A SMALL STROKE THAT HIT MY BRAIN IN A STRATEGIC SPOT THAT TOOK AWAY MY SHORT TERM MEMORY. I NOW LIVE ON
    APPRX. 2000.00 @ MONTH, MY WIFE LEFT AND HAS MY CHILDREN.
    IN SHORT A##HOLE, INSTEAD OF BEING AN ARROGANT JERK, WHY DON’T YOU CONSIDER WHERE YOU’D BE IF JUST ONE LITTLE BLOOD CLOT WOULD BLOCK AN ARTERY OR A VEIN WOULD POP, GOD FORBID AN ARTERY WOULD RUPTURE. YOU SEE JERK, THAT YOU DONT OWN OR CONTROL ONE VERY IMPORTANT ELEMENT OF YOUR LIFE AND THAT IS YOUR ULTIMATE OUTCOME. rIGHT NOW YOU MAY
    BE A REAL WINNER IN EVERYONES EYES, BUT BELIEVE ME THAT
    EVERYTHING THAT YOU ARE AND HAVE CAN BE WIPED OUT IN NANOSECONDS. BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU SAY AND HOW YOU REACT
    TO THOSE LESS FORTUNATE OR LESS CAPABLE THAN YOURSELF………THEY MAY BE THE VERY ONES THAT WILL SPOONFEED YOU AND CHANGE YOUR DIAPERS SOMEWHERE IN YOU FUTURE. YOUR FLAMING ARROGANCE IS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING AND THE FACT THAT YOU WOULD MAKE A PUBLIC STATEMENT THAT CONFIRMS WHAT AN ASSHOLE AND JERK THAT YOU ARE SPEAKS
    VOLUMES ABOUT YOUR QUALITY AS A HUMAN BEING. DO THE REST OF US POOR, INFERIOR PEASANTS A FAVOR…..PLEASE DON’T BRING ANY OFFSPRING INTO THIS WORLD……WE HAVE ENOUGH ASSHOLES
    WALKING THIS EARTH. M.T. KANSAS CITY

    August 30th, 2010 at 2:19 pm
  57. Lesley said:

    For all of those who are complaining about the article being “incorrect” about average home prices, keep in mind that those are NATIONAL averages, not averages for each individual state. There were numerous posts from people in Texas about this. I don’t know if y’all have schools, but learn to pay attention to detail! Yes the average house in CA is going to cost WAY more than the average house in TX. That is why people came up with a “national” average. Funny thing about averages: they may not be close to what the actual number is for the given situation.
    Another issue I have discovered is that many people do not know the first thing about money management. I thought it was common sense, but apparently not. I have learned that if you are planning on buying a service or product, do your research. Find the best value for the best price. Consumers post about everything. There are many books and web sites available as sources. Don’t forget to add your own intuition to your decision!

    September 15th, 2010 at 3:51 pm
  58. adela naji said:

    who ever agrees with the article needs to go back to school.The average person is making 11.00 or less per hr-thanks to this country.11 times 2 per household is 44,000 yr-both working(max).Thanks to this country we boast no.1 in unhappyness,1out of 2 americans are unhappy.so you can throw your money in the garbage!dont you agree?

    September 16th, 2010 at 11:56 am
  59. Bobby Kearan said:

    Reading the posts, I can see some of what the problems are : lack of education. The simple grammatical errors – like using “Lone” instead of “Loan” or “There” instead of “Their” or leaving words out completely.
    I have a speech issue which may contribute to my being more careful about my wording and spelling, but seriously, you can’t expect to be take seriously when you can’t spell or write properly.

    I am in a situation similar to “If you only knew” but I don’t blame the poor woman with kids. I know there are people who take advantage of the system and are just lazy scum, but some people really try, but still need assistance. I place the most blame on Corporate Greed.

    I look at it this way – a company makes a product or provides a service. The person who ‘runs things’ and makes decisions should not be entitled to 250 times or more the amount of the average employee who actually makes things work. Corporate Greed has funneled all the money up to the top and the middle has nothing left to fund their profits with. Roughly, the top 10% of the population controls 90% of the money (but only pays 60% of the taxes, does that seem fair to you?).
    Solution : Decrease CEO and Executive Pay to increase employee pay and you maintain profitability while ensuring your consumer base will have the ability to continue to fuel your profits. (Flat tax on all income – earned and unearned – would help from the tax and government aspect as well)

    October 27th, 2010 at 8:27 am
  60. Tav said:

    Hi All I’m young and trying to understand these dynamics please assist.

    Bail outs :
    For the GM bail out , i read it was paid back with TARP money which was borrowed as well ?

    For the B of A bail out : they also paid it back with more borrowed money and didn’t actually spend the $ where they were supposed to now they are being charged with Fraud. But this is from February so im not sure what happened.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/04/AR2010020402146.html

    Taxes
    As far as taxes go:
    Income : its my understanding that the Federal reserve isn’t ran by the gov’t but a group of private bankers and investors, and we borrow money from the fed on interest and our income tax goes to pay that interest back so by natural cycle we always owe more interest so our income tax goes to international and domestic bankers , T/F ?

    Regulation: Devils Advocate approach :
    ANTI REGULATION :
    People are mad that the Gov’t tries to regulate corporations & Business , but when corporations go unregulated by nature they take advantage of their workers and in some cases send work over seas to expand their margins. Or in the case of Wal-Mart they pay workers here very little , skimp their full time to avoid benefits. What about hazardous work conditions , if it costs money to regulate your own company why would you do it when it lowers your bottom line. Board members want profit but to what expense..

    PRO Regulation: People want the government to be involved in business regulation. But when the government is notorious for inside dealing and illegal transactions with big business how can we trust them to do the right thing. Big business guy wants to reduce emission control so he can increase profit so he pays EPA guy and crew to pass bills / legislation.

    Social Regulation: i do have an opinion on this:
    People have continued to vote against gay marriage and the legalization of marijuana and abortion rights. Those same people generally vote against government regulation and taxing. How can people say less government yet regulate what people want to do with their own bodies. For gay marriage I am married with a kid on the way , though i don’t think it should be a traditional marriage why not a union of sorts , if they want to be linked for life wouldn’t we want that instead of encouraging people to feel ostracized from their community. If they have been partners for ling periods of time why shouldn’t they be allowed in emergency rooms and fall under couple tax brackets.

    Government :
    Late night ear marks , no bid contracts , seems like the same people in the Govt go back and forth from Govt to big business , Clinton , Bush , Cheney. So how do we determine who’s in govt for their own gain or the gain of the people.

    Voting and Anger:
    Our own country against itself: only 1/2 of the population even votes supposedly. Of that 1/2 there is a almost even divide. So if 100 are in a area and only 50 vote , and 20 people vote one way and 30 people vote the other , how can the winner say they represent the majority of anything? i know more people should vote but doesn’t that tell the people voting that even if there candidate wins they still may not even represent the majority. So where does so much arrogance come from when talking between party lines.

    My grandfather was a WWII vet before passing , my wife’s grandfather also Served in WWII the pacific.
    They both say things like there is a difference between what you need and want. The older generation loves their children for the most part , and follows ideals of family and responsibility. The baby boomers took that progress and turned it into “IM AMERICAN SO I DESERVE THE FOLLOWING” , consuming the best goods , saying what i want when i want , and assuming the US is the best country hands down. But those principles were not a part of the ” greatest generation ” , and yet we say we want ” our America back ”

    To me “Our America is community , small business , and our government fearing its people not the other way around”. Its people working together for a common goal which is not the current case.

    The above graph even if off by some % points here and there show me that its not about hard work and responsibility its about class separation. If they can keep us mad at each other as a community then we lose whatever power previous generations gained.

    Only a little time ago there were still kings / queens and peasants. Humans in some areas still live under those rules. We should respect and appreciate how far we have come and take responsibility for moving farther down the path of progress.

    lastly why would some one spend millions of their own money to be elected to office ? In my mind a good business person would only do that if they had some gain in the road ahead.

    Some of those were questions some obviously were opinion , if you have facts and insight into the areas that i was actually able to articulate a question please do so.

    November 4th, 2010 at 3:42 pm
  61. WV BOY said:

    I live in West Virginia and I am 22 years old. I make 28k a year working at a home imprvement store. I just purchased a house that was a foreclosure for 41k, that sold back in 2007 for 137k. The house that I just purchased being 3 bedroom 2 bath 2 story + a basement sitting on 1.5 acres. completely remodeled back in 2007 with all new windows siding roof drywall and flooring. I am living a happy life out in the country. My house payment is only $300 a month and about $150 a month for utilities. Only a year ago I was living in a city paying $800 a month for rent, $300 for a gas bill, and $100 a month for electric just to live in a dump. I was working 70 hours a week to pay my bills and I was hating life. Moving to a cheeper place to live was the best thing that I have eaver done. There are houses for sale for 20k here. I mean really who can not afford $150 a month to own your own house. There are places hiring everywhere most of them are lower paying jobs but the cost of living is also much lower. You are in controll of your life. If you are not happy change it. There are allways cheeper places to live. You will allways make new friends and you can allways visit your family.In my opinion people in California pay way too much for there houses. I see a house for sale for say 700K in california on tv. I see houses around here for 200k that are bigger and I think are nicer. It is crazy the inflation in some areas. I can see if the house was on the ocean or something but there not. Why is everyone complaining about money when there not doing anything about it. The economy is changing you need to change with it if you cant afford it. It is going to get worse before it gets better. So everyone out there having a hard time, Take control of your life work hard and change it. It wont be easy.

    And for all the haters out there you can go shove it. I know I have random sentences threw in there (lol its my thought process)and its not perfect. I dont care Im happy just telling people my story and how I feel.

    BTW Chris I also have a 60″ plasma that is payed for =)

    November 7th, 2010 at 11:06 pm
  62. Fred said:

    Funny, the spelling nazi above made a spelling mistake of his own!

    “you can’t expect to be take seriously”

    shouldn’t that be taken

    Ha, Ha

    November 8th, 2010 at 8:40 am
  63. Madhu Krishnan said:

    well, i live in india and lead a reasonably comfortable life earning 3k($) after tax . my wife earns 2k after tax. We live in a decent neighbourhood in a 3 bedroom house with a cook and a servant.
    i am up for an immigration interview to move permanaently to the US and i was hoping for some practical advise.
    1) Will we have a similar lifestyle – i know the perception in the west that india is a poor country with call centers , i would define it as a vibrant growing economy
    2) Is the job situation very bad, will we be able to land jobs that at least support a decent lifestyle.

