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Thread: In 10 years..

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    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    In 10 years..

    Do you feel that the standard of living for the average American will have increased or decreased?
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    Senior Member Michigander's Avatar
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    It's one of those things that's really hard to tell for sure, but the odds point towards decreasing, short of some huge improvement where the people of this country pull their heads from their asses, and stop electing incompetent and fully corrupt twits, and shopping at places like Walmart.
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    Tom (ex)Builder twahl's Avatar
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    Good chance of it decreasing I'd say, but a lot depends on how you judge it. Right now many people are starting to hurt from their ability to live well beyond their means being brought to a halt. That's causing a huge pinch on the overall economy, and those people are finding themselves in serious trouble. I disagree with Mich in that I don't think it has a lot to do with who is in office. The banks got greedy and overextended themselves, and they dragged the housing and automobile industries along for the ride. That's a recipe for a hell of a train wreck.
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    It also depends a lot on how you measure standard of living. In an absolute sense in may remain constant or even improve as technology makes things cheaper but studies have shown that beyond the minimum needed for subsistance, improved standard of living only brings increased happiness if you are better off relative to your neighbor. That said, globalization is likely to begin improving the standard of living of people in developing countries like India and China much faster than in the developed countries of the west so people like me (in the US) are likely to perceive themselves as having a lower standard of living regardless of what it is in absolute terms.

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    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    Well regardless, less developed countries can see much faster rates of change than developed countries than the US can. In order for us to see improvements, we must innovate. In order for less developed countries to see improvement, they must imitate.

    My concern is that with the cost of bare consumables (food and energy) increasing so rapidly, that it will take more and more of our income to finance these necessities. Will the prices ever stabilize?
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    Quote Originally Posted by phantomcow2 View Post
    .......................................

    ................My concern is that with the cost of bare consumables (food and energy) increasing so rapidly, that it will take more and more of our income to finance these necessities. Will the prices ever stabilize?
    Prices, in my experience, don't ever stabilize... they just go up. When I got out of the Navy in 1967, bread was $0.29 a loaf, gas was $0.32 a gallon, my take home pay in a blue collar job was $103.00 per week and my rent for a studio apartment was $105.00 a month. I was able to afford a new VW, at $97.00 per month and life was comfortable.

    Today, I am retired on just under $60,000.00 a year, bread is $3.00, gas is (as of this afternoon) $3.26 a gallon and I can afford my 2001 mini van (46,000 miles on it) at $158.00 per month. My house is paid for but I rent the space it floats on for $347.00 a month. Life is comfortable, I have bought more toys than I have time to use and I am actually able to save a little money. With the built in cost of living adjustments in my two retirement accounts, I don't expect to be eating cat food any time soon.

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    Gorntastic! v1k1ng1001's Avatar
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    decrease

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    Tom (ex)Builder twahl's Avatar
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    Prices will stabilize, but first they need to correct. Housing got stupid because there were so many more people qualifying than should have been able to. Middle class began migrating to McMansions, and now those people are sitting in houses that they paid $700k for but are worth $450k in today's market, and they are suffereing from negative equity, especially since many of them used the equity gained from the ridiculous growth to finance other things, like cars. They can't afford to move because they can't get their money back out, and they can't afford to stay. While they may not have lost income, with the cost of other necessities going up, they may as well have.

    Let's do some math here...the SUV they commute in gets 15 miles to the gallon and they live 30 miles from work. That's 4 gallons a day times 5 days a week. At $2.30 per gallon, the gas bill used to be $46 per week for the commute. Now gas is $3.20 a gallon and the bill is $64 per week. That's like taking a $1000 a year reduction in pay. By the time you throw in the increases of cost in food, etc. due to that same fuel price increase, you've made a mortgage payment on the McMansion. Something's gotta give somewhere, and you can't get rid of the SUV because trade in value on it sucks now cause nobody wants it.