    I am a hospitality professional currently managing a call centre here and my wife is a HR specialist with an american company in Bangalore.

    your frank thouths, ideas and advise will be welcome.

    November 11th, 2010 at 2:44 am
  64. Brittany said:

    I got on this website trying to figure out what the average income of a 22 year old was in this economy. I have a double major in Electronic Media broadcasting and Communications with an area of concentration in Entreprenuership. I speak Spanish and Chinese fluently and I am an Emergency Medical Technician. I have an education, I have applied for many jobs, and I make $15,000/yr, gross pay. The only job I can find is one as an EMT at a transport company and even there I only got a part-time position. I have tons of work experience in many different areas and so far I make more money facepainting at Birthday parties than working a real job. I am one of those “losers” that has an education but still has to help those “poor peasants” for close to minimum wage. I just wanted to say that, yes, life is tough and I live at home…again…and I can’t afford to do anything because my job hours are inconsistent. Although, the other day I was driving home from work and I saw a woman who crashed her car into an excursion carrying a man and his 7 year-old daughter. The man and his daughter were fine, but the woman was not. She was driving a brand new Escalade. all white, tricked out. She was probably in her mid 40s and she had 4 children. She was drinking and was the only one in the car. Her leg was so shattered that it was almost like touching jello. Rather than talking about herself, all she could think about was how angry her husband would be that she wrecked the car. Then she told me that last time she messed up she had her face knocked in and was put in intensive care for a month. I guess the point I am trying to get across is that I see people on the worst day of their life all the time, and there are times when money doesn’t help you. MIKE had it right, I have seen instances where peoples lives are changed in seconds. Some people even get angry at us for saving their lives because they know that life isn’t going their way. It is hard for me to make sense in this comment because there are so many things running through my head at the moment but i jsut want people to realize that life is worth living and there are ways to make it work without money. I guess I just needed to read this blog to remind me. Life can be good with or without it and I have been on both sides. May family is wealthy, but for the past 6 years I have been on my own until now. I am lucky enough to come back because I had a child and my family wants her to have a good quality of life. Just be nice to the people around you because you never know when you may need their help. Also, remember that it is easier for someone to pull you down to their level than up to it, so surround yourself with good people.

    November 14th, 2010 at 12:14 pm
  65. Janet said:

    For all of you who keep saying you would like to see it broken down into government wages compared to non-government wages…..I would love to see all of the unreported wages included. All of the under-the-table or cash money earned. To get a truly honest figure of wages, I believe we would have to have all of that included, and honestly, we also have to have certain benefits included. Such as housing allowances, food allowances, etc. given to certain workers, also, the value of food stamps, etc. and the value of bonuses and other benefits.
    THEN we should figure dollars on the same work week. Why should one person be looked down on because they make more money than another, when they are actually working their *** off. There are 35 hour work weeks, and there are people who work over 45 hours every week.
    I don’t like to see people who are working hard attacked. It is the ones who work easy and make a lot of money that I would have a problem with. Also, I always say, the problem is not that some people are making too much…it is that a lot of people are not making enough. Anyone who is working hard and putting in their 40 hours or more should not have to suffer from poverty. Perhaps when they first start working, but they need to have something to look up to. For hope for the future.

    November 15th, 2010 at 7:27 pm
  66. Janet said:

    To make myself clearer (after I read my comments after posting I thought I could be misunderstood), when I talk about unreported income, I am talking about those who perhaps are self-employed. This could be a home business, or someone who has a business but does not report all income. Also, the tax breaks they get. I hear of people who own a business who take the WHOLE family to Disney World for a 4 day vacation, and write it off as a business deduction.
    There are a lot of people who are not honest about their true income.
    Many people have learned to use the tax system to make their incomes appear lower than they actually would be, also.
    That is part of the reason why we cannot just take for granted that certain people make better earnings than others.
    When I was young and going to have a baby, I worked with a few others who were in the same situation as me, and we both worked the same job, and our husbands both worked the same jobs. So we both made the same income. They MUST have lied about their income, since they somehow qualified for WIC and I did not. Hmmm. Under reporting their income. It happens all of the time.

    November 15th, 2010 at 7:34 pm
  67. J Walker said:

    I have a hard time with a lot of these comments. A lot are not realistic. For the most part – most can’t even spell which is really ridiculous. So what does the average American people make -take home pay. Is their home paid for, car etc. How many are completely debt free?

    November 17th, 2010 at 10:20 am
  68. D. W. Watts said:

    If government is of the people, by the people, and for the people, and: “gvernment isn’t the solution, government is the problem”, it is apparent who the G.O.P. thinks is the problem. They are saying the people are the problem.
    I respectfully disagree. It took government to make education available to kids of working people, The fourty hour work week, and eight hour day, safe workplaces, and to stop child labor.
    The G.O.P. wants to extend tax cuts for people who make over 250000 dollars a year. They want to do away with minimum, wage, and child labor laws. Seems to me they are four square for no one but the top two or three percent of americans.
    It aint big government that scares me. It’s big buisness and the G.O.P.

    November 18th, 2010 at 8:23 am
  69. Jessica said:

    XD If I could afford to live in Cali, I probably would live there already.

    November 26th, 2010 at 4:01 pm
  70. Nick said:

    The median household income is 46K but that is not the median income of homeowners, as the bottom household income category (poverty, working poor) don’t buy homes but live in much cheaper rentals. I would say the average household salary of homeowners is probably substantially higher, around 65K per year, leaving more like 4400 per month after takes, minus 1400 for mortgage that’s 3000 per month. Still not a lot, but enough to pay bills and save a little.

    November 30th, 2010 at 7:36 pm
  71. Gavin said:

    From the article: “What we need is a focus on jobs and our economy, not bailing out banks. That defeats the entire purpose.”

    Tired of hearing Tarp was a hand-out. The treasury no more gave money to Goldman Sachs than you give money to your local savings & loan. We bought them, okay. We now own a large share of equity in the banks and if the banks survive -which they should with the large capital infusion that was Tarp, we’ll sell our equity share with a handsome return to the tax payer. Yes, the final outcome remains uncertain but the alternative would have been a sure-fire collapse of the banks, their creditors holding the bag (you, me and china), and a scarcity of capital that would have pushed interest rates through the roof, collapsed our employers, driven up unemployment and turned our homes and 401ks to ash. TARP has been unpopular, but Bush (starting it) and Obama (executing it) have made the right calls.

    We are in a bad economic state my friends -raising taxes, cutting federal spending and obstructing the fed will only delay a recovery. The response needs to be large, but temporary. Get out of the way and give it time.

    December 4th, 2010 at 3:25 pm
  72. Jaeke said:

    I have wife and 5 kids. My wife does not work outside the home. I make between 120k – 135k per year living in Southeastern Wisconsin. We don’t by any means lead an extravagant lifestyle. We have worked hard to get where we are at and don’t expect some folks to understand when I say 100k+ is not huge amount f money. My goal is to be making 200k before I am 50 years of age.

    December 4th, 2010 at 10:12 pm
  73. KLD said:

    Everyone talks a bunch of “$hit” but still votes for republicain… Thats what you get!!!

    December 6th, 2010 at 1:08 pm
  74. Simeon Mahov said:

    Mr. Richard Bankers, I am certain that you suffer by some form of mental sickness, which unluckily hasn’t stopped you from becoming literate. I think you rather hold bankers as Gods instead of Jesus, for those who created the religion of Christianity must have not conceived of social shortcomings such as you, if you are Christian. I cannot understand why profession serves as a definition of a person’s worth to you. Anyhow, I think that managers have the sanity not to promote persons such as you, if that’s what you were trying to do… :))
    People, I think the govt is doing what they can and hold its actions to be reasonable. Under pressure of an economical crisis, decisions must be spontaneous and that does not necessarily mean effective right-away. The middle and low class of the nation need to understand that a recession is not something you simply watch on the news. No govt in the world has the capacity to regulate an economy through microeconomic gauges. This is why they are trying to regulate economy on a macro-level through relationships with the most significant businesses and other measures. In a global recession, it is unrealistic, if not silly, to expect an average American to be able to buy a house as if they were buying a car… Let’s keep out of populist moves, because they are dangerous in the long run and are lacking in competence. Don’t get the wrong impression, I myself am in a household with income of less than 50k.

    December 13th, 2010 at 4:04 pm
  75. mountainaires said:

    Good analysis, but I wish I had the numbers of the households in the top 5% and what portion of the taxes they pay for the rest of the nation. Also, it’s time for this country to stop believing in fantasies like the “myth” of the “American Dream”; stop buying homes with a mortgage. You pay twice as much as the purchase price of the home due to interest rates. It’s patently pathetic that Americans think it’s some “adult rite of passage” to buy a home so that they can entrap themselves for bank profits! Rent; save your money; buy a home with cash. Stop willingly stepping up onto the treadmill of debt servitude. Renting allows you to be flexible in your career choices; it saves you the cost of upkeep; and the loss of wealth, which you could be saving, in order to create your own financial security.

    December 18th, 2010 at 8:26 am
  76. ray said:

    Chris worked in the banking industry in 2009 when he made the post. I think he got laid off by now living on unemployment and is about to lose his home, his keg and Plasma tv.

    December 19th, 2010 at 11:45 pm
  77. dennis smith said:

    They don’t want to here this comment

    Most people in the USA are socialists.Not their fault really.Most people started out being free thinking individuals and died on the block either from competition or bad luck. Most took jobs from established system runned tax paying failures who took bribes from political elite individuals gauanteeing success at the expense of the next generations.This being their payback to corrupt system failures that have control over your life by bending over to their oppressors.
    If people in general were really interested in getting off the dole they would not go see another movie subscribe to cable channels,or go to another professional sports game.Most money generated from these super hero’s go to the power elite through taxes to invest in non producing assetts not fit for Muslim terrorists.The whole institutional way of investing is made up of derivative hedges backed by government regulations which creates more money which creates more inflation which devalues your dollars.
    Prices go up and the free thinking produceing competiter is bought out by the non producing paper pushing system non competitive corporation owned and run by your elected leaders on a bribe. Your Central Planning bank backed by your congressional members except for one or 2 elected by your representatives are the owners of your own destruction.
    Instead of prosperity you have systematic collapse happening all around you in the form of overbuilding to meet real demand and over printing to satisfy wastefull spending and resource depletion.
    All of this deranged chaos leads to wars created by crooks in control of your World.Where you control the money supply you control the populace and the police state who is corrupted on free gifts to give order to the masses who were programmed to be slaves through the corrupt system.
    Wall street has nothing to do with this. Wall street is a place that entreprenuers come to to gain capital to invest in worthy projects and create jobs. Only Central bankers destroy economies for the benefit of socialist masters and communist believers in Utopias that do not exist except for their own beneficial masters.Wall street as a free private business will in its self police itself or another private group of investors will take its place.Only regulators in communist syphathizeing organizations will destroy your freedoms.