    These are holes that people have dug for themselves, and if you've been playing that game you're in trouble. On the other hand, if you haven't been playing the game, your credit is good and it's a hell of a time to buy a house. We plan to before summer, and the market looks good from where I'm standing, even though our current equity in our condo is now something like $75k rather than $175k, but single family homes around here have dropped like $200k, so we've gained on the market while maintaining great credit and having reduced out debt load to almost nothing outside of our mortgage. It's sunny on my side of the financial street.
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    Quote Originally Posted by twahl View Post
    Prices will stabilize, but first they need to correct. Housing got stupid because there were so many more people qualifying than should have been able to. Middle class began migrating to McMansions, and now those people are sitting in houses that they paid $700k for but are worth $450k in today's market, and they are suffereing from negative equity, especially since many of them used the equity gained from the ridiculous growth to finance other things, like cars. They can't afford to move because they can't get their money back out, and they can't afford to stay. While they may not have lost income, with the cost of other necessities going up, they may as well have.

    Let's do some math here...the SUV they commute in gets 15 miles to the gallon and they live 30 miles from work. That's 4 gallons a day times 5 days a week. At $2.30 per gallon, the gas bill used to be $46 per week for the commute. Now gas is $3.20 a gallon and the bill is $64 per week. That's like taking a $1000 a year reduction in pay. By the time you throw in the increases of cost in food, etc. due to that same fuel price increase, you've made a mortgage payment on the McMansion. Something's gotta give somewhere, and you can't get rid of the SUV because trade in value on it sucks now cause nobody wants it.

    These are holes that people have dug for themselves, and if you've been playing that game you're in trouble. On the other hand, if you haven't been playing the game, your credit is good and it's a hell of a time to buy a house. We plan to before summer, and the market looks good from where I'm standing, even though our current equity in our condo is now something like $75k rather than $175k, but single family homes around here have dropped like $200k, so we've gained on the market while maintaining great credit and having reduced out debt load to almost nothing outside of our mortgage. It's sunny on my side of the financial street.
    Who knew not joining the Joneses would pay off?

    As for the holes people dug for themselves, I somewhat disagree. The shovels for digging the holes are given by the industries (auto, retail, housing) who caused this whole mess in the first place. Take this shovel away and this mess would not have happened.

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    Immoderator KrisPistofferson's Avatar
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    Decrease, but this may not necessarily be a bad thing. This epidemic of living beyond one's means may not be as widespread, and people might just honestly evaluate their needs more than they do now. Bicycles will definitely still be around.

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    Tom (ex)Builder twahl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbubbles View Post
    Who knew not joining the Joneses would pay off?

    As for the holes people dug for themselves, I somewhat disagree. The shovels for digging the holes are given by the industries (auto, retail, housing) who caused this whole mess in the first place. Take this shovel away and this mess would not have happened.
    I don't feel that you can blame industry for offering bad decisions for people to make. They aren't bad decisions for everyone, it's up to the consumer to be educated about their own finances and make responsible decisions. On the other hand, offering those shovels so freely is a bad decision that is hurting industry every bit as much as they have hurt the consumer.
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    Baned. mude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twahl View Post
    Prices will stabilize, but first they need to correct. Housing got stupid because there were so many more people qualifying than should have been able to. Middle class began migrating to McMansions, and now those people are sitting in houses that they paid $700k for but are worth $450k in today's market, and they are suffereing from negative equity, especially since many of them used the equity gained from the ridiculous growth to finance other things, like cars. They can't afford to move because they can't get their money back out, and they can't afford to stay. While they may not have lost income, with the cost of other necessities going up, they may as well have.

    Let's do some math here...the SUV they commute in gets 15 miles to the gallon and they live 30 miles from work. That's 4 gallons a day times 5 days a week. At $2.30 per gallon, the gas bill used to be $46 per week for the commute. Now gas is $3.20 a gallon and the bill is $64 per week. That's like taking a $1000 a year reduction in pay. By the time you throw in the increases of cost in food, etc. due to that same fuel price increase, you've made a mortgage payment on the McMansion. Something's gotta give somewhere, and you can't get rid of the SUV because trade in value on it sucks now cause nobody wants it.