    January 2nd, 2011 at 9:02 am
  78. dennis smith said:

    Don’t know how old you are Jaeke but when I first started working you were not expected to earn more that 200K in your lifetime. Unless you worked extraordinary hours at a different job. Which brings me to defending my last comment. No one should have to pay taxes.We should however pay a national sales tax on consumption.There in being there would be an encentive for savings and investment. Whenever the economy gets hot it is a good thing until you tax the producers.Well producers do consume and when you have no encentive to conserve your resources you won’t. The amount of resource waste in the whole world is destroying your systems. The terrorists that you proclaim to be so against you are definitly likeing that. Most of these people who are against conservation are against free markets and are for things like Genocide .A free market individual does not want to kill his next potential client. Government regulators are not responsible people. Law enforcers of natural law should be. You do know the concept of natural law don’t you? printing money brings on false demand and over populated societies.Before medical developments came to being people did not live as long. Present demographical emplications are bringing on a return to conservation and if not carefull the so called terrorists best dreams will come true.

    January 2nd, 2011 at 10:03 am
  79. Jim said:

    My wife and I will earn +200k this year. Corporate greed is alive and well..I see it everyday. I have no idea how a family is expected to live the American dream on 50k a year. Anyone remember a time when most households survived on one income? Don’t let people tell you it’s your fault, that you live beyond your means. That is simply rich people who want you to feel guilty for wanting a house, car, retirement and a annual vacation. If you work 40+ hours a week you should NOT be living paycheck to paycheck. Most of the people struggling these days are not lazy.

    January 3rd, 2011 at 9:12 pm
  80. LuLu said:

    I agree with Jim. In general, people who are struggling out there aren’t lazy. It’s simply what our society has come to. This was EYE OPENING. I was looking this up, as I feel my husband and I are lacking in something we’re doing financially. It appears there are SO many people out there with SO much money. Come to find out, we end up around the top 5% of the population.

    I’m baffled. We drive modest cars (a Prius, for heavens sake) and own a home that’s at least 50% less than what most mortgage calculators say we could afford. I still feel as though we don’t save enough, invest enough, don’t go out to eat a lot, don’t get to travel as much as we’d like, etc. How is it that there appears to be so many people living in $1 million dollar homes and both driving luxury cars? I guess there really are a lot of people living outside of their means. As for the idiot Chris, who came to this board to boast about his salary, something must be missing out of your life. I am not saying this out of jealousy; we actually have a household income higher than yours. That being said, I realize that could end tomorrow. Grow up and don’t compensate by trying to make people feel bad in order to stroke your ego and feel better about yourself.

    I am so glad I read this article. I will go to bed more thankful than I usually am. Our country really needs help, and while we live in a free country with opportunity, it isn’t always that easy for some. Some people work harder than the top 1% and can barely pay their bills. Such a shame.

    January 6th, 2011 at 9:06 pm
  81. Michael Lubensky said:

    I liked the article and loved the following comments.
    A+ to the author for raising up the discussion. Usually I have no trust for the numbers that are taken from 1 source only but many specific comments are awesome.

    Ladies and Gents, you don’t realy know how happy you are with your 50k salary and 2+2 houses in 1M+ city suburbs with garage for 90-380k and the ratio of 2-9 year income (depending on a state) for the home where you can live. You can sell it for much more after 15-30 years.

    5 years ago I have been living in Ukraine where the medium salary is USD 150 per month. Most of a nation can’t make 2k per year!
    A house or 2+kk flat is a dream for them so they live with parents or pay rent. You could buy one in 1M+ city for 150k and 80k for a parking place. Down payment is 50%, interest rate is 17-30% per year. The situation in India and many other growing countries is pretty similar, I believe.

    As a successful sales executive and an entrepreneur I have been making more than average, moved to Eastern Europe (Prague) 4 years ago and now I am at 30k+ again, making much more than locals. BTW, the same 2+2 house in suburbs would cost around 300k.

    I do plan to go for the US. Sales exec at the same level as me is getting 100k+ but I am aiming at higher mgmt position and willing to open the business there in a year.

    Try to see more opportunities instead of arguing.
    If all the commentors to that post can sell their houses, together you may buy a small county like Moldova for sure and become the government )))

    I wrote this for comparison how poor are the 50k Americans and how poor the real poor are. You have the choise, many people don’t.

    So cheer up :) life is fantastic!

    January 8th, 2011 at 1:55 pm
  82. Adam said:

    Debt is a huge problem facing most Americans the problem is it is very easy to get it and very difficult to get rid of it.

    I myself am a single 25 year old software engineer … I’ve been working since I graduated at 21. My main source of debt is student loans and car loan which are unavoidable unless I was a marathon runner and enjoyed flipping burgers for minimum wage to pay for food and shelter.

    I currently earn $55,000 before taxes which is slightly below average for my field and experience level. In reality after taxes, benefits, 401k contribution, my actual earnings are about $40,000 per year.

    I made it through college by taking out a massive amount of loans which I will be paying back at a rate of $1000 a month for another 6 years at the least. My 534 sq ft apartment rent in Arizona is $600 a month. My car payment, insurance, gas, maintenance comes to about $720 a month so I can get back and forth to work on time. My other bills include electricity, internet, food, phone, etc and total about $750 a month.

    So all told that leaves me with about $3,000 a YEAR for myself while the software I create generates millions upon millions in sales revenues and contracts for the company I work for.

    I’m a missing something? This really doesn’t seem to add up I basically have no life, live in a box, and the only entertainment I can afford in the few hours a day when I can do what I want are video games and watching movies. I don’t know if I can do this for another half decade or more without going insane … my entire youth and vitality of my twenties wasted making money for other people and trying to dig myself out of debt. Girlfriends? hah forget it I can’t afford to date ever since getting the new car and the only thing women seem to want is money anyway I’ve had enough of that for one lifetime even though I could count the number of women I’ve been with on my fingers.

    So I thought well I can’t really cut costs easily so I need to earn more income. I started my own LLC company for software consulting and IT, tried developing online games through the same with no luck. I’m also into music which is my real passion since I was 8 years old but despite playing in many bands I’ve never made any money from drums or music. In short none of these “self employment” attempts generated any income some even cost me additional money which I clearly don’t have.

    So what gives I’m not greedy. I just want a small house someday with a music room and hopefully an honest girl who is as much a friend as anything else. I’m going to be almost 40 years old by the time I get out of debt if I don’t buy a house or get sick or hurt.

    Am I really suppose to wait half my life to have anything for myself?

    January 15th, 2011 at 9:41 pm
  83. 702 said:

    Adam I feel for you hella I dont know when I will ever have money again. I live in vegas and only make a crappy 22k a year… I’m 26 and I dont see myself getting out of debt anytime soon. Last year I was unemployed for awhile and I maxed out my credit cards and went over drawn in my bank account and I didnt have the money at the time to pay the bank back. I also got a few sig loans because at the time I had great credit. Nowadays I use either cash or prepaid debit cards. To this day I havent paid any off them off because I had to settle with a low paying job and all my money goes to rent, car, phone etc.. I will be lucky if I own my own home before im 40 ffs.

    January 30th, 2011 at 2:03 pm
  84. Tyra Tanks said:

    If you make any attempt at reading investment and financial books, you will begin to realize that investing is now the name of the game (don’t bother with the “I need a raise” approach to wealth). Blue Chip Companies are probably one of your best bets to achieving prosperity (think about it… what has your job done for you lately?). And, while unemployment is still high, large companies are thriving! How can that be? The lower and middle classes don’t have any money.

    The huge profits that large companies make are a combination of products sold in huge volumes… cheap labor… cheap materials… and lack of regard for their dominion of easily replaced workers who often do the work of more than one. Complain about anything and you’re history – - your single-skilled talent is easily replaced by a younger and financially hungrier novice. Few are the days of quality high-tech workers – - we live in an environment where products, perfected or not, get into the market and onto store shelves to earn money for the company; any short-comings will be endlessly battled in court at the tax payers expense (again). The profits are given to shareholders and to select executives for keeping payrolls to a minimum (lean and mean). What you’ll get instead is a COPIER printed Certificate of Appreciation or other such useless acknowledgement. Try offering one of those certificates to your creditors: Most Valued Creditor Award. I think they would prefer cash payment as well.

    Ironically, if companies (across the board) were not taxed and instead took those savings and increased their employees pay, then lower and middle class workers would, in turn, follow their natural behavior: consume and spend… a happy worker is a free spending worker. Companies would have greater profits… investors would be happier… workers would be loyal and productive because they would have better lives (real or not because they would have more discretionary cash). All of these results would occur in a natural and balanced manner – - unlike today. It would be and has been (in days past) a win – win formula.

    The rising cost of healthcare is another part of the battle; insurance companies are not the main problem. What little cost-of-living increase you get, healthcare washes it away. Aside from our unwillingness or insufficient income to not make the best nutritional choices, hospitals… pharmaceutical companies… medical equipment makers and trial lawyers cause healthcare costs to rise. Look at the face of the issue as opposed to its eye catching pimple.

    We should look in the mirror as well. For example, somehow, companies like Apple, RIM, Google and others produce what could be defined as non-essential elite products (at least for most people) and yet their profits are soaring! Lower and middle class people are buying these products (when a basic cell phone would do in most instances). We need to share the blame for our financial hole. When you become a subscriber of a product, you’re giving away your potential investment money. Achieve a level of wealth first… then spend it without guilt. How mucg debt did you have already as you bought thay new large-screen screen?

    Lower and middle class citizens live in a lesser world just as small businesses do. Both struggle while larger companies are approved to merge to form mega-companies with few or too-small-to-matter competitors. Mega-companies have become so powerful (too big to let fail) that they dictate what others should charge them for supplies and control pricing instead of letting the market (natural supply and demand) guide it. Like government expansion and spending, they are a cancer that is spreading and deforming our economy.

    While it might seem nice to be able to buy products at seemingly discounted prices from huge companies, the price you pay is greater in the long-run. Fewer job opportunities, lower wages, less competition, and low quality imported products equate to higher taxes to subsidize the fall-out. And so, your taxes rise to offset the problem and so another company copies the success of the other and soon you have no discretionary cash because your wages are no longer keeping up with inflation… you pay higher taxes and so the vicious cycle gets worse. More companies merge… less jobs are available… wages get lower due to inflation and taxes rise.

    So, when you buy and don’t think first then you lose. Once our fragile economy stabilizes, oil prices WILL rise (if gasoline could, it would go to $5/gallon but ultimately lower and middle class society impede the rise in price; down the road, inflation will cause $5/gal. gasoline to be reality). Reduce buying and it will lower. It’s no longer about competition between like companies but rather competition huge mega-companies that proabably do not have any common or similar products. Good or bad, that’s the current paradigm. The act of buying gasoline is a need, but the volume of your purchase is a choice in many cases

    Taxes – - the hard earned income of the masses – - are given to the government. Our government once represented the mind-set of the people but now has a mind-set of its own. Our government is driven by re-election. Promises of “more money for education” and “less pork barrel politics” are the norm. Our taxes (your money) should go towards maintaining our security, our infrastructure and maintaining other “needed” public institutions and services that benefit the majority of the US and not special interests. Religious organizations and other non-profit entities can take care of the rest. We are good people and wish for no one to suffer. The government should not be deciding which special interest programs our hard earned money should go towards. Our government needs to return to the basics.

    As long as our government keeps creating “money games,” our ability to prosper will continue to fail. Run and hide when politicians offer to spend more on education. That shell game has been going-on for the last 40-years (have you seen any good results yet of this rhetoric?). Giving more to education means giving their public education bureaucrats raises. Let local communities decide – you know better how to spend within your own community. To further the case, the cost of your child going to a college is compounded by government backed loans. Colleges have learned to raise tuition to continue the gravy train. Remember, it’s nearly impossible to default on a student loan and the schools just keep raising the price and the government keeps paying. Sorry, I meant to say that YOU keep paying. It’s nice to have guaranteed payments for services rendered.

    Remember what I said earlier, taxes are your money and the government simply acts as a DISTRIBUTION and ASSESSMENT center when it comes to taxes (must be fun playing with someone else’s money). If we start using the word TAXES, but only for money being sent to the government and use the phrase INDIVIDUAL & FAMILY INCOME, when referring to money spent by the government, then politicians would be less likely to approve House Bills that spend our money so freely because then you really could ask “What did you spend my Family Income on and how will it benefit me or my family?” The individual components of our U.S. economy, that once worked as a machine to benefit all of us, has now been divided into mini-machines that serve a compartmentalized select few. Its a game of spending money and receving contributions to get re-elected.

    And so there you have it. Re-think the problem and attack the root cause. When people have money… they spend it. But when discretionary money is hard to come buy, and only a few have enough to buy above their basic needs, then companies will continue to (incorrectly) pay more attention to their shareholders and executives and run lean and mean. They will make every effort to extract what little (discretionary?) income that you have left via repetitive advertisements. While this negative cycle is in play, your best chance to get ahead is to become a shareholder. Think of it as giving yourself a raise and moving closer to upper-class life! If our large companies don’t stop mimicking each other, the U.S. consumer pool will dry-up. $46,326, in this environment, is simply the result of a cancerous growth of misguided corporations. Earned money (not borrowed money) needs to circulate to move the lower and middle classes higher. But for some reason, large companies and the government just don’t see it. If you think things are bad now, get ready for a worse economical dip within the next 10 years. We will survive it, but life will not be the same afterwards – - the middle class will be the lower class and previous lower class will convert into into a miniature 3rd world society.

    February 8th, 2011 at 11:46 pm
  85. Jeffrey said:

    If you are living in Louisville, Kentucky will will need to deduct State Income Tax, City Tax, and a School Tax from that 46K. The budget just got smaller.

    February 13th, 2011 at 9:40 am
  86. Mike said:

    Something you all need to think about is why the job losses are happening, the problem is not the exchange rate with China – India or wherever else the politicians try to blame. It is simply that people in some countries are prepared to work harder for less pay than others in say the USA or Europe.
    It doesn’t matter how you try to cut it, if you are working 40 hours for 100 units pay and somebody in say China is prepared to work 80 hours for 50 units pay you can mess around with exchanges rates for ever but you wont beat them. It is obvious that the global financial system is going to bring the low earning countries up and the high earning countries down until there is some kind of level playing field. That will be nice if you are a low earner but a real bummer if you are starting high and ending up low.

    February 16th, 2011 at 10:09 am
  87. Ida said:

    Capitalism hits home when I read these comments and realize that social stratification, economic disadvantages, and historical factors have no recognized resonance in the ability to be rich in this forum. I would like to ask what is this richness so desired? This ‘preservation of wealth’? What truly is your wealth? What is your worth besides an economic net? I am not implying that this worth is nothing, this is the absolute opposite of what I am asking. I only ask for a personal evaluation of ones self. The use of human reason to be self reflective. No doubt I understand money controls our social systems. I find this regrettable that paper has replaced people. I hope before the end, we prove otherwise again and we all (including myself) may be released from this play of imagination we have turned into reality.

    February 16th, 2011 at 10:07 pm
  88. Happy American said:

    How about corporations sending work to China, Mexico India etc.? We all know why they do it. So instead of $200M in profits its 500M or more.

    Im 27 years old and have ranged in salary from 30k 7 years ago to 60k presently. While of course my way of life between these periods are different, I have always more than “gotten by”. Meanwhile I watch fellow co-workers and friends more than struggle yet having the same job and salaries. It’s about decision making.

    The freedom for the buisness owner to risk everything, work his ass off and benefit from those decisions or the average American to stick with the comfort and security of steady income while working for the man at middle class incomes is part of what this country was founded on. Why on earth should a person be criticized for hard work and the success that follows. You work hard to and should be rewarded too right? If you’re not change it.

    Take action for the things you can change. If you don’t like it, change it. And when that hard work pays off and success finds you like it did Chris, be thankful and humble and not an arrogant prick.

    February 17th, 2011 at 9:19 pm
  89. Michael said:

    I see a lot of info on here about home prices and average salaries in Texas, California and middle united states…. But here in Northern Virginia and the DC Area, these figures are way way off.

    To start you can’t even find a 1 bedroom condo (outside of the ghetto) for as little as $200,000, maybe more like $350K.
    Rent for a two bedroom (800 sq ft) apartment is between $2200 & $3000 a month in Georgetown (DC, and that’s not luxury, that is basic without even a washer or dryer …
    The average home price (for non-section 8 or low income housing) is around $500,000 For real! And that’s for a small town house (1100 sq ft); to get a house out here (3-4 bedroom 2-3 bathrooms) may cost you over a million. Seriously! Whens the last time you saw a 30 year+ old row house (small thin townhouse) in Kentucky going for 2mil+ ?… well you can easily pay that here…

    That’s like several times what you are saying Texas prices are. And guess what, the salary is far from being several times that much…
    So if you want that little 3 bedroom house with a 20 foot yard and a white picket fence here, you will be paying close to $4000 a month for it minimum, not including taxes or utilities.

    It is unbelievable that house and rent prices are as high as they are.
    Your mortgage should be around 1/3 your take home pay…. That would mean I need to be making around 270,000+ a year… to live in dc with the same comfortable living as in Texas. That is quite difficult to do…
    The way I see it, to live here you are either in debt or doing something illegal… more than likely you’re both.
    Here’s a breakdown of the basic expenses here in dc,
    For a family of 4 with 2 kids ages 1 and 3
    2500 a month rent (can’t afford the 4k a month to buy)
    700 a month health insurance (basic health for family of 4, premium health is around $1200 a month)
    300 a month car insurance (two cars no accidents)
    850 a month food (without eating out or dinning, it is $150, that’s $30+ a meal, just to take the family to a local restaurant downtown… I can’t afford that… yes I know there is McDonalds, but do you get shot stabbed, rapped or robbed at the McDonalds by your house?… well you do here in dc)
    (if you wanted to get drinks at a decent bar downtown get ready to pay $15+ a drink, yep that’s for a rail whiskey and coke)
    400 a month gas for cars (you drive 5 miles to work it takes over an hour by the way)
    700-1000 a month utilities (gas, water, electric, renters insurance, sewage, trash, parking, community fees)… I have seen some condo fees that were $1400 a month+ on top of your rent and that provides you nothing but a community pool and your 2 feet of grass mowed!
    150-200 (TV, internet, and phone)
    2400 a month day care…. I kid you not its $300 a week everywhere here, times 2 for two kids….
    750 Kids college savings 20,000 a year for 4 years times 2 for 2 kids broken down monthly over 18 years that’s a total of 160,000 / 18 / 12
    1000 Retirement a month (you should be putting in around 1500)
    200 a month for life insurance on both adults
    200 a month personal property tax (2400 a year)
    10% pre tax tithes (whatever that comes out to for you)
    Those are the basics and that comes to about 11600 a month after taxes,
    Now if you had 2 car payments you can add 500 – 1000 a month for that
    If you ate out once a week and had drinks once a week, you can add 1000 to that also
    If you go on a date with your spouse once a month to a spa or hotel that’s like 300-1000
    Emergency fund (unexpected damages or replacements) you could add 200-500 a month
    Like to play golf in dc?… add anywhere from $500-10,000 a month for a membership
    Don’t bother having enough money to pay of credit cards or school debt… that will never happen…
    You want dippers and formula and clothes for your kids? Well at this point you are probably the guy robbing people at McDonalds!
    Unless you’re making a quarter million a year minimum you are probably in serious debt.
    Yet the average pay here is only $120,000, which is about $80,000 after federal state and local taxes
    Or just under 7000 a month, so how do they do it here,
    1.Don’t have health care
    2.Don’t have insurance,
    3.Don’t go to college and don’t send your kids to school, or just go in debt for school for life,
    4.Open 15 credit cards, to pay for all the stuff you couldn’t afford to buy in the first place
    5.Lower your tithes and offerings from 10% to 10 cents flat.
    6.Don’t give anyone a penny for anything.. Who cares if they are homeless or sick?….
    7.Sue the crap at of everyone you can, for any reason
    8.Don’t pay your taxes…
    9.You get in an accident… speed off as quickly as you can, you cant afford to have your insurance raised.
    10.When you get sick, go to the emergency room, and don’t pay a dime… ever
    11.Finally, Don’t have any retirement, plan to just kill yourself after your last day of work…. Work is all you ever do anyway…

    Starting to see a pattern?… go to DC and you will see all this taking place (well not so much of number 11)…. This area is horrible….
    No wonder everyone is on anti-depressant and anxiety medication here…

    This whole area has lost its mind….

    What ever happened to the husband only having to work from 9-5 to provide for his family of 6 and his wife not having to work outside of the house at all…

    Now I work from 530AM to 5PM and my wife works from 7AM to 6PM
    Monday through Friday oh and Saturdays to (with 2 additional hours of drive time each)… together we put in well over 100 hours a week to pay for less then what use to be paid for with 40…. and don’t even dream about having more than two kids… you might not even be able to afford 1… plus you only get to see them for 15 minutes anyways…. something is seriously wrong with this picture

    sorry about the vent… I am so stressed out if you couldn’t tell

    March 9th, 2011 at 12:33 pm
  90. Wargo said:

    Hello everyone,
    I’m a 20 years old french student in France, the country with one of the best social security system … NOT! (but that’s not the issue) I also am a US citizen (I have a US passeport). I’ve been in the US many times to visit my family in Iowa and in Indiana and I will go visit them this summer. I would like to say a few things about the current situation in France and what I read and hear about the one in the US.
    Please bare the following numbers in mind.
    In France, 50% of the popuation have an income less than 1500€ (2150$) a month, that makes 18000€ (25800$) a year, and half of the population earn between 1120€ and 2600€ (1600$ and 3700$) a month, with 30% of the population living with less than 1120€ (1600$) a month and 20% of the population living with more than 2600€ (3700$) a month. That means that 80% of the population in France earn less than 31080€ (44400$) a year! According to a Franch organization called IFRAP, in 2006, 17% of all the salaried employees in France earn the minimum wage salary, whereas, in the US, only 1,5% of all the salaried employees earn the minimum wage salary. In 2006, 13% of the population over 25 years old earn the minimum wage salary in France against 1,7% in the US.
    All the countries suffer from the crisis (some more than other) and are facing huge national debts (except Norway, I think). The strain on middle class has grown a lot in the past decade (in France, gas prices have increased by 50% in ten years, reaching an historical price of 8.11$ a gallon for regular gas!) and restriction measures must be taken by both people and governments. Times are tough for most people but it is not the end of the world (compared to what a lot of Japaneese are going through right now). It is just a phase and some powerful people along with governments must do their best so that a financial crisis like the one human kind just experienced never occures again (or at least must limit its impact).
    So my point is that the middle class all over the world is going trough a rough patch. But if most of the middle class people just took a step back, they would see that their personal situation is not so bad. You are a 22 years old student with a degree who has to return to mom and dad’s house and work part time? What’s the big deal. You’ve got your whole life ahead of you. What’s that? You have a loan to pay back? Everyone has loans to pay back. You have to struggle a bit at first but one day it will pay, especially in the US. And when times are difficult, be reasonnable. Enjoy simple things and don’t purchase things you can’t afford.
    My family is part of the middle classes in France. My father doesn’t earn as much as he you used to but we are doing fine (we also have loans to pay back) because we are reasonnable people and put things into perspective. I think that people should act the same in these difficult times.

    April 14th, 2011 at 5:15 am
  91. Tokyorat said:

    Hi I am a Japanese living in Tokyo. If you earn 46K in Tokyo and try to make living…that’s going to be very hard. I imagine 46,326$ ave salary a year in US could relativily better than having same amount of money in Japan. Cost of living is high here, for example, 1 litre of gasoline(not gallon) cost 160JPY (2 $!) And Japan’s average salary is approximately 37K. Many young guys do not buy vehicle, people goes outlets, burgain sale etc. And top of that, quake hit us hard.

    May 6th, 2011 at 2:04 am
  92. Scott said:

    Who are all you people? I live in central MN and ALL the people I know have a hard time breaking 25K a year… 200-300K homes? Are you kidding. The divorce rate is 50/50, government is steadily chewing up any future money we could have ever counted on and only 47% of Americans hold full-time positions anymore, mostly those who have retained them. There is absolutely no incentive for businesses to bring back full-timers, they are making too much money and foreign labor is CHEAP. So get ready to quarter your all-ready high numbers for your new revised part-time edition buddy.

    May 11th, 2011 at 2:22 am
  93. Jon said:

    I worked for 20 years making very little, started several small businesses that did not pan out. I now own a business that my first year made me $8000 for the whole year. I almost gave up. 13 years later, I make close to a million dollars a year and employ 30 people who I pay well. I was once poor and now I’m not. The 1 per centers used to be the poor also, in most cases. I never resented those who made a lot, but was thankful I lived in a country where I had the chance to succeed. Where were you people who are so angry when I worked 80 hours a week and risked everything to try. I already pay more than my fair share, and give freely besides. For those who are beat down don’t give up. For those who are unwilling to try and want someone else to pay the freight, you will always be living on someone else’s scraps. By the way money doesn’t buy happiness, Jesus does.

    October 29th, 2011 at 12:07 pm
  94. Stephanie said:

    poverty is going on every where!:(

    October 31st, 2011 at 9:11 am
  95. Harry said:

    The author forgot to mention the utilities, car maintenance and gas prices, tuition fees for a child and so on and so forth. Doing Russian-English written translations from my Moscow home, I make $60,000 net (we never quote “gross” figures here) per year. The problem is that my household counts five people, including me, my wife (housewife), my 85-year-old Mom, my elder 23-year-old daughter (a school teacher) and my younger 4-year-old daughter. My Mom makes $20,000 on top of my 60K (pension $6,000 plus apartment rent $14,000 – she cannot live alone there and so she rents it out and lives with us). Me elder daughter brings another $20,000 into the family treasury. So the total is $100,000 or $20,000 per family member per year. We spend half and save half. But bear in mind: we are landlords (two private apartments plus a small holiday home in the country) and so we do not have to pay a mortgage.

    November 7th, 2011 at 9:48 am
  96. Tess said:

    I agree with the first sentence in that last post: Who ARE you people? Our household income is less than 25000, and that’s after TEN YEARS on the job! We bought a 70,000 dollar house because the mortgage payments were about what we were paying in rent, so we felt we could AFFORD this house. Of course, property taxes have been steadily increased over the years, so we are financially probably no better off now than we were when we were only getting 18000 a year. I’m reading these posts on here and I had the same reaction as Scott up there. I think we’re pretty average, and we have one vehicle (an old beat up car, but it runs!), we don’t have cable or “smart phones”, or i-pads, etc. We do have internet, but it’s thorough the phone line (slow, but you see, it is what we can AFFORD). We do know a lot of people who are making roughly the same amount of money who are thousands of dollars in debt, because they think they are “entitled” to things like cable tv, cell phones, i-pads, new cars (one for each person in the family, rather than share one vehicle!), steak for dinner, etc, etc – you get the picture. Things we used to call “luxuries”. Things our family still considers luxuries. The problem in this country is not free trade, and it isn’t really even that some people have lots of money and some don’t. The problem is that people insist on living beyond their means! if Joe Shmoe next door has three cars, a pc in every room of the house, TiVo, and a designer dog, then, by golly, I should have that too! Nobody is happy with what they have anymore, that’s the problem. Jealousy, covetousness, and the general idea that we are entitled to things, whether we earn them or not, is destroying this country. There will always be rich people. There will always be poor people. There will always be those middle-class workers who keep the country going. Have some pride, people. A little self-respect, and a whole lot of self-control, couldn’t hurt.

    November 9th, 2011 at 7:13 am
  97. mile said:

    my assumption that 2 people live in he average household might make average per person income 23,000 a year or enough to buy 3 average priced houses in 1967 before fractional reserve banking and affordable banking and housing schemes….

    November 10th, 2011 at 11:49 am
  98. Steve said:

    If you start making money and working hard the government will try to take everything. I estimate my total taxes at 65% last year once you add up everything. What you don’t realize is the majority of your cell phone bill and home purchase is tax and thats not even counting property tax or the tax you see on your statement. So I figured why complain about all this tax. I just need to join the people reaping the benefits. So I just bought my first home that sold at $1.1M 3 years ago for half price. Purchased with a 2% interest rate thanks to the government buying mortgage backed securities and keeping rates down. Now after my tax deductions and savings going to principal on my new home I will be paying less for a ridiculous glass house on a hill than what it cost me for my old 800Sq ft 1bedroom apt. Thats why we buy expensive homes, this is the American Dream everbody! Don’t fight it, join the club with benefits.

    November 11th, 2011 at 8:36 pm
  99. Tim said:

    Well first off they would have never obtained a loan for a 200,000 house. An average DTI Debt to Income is about 28-35%. The odds that they could save 10,000 for a down payment is highly unlikey.

    December 17th, 2011 at 1:55 am
  100. lively123 said:

    I feel for everyone but you guys are so fortunate to be born in USA. As an Indian I can assure you that. Appreciate what you have people.

    December 28th, 2011 at 1:44 pm
  101. Matt said:

    Tim is partially correct (two posts up). The guidelines for conforming 30-year fixed loans might be that low, however, it’s very easy to get an “exception” on your loan, even with your DTI close to 50%. You just need to have some compensating factors, such as a good credit score or a large amount of assets.

    January 24th, 2012 at 3:58 pm
  102. How can you earn less and spend more said:

    This is a world wide problem. And the banks and multi-nationals scratch their heads and wonder why people are not spending.
    How can you make less and spend more?

    February 11th, 2012 at 7:07 pm
  103. josh said:

    I respectully disagree with Tim; Im a student at Texas A&M and just finished a budget for a family with an income of just under $50,000. saving $10,000, or even $20,000 for a down payment on a house isnt as difficult as it might seem, but the trick is building your assets starting in college. Even paying my way mostly through college, i intend to have closer to $30,000 in liquid assets to put towards a down payment by the time i finish grad school, which would put me at 25 years old.

    On another topic, i feel that the article points out one of the major issues with the american economy, namely the government’s involvement in the money cycle. right now, the american government’s economic policy is stuck somewhere between complete socialism and capitalism, with the edge definitely still leaning towards capitalism. the problem is that when the government imploys socialistic principles into a capitalist market, the logic behind both systems is incariably flawed. Greed is good in capitalism, it promotes enterprise and entrepeneurial practices, which in turn make jobs. the checks on this system are boycotts and competition, which have both worked for more than a hundred years with relatively few hiccups, but When the government starts trying to give handouts or redistribute the wealth, all they really accomplish is killing the small businesses that drive the economy. The money that the government takes is then lost in the bureaucracy, never to be seen by the people for which its intended. The sad fact of the matter is that when government gets involved in what should be a laissez-faire economy, the only significant outcome is curruption. Next time you vote, think about who you would rather have your money, small businesses that create jobs, or corrupt politicians who like to line their pockets. just my $0.02.
    P.S. sorry about the rant, it was a long day

    February 15th, 2012 at 12:33 am
  104. josh said:

    btw i like what jon said like 9 comments up, you can make all the money in the world, but without Jesus its all for naught.

    February 15th, 2012 at 12:41 am
  105. harley said:

    money is about a valuable as a shiny yellow chunk of rock…oh wait we have assigned that a value too!

    February 18th, 2012 at 11:08 am
  106. Grateful in Minneapolis said:

    Pretty interesting to read through the blog when originally posted to now. There are some interesting and articulate posts here, some, I sincerely hope are being sarcastic (such as Richard Banker, and Chris from CA). Given who we’ve elected previously, I fear these folks are for real. I myself, and eternally grateful after reading these statistics to say that I am by all accounts a high earner, and I do mean earner, I did work hard to get where I am, and yet I do not feel entitled or more worthy than the next person. It would do my income bracket good to see more tax cuts, but I care much more about the greater good of all. I will never understand the wealth not understanding that if we all don’t have money or means to spend and save, they will not retain their wealth. Makes no logical sense to come to any other conclusion. I remain grateful for where I am at today and in hopes that everyone thrives. Alas, I am also a realist and know as long as there are people, there will be greed. To the greedy I say, just think of how well your bank would be doing if more people had the means to get a loan, save money, invest. Silly to not think of it yourselves.

    February 19th, 2012 at 8:19 pm
  107. Jason said:

    I agree very interesting to read back. So many people feel they have entitlement to things. Like owning a car, house, or sending their kids to college. Not everyone deserves opportunities you need to earn them. Thank God for what you have. I find it so funny that people can’t pay their bills but they sure can afford a trip to Disneyland. Stop living the chapagne life on your beer salary.

    February 24th, 2012 at 9:50 pm
  108. Maybe2013 said:

    Harsh times we live in. I was born poor in Ohio’s rust belt, my father rarely worked, mom struggled to keep a roof over my brother’s and my head. I started working when I was 12 and never stopped. Went to the cheapest state university on partial scholarship and ended up with a relatively low amount of student loan. Took me 6 years to graduate as I self-financed and lost a year due to illness.

    I’m now 34, married with a child and one on the way. Through the recession, my husband and I both went through job loss and watched our house we’ve lived in for 8+ years depreciate $30k despite our improvements. Our neighborhood has gone down the tubes as home-owners up and left. We now drive 1 hour plus to work and find we are not financially able to move from our depreciated area. We make a combined income of $92k, putting us in the top 20% of earners. I’m grateful we can afford our home and good child care, but it sure doesn’t feel like that money stretches far beyond that at the gas pump or grocery store. I’d like to be able to save money so my children have a better start, but the truth of the matter is, even with what we make we still have trouble saving.

    I know what it’s like to be poor, and I work hard to keep my family out of poverty. That said, I think it’s callous to belittle people who are in a tough spot because they overspent and have found themselves in financial crisis. You can’t always foresee a financial roadblock, health issue, job loss, etc. I’ve never felt as though I should have something I didn’t work for and earn, but I don’t think any American should be without a place to live or food to eat. These are harsh times that we live in to not think people deserve basic needs. I can only hope maybe 2013 will be an improvement as I think many are at a breaking point.

    May 4th, 2012 at 12:30 pm
  109. Zach said:

    Ok you guys jobs arbet hard to find when u have a good resumè jut work hard J make bout 160k a year and I have web laid off 6 times in 4 years but every time I went to a new business I would earn more money until now im a (vice vice C.E.O of Sedgwick) so just work hard as I love my government but the global economy is bad so try to get a good resumè early in life and things will be ok.

    May 22nd, 2012 at 11:18 pm
  110. Lamont said:

    Reply to Josh out of Texas A&M
    Your budget model for the family earning $50,000 only works if they don’t have any issues along the way, like a sudden medical condition, job loss, or even the birth of a new child. Anything can derail you from your goal. It can be even more catastrophic after the purchase of a home. And don’t forget my favorite, Divorce! We all wish to live comfortably, and a family with average pay should not have to perform an epic struggle to make that happen. Our economy generates enough revenue for everyone. But an unregulated free market is unsustainable. Middle income earners (who drive this economy) can only supply so much into the revenue stream due to stagnant wages(corrected for inflation of course). The very nature of the banks and corporations at the top of the stream, is to increase the revenue stream, while capping or reducing cost. Which would include wages. So, while product cost to the consumer goes up, wages stagnate or go down. Without sufficient regulation, purchase power of the consumer will continually shrink. The introduction of credit into the cycle initially increases the revenue stream and buying power, but overtime shrinks buying power more significantly. The section of the revenue chain that holds the most credit will suffer the greatest reduction in buying power. In the current situation that would be the middle class. As that buying power shrinks you can afford less and less. It was said earlier in this blog, you can’t make less and spend more. All markets will have to shrink to suit the revenue base(the middle class). If not, the revenue base itself will shrink. In short, healthy profits include wage increases, price controls and strict (regulated) issuance of credit. Annual GDP is around 15 trillion. The GOV collects about 2.7 trillion in taxes. Yea, they spend 400 billion over that. But that still leaves 11.9 Trillion. Where is it? I don’t have it, I assure you. The wealth of the middle class was not stripped out by taxes or Gov spending. It was stripped out by ever increasing profits and ever decreasing wages. Without regulation, a free market will do this every time, without fail. Every time free market emerged it produced a bubble that eventually burst. It is part of its nature. It is UNSUSTAINABLE.

    May 23rd, 2012 at 12:11 am
  111. Hillary said:

    While I am below the average being single I am able to live on 40,000 a year, but it doesn’t leave much room for saving. Really interesting figures and facts.

    June 13th, 2012 at 2:35 pm
  112. Ren said:

    Combined income for our family of six is 1778 a month that is 21336 yearly , we live in a two bedroom apt, we set aside from that amount 725 for food and the rest for bills, needs and non needs + savings. , if we can make it on that living comfortably and NOT in debt plus have a cushion having all of our needs including medical, clothing, etc covered many others can to . We don’t drive but use public transportation saving us insurance payments and the biggie gas prices. We don’t get assistance , we have a high coverage medical plan, we shop local buying from farmers and farmers markets or at grocery’s that are not like walmart, are that have better quality often for cheaper. yes they do price match at crap mart but i save far more shopping that way and get better for my money. its all about budgeting and living within your means with some set aside for leisure and fun. we have cable,phone and internet. I currently know people who make far less, but still make it. i am just great full to live in a country where things are possible if you make the effort. There are people in this world who have nothing, no clothing on their back, no home, and eat dirt and bugs even garbage to survive and no one to turn to, that is true poverty. and people are in disbelief that people can make it with far less then $46,326? its possible, everything is possible if you set your mind to it. There are apartments for rent for $30 a month right here in the USA ( just did a search for affordable housing, many states have homes based on your income) company’s will work with you, tell them your budget, they will offer you things based on the money you can pay, they would rather have a customer who can pay then not pay. thrift stores, salvage stores, so many ways to find cheaper and often better . i think we Americans have our priority’s skewed, a car is not a need, a movie is not a need, that extra piece of cake is not a need, its an indulgence/luxury. If a family of six can do it with no assistance with far less and still get the non needs in/luxury’s on $1778 a month so can many others and on far less. i have seen true poverty but its certainly not happening in America at this time but we will be heading that way soon if something does not change for the better .

    June 25th, 2012 at 5:17 pm
  113. Drake said:

    I’m drake and probably most of you kno me and I’m just gonn cut it short as u know I started of off as nothing but know I make millions a year so appreciate what you have and work harder…

    July 11th, 2012 at 1:08 am
  114. David said:

    Americans, please come to terms with yourself. If you think that income is all about your excessive consumption think again. The rest of the world is suffering too. consider Africa, South America and many others. Too bad, if you can’t afford all the designer clothes, all the drinks, cars, trucks and luxury items that television advertising says you simply must have.

    Rather, I am concerned about our elderly seniors surviving on a fixed income while prices soar, children with one parent, or parents with no jobs. They are the ones that need help. But how do we help them?

    I am old now, live well and have a paid for home and a nice stack of physical gold etc but it took hard work. I never had a “new” car, closest I got was 4 years old. My favorite brand is “clearance” and I have no idea what Starbucks coffee tastes like. More importantly, my wife has stayed with me more than 30 years (another factor in wealth preservation). Our children are grown and they are as successful or lacking based on their personal choices.

    Certainly, what did we expect when jobs left the country. Its amazing that its taking this long for the country to collapse. Still, we have a war machine that has killed 500,000 children in Iraq. In time, we can expect a revolution here and what kind of carnage will this produce? The second civil war? Yes, it would be nice to get out of here but where do we go?

    July 13th, 2012 at 6:38 am
  115. CJ Swagga said:

    Yeah… defiantly becoming a pro wrestler…the really bad ppl make 2 million per year…#SIICCCKKKK

    August 4th, 2012 at 1:35 am
  116. Derek said:

    I mortgage a $40,000 small fixer-upper in Milwaukee. You can find homes in every state that cost far below market value. You just have to be willing to settle. If you make 46,000 or less (like I do) you shouldn’t think you can have the best of everything. If you live within your means you will have extra money and a happier life.

    August 16th, 2012 at 1:01 pm
  117. Folwart said:

    Most of you are way off the mark. The rich run the country. They further their own agendas with their money. 200,000 dollars a year would be nice, but it isn’t shit compared to the top. The gap has widened too far and it continues to do so because the money pulls the strings.

    If corporations are pulling in billions of dollars in profit, paying ceo’s millions and adding bonuses of millions on top of it and paying their employees like crap something is wrong. It’s plain as day. They are charging too much, paying to little, and evading far too much tax.

    Don’t get me wrong, I make a decent living and I’m happy, but I want to see the future that we’re capable of and it is being stifled by this bullshit. That is my frustration. People in power (people who have money) win by making little people like “Chris” who makes $100,000+ per year, think that they are almost one of them. They sell you on their con by spreading the belief of bullshit.

    For example, republicans and democrats, liberals and conservatives. If you consider yourself one of these, you’re still being duped. Few things in life are black and white. This system basically says you have to believe these types of things within this framework or you are an “independent”. What the fuck is an “independent”? It’s a single word for anybody who doesn’t fall in line under their control scheme.

    It’s not a conspiracy theory, wake up jack asses. That is precisely what they want people to think, misinformation is a powerful tool. The crap has been going on since the first greedy asshole discovered it could be done. It’s the real greatest con in history. Make the population believe this is how it’s supposed to be. Those that figure it out will be powerless against the “educated” believers that truly believe the lie. It’s like religion, but even more insidious.

    As a child, I thought that adult’s really had it together. I knew there were very smart people and not so smart people, but in general I thought they were taking care of things. Now, here I am at 30 years and I still feel like a child. A child surrounded by adult-infants. I am disappointed in that discovery. I thought being an adult meant something, but it’s just more 3rd grade tomfoolery.

    Anybody hear about the ketchup vegetable thing? How does a moronic idea like that get as far as it did? If somebody mentioned that to me, I would say, “Tomatoes are a fruit you fucking MORON, and that aside it’s still a stupid idea.”

    Or how about election time. It’s a rigged popularity contest. The real power isn’t in that seat anyway, it’s spread out (and mostly controlled by, you guessed it, money) throughout many positions. Obviously enough of them are corrupt to guarantee control. The system is flawed, it has been taken advantage of.

    Communism, socialism, republicanism and democratism are all methods of governing people. They aren’t ALL the methods, just the top four that get the most attention these days. There’s a stigma that comes with communism and socialism, while the good ol republic and democracy (and capitalism) are conveyed to be superior. The only thing that ever made any of these forms of government bad is corruption, bad people in office taking advantage to the fullest extent of their capability. It’s not the form of government that is wrong, it’s the people. The republic is just as vulnerable to this as communism and socialism, as we (those who actually back up and take in the big picture) have learned.

    The U.S. isn’t actually a pure republic either (and not a democracy), there are many socialist programs integrated into our government. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but bad people can fuck up any form of government.

    All of these issues are interwoven, and this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Many of these issues are simply symptoms of a greater problem. Remember this, it’s important: Symptoms are the effects of a problem or multiple problems. Soothing the symptom does not solve the problem. In order to solve the problem, the problem itself must be addressed. What is the problem? Corruption. Remove the corrupt individuals, simplify the law books, redistribute wealth and put law in place to ensure nobody can take advantage of our nation in that way ever again.

    I’m not a republican, a democrat, a conservative, a liberal, a conservative, a socialist, communist, I’m an American. For the sake of our nation, for the future we will inevitably leave to the generations that follow, let’s show these assholes what it means to be an American for they have lost touch with what our land of the free is all about. (It’s not about being a greedy douche bag and enslaving the nation)

    September 19th, 2012 at 6:32 pm
  118. European citizen said:

    Hello to everyone.

      I apologize in advance for grammar but I used google translation.

       I watched a lot of blog posts and some I recognize and frankly my American dream was shattered everything. (Not really)

      Yes admit that I grew up with a small lot of movies created by you for the first time in my country but I was already history and other issues and made me believe in certain things and others have created styles and more after American lifestyle .

    But now if you draw a line out from the multitude of things you can do live, eat, laugh, see we are in the same bucket.

    For example, a ceteatean of my country with a salary of $ 1416 a month afford an apartment with a bathroom, a kitchen and two rooms without furniture utilities only.
    Bank gives him credit for 30 years with an advance of $ 2000.

    Of salary after paying rates remain at home, your car, utilities, phone bills, $ 300 enough or not … For us to have a house and pay her 30 years tomorrow because tomorrow is a luxury you can have bad luck losing your job or worse to have other health problems.

    With all the hard years of school in the country where the economy is supported only on taxes.
    not an economist is a small custom furniture entrepreneur working alone but the crisis has affected us all (those without the 60-inch plasma keg beer, etc.).
    I’m glad no lack of tomorrow and that work is appreciated and it’s bad it’s paid elsewhere.

    Regards from another country

    PS: I still have the American dream in my head and I hope to reach the U.S. can recovers all.

    October 2nd, 2012 at 12:58 pm
  119. Un employeed said:

    Even without a high school diploma after being kidnapped and adondended in a 3rd world contry, I chose to drop out of usa high school and take only electives. WHO THE F CARES about history, film, music georaphy to make money. I make over 140K per year making sure zero lazy americans get into my company. And yes I was in the USMC. I fought for your stupid rights now I press my thumb on u. Come on aboma care, i need a reason to lay off more and hire H1B visa holders.

    November 16th, 2012 at 1:15 pm
  120. will said:

    Lol. Texas…..the…final…fron…teeeer.

    Since the united states is texas….I guess that stuff about texas is all true.

    Until you guys wake up. Realize, texas and utah are bubbles of ancient unchangef developement marks.

    And that unless your in a really devalued horrible to live pkace, the average home goes for over 300k.

    If it is below 200k your neighborhood is rated poor in every state . Or elsr some hodunk hustler would have already developed the land like the rest of the usa.

    Texas is the new strange. They pretend the word, ESPECIALLY WITH THE SUBJECT OF CURRENCY AND VALUES, “CONTEMPORARY” isnt a word.

    Well that’s why normal is hard to grasp in texas too. Because its a contemporaty w ord

    November 23rd, 2012 at 5:46 pm
  121. Kudana said:

    I live in a low income housing, my girlfriend who cannot physically work, is on disability and her wages are cut because social security believes we are holding out as husband and wife. Sooo not true, i pay 592 dollars a month in rent, i make 9.14 an hour and work 30-40 hours a week. After taxes that’s about 1400 a month if that. I have internet, phone and a few other small things i pay for on top of that. With Food and other expenses, not to mention my daughter. I can barely scrape by month to month. I cant afford to go back to school, plus while living here there’s only one member of the household allowed to be a full time student, and that is my daughter. Messed up i know, but i cant find a place anywhere around here that is as cheap.
    So to all you out there that have it “rough” think again.

    December 28th, 2012 at 3:54 am
  122. kt said:

    Need to put life into perspective

    Google-jimmy johns how much is enough

    January 25th, 2013 at 9:44 am
  123. Paul said:

    I am tired of all the people who want a share of my income for saying hi to me. They act as if they deserve a cut. It is the middle-man companies I am talking about. Why should you get a bonus for filing a simple 100 page document that states an agreement between two parties? You think you deserve a couple grand as your cut; especially Chris who makes $145k per year which makes approximately $12k per month. All you do is swindle your way into peoples’ pockets and convince them you deserve it. You are just as bad as the Politicians filled with lies.

    As for the people who make less than $36k per year can barely afford rent let alone anything else. In my area for one room the rent goes for $400 per month with all utilities included which you share the house with another. For instance; to rent a full house by yourself starts out at $600 per month. The average living expenses in Southern California are around: $2k per month which includes: mortgage/rent; vehicle loan; insurance; electric; water; natural gas/propane; fossil fuel for vehicle; and internet/telephone. Just this alone takes up $24k from the $36k per year. Not including Fed & State Taxes which take out almost $800 per month a total of $9,600 annually. That leaves you $2,400 for food and other expenses per year which comes out to: $200 per month.

    Who can live off of $200 per month? Bringing in $36k per year means you are getting paid: $18.75 per hour. In reality people here make at most $10 per hour. That is $19,200 per year! People who make less than $20k per year: drive broken down cars; rent broken down homes; wear hand-me-down clothes; and apply for food stamps just to get denied! Then they are expected to have health insurance!

    Then the car industry wonders why they can’t get rid of the old vehicles still on the road today. The economy crashes because no one has the money to buy things and circulate cash! It’s the employers who think people can live off of $10 an hour who kill the economy. It is the middle man’s cut is what kills the economy.

    For example (prices are approximate): take solar panel system costs: Manufacturer sells to the distributors who sell to the installation companies who then install the system for the consumer. By the time the consumer ever sees the equipment the labor fees cost over $2k where only 25% of that is actually labor. It goes back to the company profit margin of 60% (Owners/Shareholders/Investors)! The other 15% goes to bills!

    I had to break this down because I was looking into installing solar panel systems. I was able to get a 3,200 watt solar panel system to cost $10k still using the electric company grid as back up. Every business owner I talked to said I need to push my profit margin to at least 40% from the 10% I calculated! They acclaimed a 60% profit margin would assure company success! Think of it: the cost of the equipment runs about $8k for a 3,200 watt system. This system runs my house which my equipment runs at 75% loaded! I still use the electric company to charge the batteries at night. I don’t feed back into the grid either!

    The reason why I decided not to go into business: I had too many 3rd party companies trying to get a share of the income forcing me to push the profit margin to at least 60%! To include the State of California with their minimum franchise tax fee of $800 per year! I haven’t made any income yet and already owe $2,400 in back taxes! Plus the manufacturers referred me to 3rd party companies to buy their products which increased the cost by at least 10%! I had to pay the middle man until I could prove that I would be purchasing over 200 parts per month! Think of it: if we could buy direct from the manufacturers the cost of equipment would be at most $6k if not less!

    It is these people who kill the economy! Business Owners and Shareholders! Their defense is ‘we help the economy by providing jobs’! Yes, they do; but then they take the cost & taxes out of their customers and still use the costs as deductions so they can pay fewer taxes! So what do they actually do? Nothing! They cheat the tax system and cheat their customers! Though, they provide jobs! About 90% of the job positions pay less than $15 an hour! As I stated above $15 an hour barely cuts it! Of course I attack the middle-man when I should attack the source of the regulations that force businesses to meet standards and charge them for outrageous fees to operate! This will be left for another day!

    February 4th, 2013 at 3:32 pm
  124. RV said:

    Nice article and contributions.

    My comments are for the young… as I approach retirement (and have not done too badly at all despite all the curves that life threw at me)

    Left US 30 odd years ago with a MS in Engineering on full scholarship I was not even a US citizen. US was a land of opportunities. The nation was extremely hard working, big dreams, go get it all attitude back in late 70′s.

    Somewhere things have changed. Folks wanted to take and take and speculate and gamble and not just work hard. Politics got dirty and drugs took over; old world values of integrity, industry and family ties faded away.

    Things can be reversed. I remember a mayor of NY took a zero tolerance approach to crime and cleaned up the place.

    I found most Americans are giving and large hearted but naïve too. They have allowed their crooked politicians to run the country at the expense of its honest citizens. The greedy business guys have looted what belonged to the citizens( because you let them). Churchill said once “every country gets the government it deserves’”…may be changing your ways will improve things???

    Take back the control through democratic means. Get public healthcare back.. get tough on crime and lawlessness, give hope and opportunity back to honest people. It can all be done.

    Get educated… Start work young, go to night school if you have to… many business guys are happy to fund your education.. live within your means… buy the cheapest roof you can and don’t let others laugh at you… you will have the last laugh. Pay cash for things…don’t fail to dream big. Network with good people and you can overcome anything.

    Find out how you forefathers became prosperous… emulate them. There is no short cut to prosperity.

    You have some of the best universities in the world.. learn and become leaders again.

    My heart reaches out to all the honest folks in the US. You have a very powerful justice system.. get class actions going… I am sure you can find honest, lawyers who would champion your aspirations… defeat the clowns who have let you down… clean up your act at home and in communities and then the country. The way business funds politics is a sure recipe for disaster… try changing that first.

    It does not matter how much you make (it will grow with time).. what matters is how you make it.

    Teach yourself financial wisdom through mentors… Just watch Warren Buffet who donated 30 B $ to Gates foundation… he still drives a beaten up old caddy. The truly wealthy don’t spend on depreciating assets… Fortune favours the bold… Good luck.

    February 10th, 2013 at 5:22 am
  125. A said:

    They compare the median income in Texas with the median home price in California… That doesn’t work realistically… People with incomes that low don’t buy houses that expensive. And that’s expensive for Texas! (I know cause I live here!) 200,000 dollars will get you a HUGE home in Texas. 40,000 will get you a smaller home. 80,000 is probably closer to average here. Like this guy said earlier in the comments —-> The median family did not purchase a $200,000 home in Texas. They started with a $80,000 home and traded up as they built equity and the home appreciated. If you are going to be realistic, be realistic.

    February 13th, 2013 at 1:39 pm
  126. A said:

    And this guy “Will” must not live in Texas cause if he did he would know that housing here is much cheaper than housing elsewhere. He thinks that you live in a piece of shit neighborhood if you paid less than 300,000 dollars for your house… He should move to Texas! He could save a lot of money! There are whole neighborhoods in nice areas full of houses for less than 100,000 dollars.

    ((((((((((will said:

    Lol. Texas…..the…final…fron…teeeer.

    Since the united states is texas….I guess that stuff about texas is all true.

    Until you guys wake up. Realize, texas and utah are bubbles of ancient unchangef developement marks.

    And that unless your in a really devalued horrible to live pkace, the average home goes for over 300k.

    If it is below 200k your neighborhood is rated poor in every state . Or elsr some hodunk hustler would have already developed the land like the rest of the usa.

    Texas is the new strange. They pretend the word, ESPECIALLY WITH THE SUBJECT OF CURRENCY AND VALUES, “CONTEMPORARY” isnt a word.

    Well that’s why normal is hard to grasp in texas too. Because its a contemporaty word)))))))))))))))

    February 13th, 2013 at 1:44 pm
  127. A said:

    In fact if you’re interested, go to http://www.har.com and search for homes with a maximum price of 100,000 dollars. You will find many spacious homes in nice neighborhoods. Make sure you do the advanced type search where you check only homes and not residential lots/countryacreage

    February 13th, 2013 at 1:55 pm
  128. A said:
  129. John Unwin said:

    Hi from Australia. Our taxes are crazy. I make $80000.00 pay 30000.00 in tax straightaway! Then gst on everything 10 percent! Water bill $1600 a year, electricity $2000. A year, Gas for heating $1800 a year, gas for car $6000 a year, car rego $600, insurance $800, Huh… If you buy a house in melbourne medium average $455,000.00. Food bill for a family of 3 minimum $350.00.

    Lately I’m seeing a lot of people lose there jobs. I might bitch about my position.
    But starting to understand,we expect to much and credit is not the answer!!

    My heart goes out to you guys in America. But it is getting really bad here too

    February 17th, 2013 at 1:50 am
  130. michael george said:

    i know im gonna get hatemail and people belittling me but im going to give my opinion anyway. in the 50s you could work a factory job and have a wife,3 kids, nice house, car, and money to save. Nowadays the american dream is out of the question for alot of people and alot of it is based on the huge wage gaps between degreed people and non-degreed people and yet there are many factors keeping one from making it to college. i will give you my story and you can down me all you like, i know that i made some wrong choices but i want to make some decent points. so before i begin i want to show you a breakdown of payments people “just trying to get by” are paying.
    1–$500 for cheapest apt out there even though you are making only $9 or $10 an hr
    2–$60 gas per week
    3– $150 electricity
    4–$150 groceries
    5–$60 for any miscellaneous stuff etc
    So a grand total of $920 a month?!?!

    I dropped out of college at 18 because i wasnt sure what to be and i didnt have $7,000 to spend every semester if i didnt know what to major in. so i ended up at red lobster at 19 saying to myself ” i will save up $30,000 and just pay for college when i figure out what to be” I made $8 an hr running around 12 hrs a day and getting nowhere. left there and got a job lifting pallets and making crates for $10 an hr but the cost of everything especially housing was taking so much of it. i ended up working job after job working hard and doing my best and 12 years went by and i wasnt able to save because i wasnt ever making enough. getting a job here in america over $10 an hr is impossible and even making $12 an hr isnt liveable wage. So for all the hard work and effort if you make a piddly salary you will never get out from it. so i hear people talk about hard work and it kinda pisses me off because most of the hardest working people are the poor people. i dont hold a grudge at college educated people or think that they shouldnt be compensated but i think that the gap is too absurdly wide. i love my brother and im happy for him but he doesnt seem to understand what its like for me or the working poor. i will work swing shift at $9 an hr working 3 days working at12 hrs a day 2 days off etc and i will take home a check of $275 that week whereas my brother who is a programmer and coder spends 8 hrs(literally) working on a webpage graphics and shows me a check for $7,000 dollars?!?! the most ive made over the past 12 years turned out to be 12 an hr and yet the companies i worked for made millions. the one company i come to think of made $254 million every year and were open for 40 years and yet the employers made you work as a temp for a year with a “chance” of employment. then when you got hired you made $10 an hr with bad health insurance?! why? $where did $254 million dollars go? why are all the employees just getting by but upper managment and the president of the company are taking 6 vacations a year and driving lexus to work? We need to understand that we are all necessary and all connected. yes some people have more technical and complicated jobs but everyone is needed in providing a duty being done or a service so why not pay everyone a decent wage and stop squeezing people to death just because they arent a doctor or a lawyer or some bigshot?. thats all i have to say.

    March 25th, 2013 at 5:51 pm
  131. michael george said:

    by the way i made $13,000 as a temp last year and i live with my parents. Watch Zeitgeist:Moving Forward and you will see how this economic system is wrong and messed up from the get go. i really believe that in the 50s a man really could work hard and get somewhere with his life but when i hear baby boomers go on their entitlment diatribes for my generation it makes me laugh because it doesnt matter how much you work nowadays you dont get anywhere beyond that months rent payment. i hear about my generation “feeling entitled” and yet it was the baby boomers who were able to earn a living and work normal hours to achieve alot(house car savings by age 23-24 etc) and its my generation that cant afford a decent car or buys a real cheap house at age 34 or gets married at 30 all because the “entitlements” are impossible to get any time sooner. men nowadays are working twice as hard for less money and yet we are considered lazy BECAUSE WE EXPECT DECENT WAGES?! its time this country wakes up. you can fuck a man for decade after decade and watch his generations become poorer and poorer but sooner or later a mans sons arent gonna take it anymore and revolts and force are going to be the order of the day. and when that day comes just know that you deserved what was coming.

    March 25th, 2013 at 6:07 pm
  132. CURIOUS said:

    In the early comments on this blog, it was noted that in the 1960′s a man could work 40 hours and support his nonworking wife and 2+ kids. Now both husband and wife have to work to make ends meet. WHEN, and more importantly, WHY did that change? Why does it take two people to earn what only required one before? And if two are needed now, then would that not mean that we are even more financially poorer than the median numbers reflect?

    March 29th, 2013 at 8:35 pm
  133. Robert said:

    Most *responsible* people will not buy a $200k house when they’re only making $45k. Also, the difference between the interest you listed and the actual interest we are seeing on the market makes a big difference.

    Why do we need a double-income household? Because we have to buy everything that has a button on it. Toys are expensive and kids dispose of them. There’s nothing at all wrong with that lifestyle – if you can afford it. But as the charts indicate, very few people can afford that. I’m a DINK (Double Income No Kid) and my wife and I make about $300k and we’re paying off our student debts and live in a smaller house. I don’t know many people who make as much as we do and spend as little as we do. We have a smaller home than average, lesser car payments than average, lesser credit card debt than average and we make quite a bit more than average. People live way outside of their means … period. With as much as we’re told not to – I don’t understand why so many people are. It is RIDICULOUS and with the spending that people do, it’s absolutely no shock that our gov’t spends the way they do. We have a broken entitlement mentality!

    July 16th, 2013 at 4:27 pm
  134. Midwest said:

    These comments span several years. The situation has not changed much. Part of the tax and burden issue is not seen through food and insurance budgets, net pay from FED taxes, housing costs and debt payments.

    Part of the burden on americans is the daily bombardement of government agencies and popoular societal movements to strip dollars away through higher local taxes, lawful assessments, child support fees, electronic camera speeding tickets, school fees, frivolous law suits and overly cautious people who HAVE that do not help those who NEED because they are forced to be ovely generous in all other aspects of their

    September 1st, 2013 at 12:46 pm
  135. Ryan said:

    Michael George;
    I’m sorry your life hasn’t gone as well as you would like, however I must make some observations in your statements.

    Did your programmer brother have more opportunity than you? If not, why is he doing so well and you aren’t? Is he working for himself?

    Since your approach at success isn’t working out, maybe you should try a new approach?

    I think they key to success IS the free market, lower taxes and less penalty on business…

    I never went to college, i couldn’t afford it, and didn’t want the debt, it’s a colossal waste of time. That said, a doctor who made it through 8 or 12 years of college with hundreds of thousands of dollars debt certainly deserves a fat income!

    All through my 20′s, I took whatever work i could get. computer repair, construction, mechanic, welder, wire puller. and like you, i wasn’t getting anywhere. I worked hard and have scars and back pain to prove it.

    3 years ago, when i was 29, I started a business. It now has 15 happy employees whom for the most part, make more than I do.
    I still drive a 22 year old truck w/o ac that leaks in the rain and I’m fine with that. This, is my pursuit of the American dream (or whats left of it). my income is ~46k gross.

    The only thing I see potentially standing between me and the American dream, is “redistribution of wealth.”

    Why should I be considered “Greedy” for wanting to keep what I’ve worked hard for? If anything, others should be considered greedy for wanting to take what I’ve earned as theirs.

    Everybody above has noted that people are working twice as hard as they did in the 50′s for the same income (adjusted for inflation)

    Why is that? Maybe it’s because half of america is out of work and the working half has to provide for them too.
    Stealing from peter to give to paul just makes everybody poor.

    April 17th, 2014 at 4:30 pm

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