    These are holes that people have dug for themselves, and if you've been playing that game you're in trouble. On the other hand, if you haven't been playing the game, your credit is good and it's a hell of a time to buy a house. We plan to before summer, and the market looks good from where I'm standing, even though our current equity in our condo is now something like $75k rather than $175k, but single family homes around here have dropped like $200k, so we've gained on the market while maintaining great credit and having reduced out debt load to almost nothing outside of our mortgage. It's sunny on my side of the financial street.
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    Senior Member Michigander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phantomcow2 View Post
    My concern is that with the cost of bare consumables (food and energy) increasing so rapidly, that it will take more and more of our income to finance these necessities. Will the prices ever stabilize?
    At SKS boards and FALfiles this has been talked about a lot. Food you can grow yourself, electricity you can get from sun and wind, heat you can get from electricity. You can can your own food that you grow, and live very cheaply. If you have a very limited income in times of sickening inflation and government spending, it can be a great way to get by. It's also good if you just want to be efficient, healthy, and not a contributer to climate problems.
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    long time visiter Alfster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michigander View Post
    At SKS boards and FALfiles this has been talked about a lot. Food you can grow yourself, electricity you can get from sun and wind, heat you can get from electricity. You can can your own food that you grow, and live very cheaply. If you have a very limited income in times of sickening inflation and government spending, it can be a great way to get by. It's also good if you just want to be efficient, healthy, and not a contributer to climate problems.
    Most people living in my area don't know how to grow a carrot, let alone live fully off nature. It would be a stretch to get more than 1% of the population to consider even 1/2 of what you are proposing. We do grow our own vegetables and freeze some of them for the winter, however the thought of living off the sun to generate electricity is an expensive proposition.

    I can't remember the name of the show, however there's a British show on energy conservation pitting 2 families against each other to see who can produce the least carbon emmisions. Great concept, but once again it seems expensive to get set up.

    BTW, great to see you posting here again Michigander.

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    The garden is definitely getting higher priority this year. Hopefully someone will wake up and repeal the stupid ethanol mandate so that food prices can return towards normal.

    I'm still trying to figure out how a 20% increase in worldwide demand for petrolium translates into a 400% price increase. Someone's been lining their pockets by artificially driving prices up. It will be good for the US to return to some fiscal sanity, but it doesn't look from here like we'll be living more affluently in 10 years - although we might find the average household in better financial circumstances.
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    I think its fear. Because no oil refineries have been built in decades, there is an artifical limit of gasoline. Same with oil. Then, when something that people think might even remotely affects production or a refinery, such as someone lighting a fart in the immediate 500 mile vicinity, people panic, and prices ratchet up.

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    BF's Level 12 Wizard SingingSabre's Avatar
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    We already work more hours for less money and have less family time and more stress...

    I'd say standard of living has already decreased.
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    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Well, for me it'll increase. By then, I'll have my PhD and doing therapy for all the rich people feeling guilty about their ill gotten gains.

    This is not to mention all the patients for stress related Psychological problems (I'm kidding you know )
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    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SingingSabre View Post
    We already work more hours for less money and have less family time and more stress...

    I'd say standard of living has already decreased.
    I have to agree here. It seems like the US is moving toward working more, while Europe appears to be working less. Given that the industrial revolution is in our past, that means this is backwards movement.
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    Up on the Down Side CyLowe97's Avatar
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    Reducing The Want Factor in one's life leads to a stabilized contentment in life (The Want Factor: "I have an iPod with all my music that works fine, but I want the new one..... I have a cell phone that works, but I want that new one.... Etc).

    Many have confused want with need, in part encouraged by a government that says we need to consume to keep the economy rolling, in part to Keep Up With The Joneses, which leads to a wasting of hard earned resources on things that do not make life better. The things wanted often lead to short term gratification, yet long term yearning for something better.

    It's not about working more. Trust me on that. My wife left a high paying job to raise our kids. It's about separating the things you need from the things you want. I want more stuff in my life, but my kids need a parent at home more than we need two incomes to keep up with the Jones.

    Keeping up with the Joneses is a losing game that leads to discontent. I'm much more content having less stuff, even if it means tightening belts to make a single income family situation work.

    Want less, Prioritizing Needs = Higher Standard of Living
    Last edited by CyLowe97; 03-24-08 at 07:58 AM.

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    BF's Level 12 Wizard SingingSabre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyLowe97 View Post
    Reducing The Want Factor in one's life leads to a stabilized contentment in life (The Want Factor: "I have an iPod with all my music that works fine, but I want the new one..... I have a cell phone that works, but I want that new one.... Etc).

    Many have confused want with need, in part encouraged by a government that says we need to consume to keep the economy rolling, in part to Keep Up With The Joneses, which leads to a wasting of hard earned resources on things that do not make life better. The things wanted often lead to short term gratification, yet long term yearning for something better.

    It's not about working more. Trust me on that. My wife left a high paying job to raise our kids. It's about separating the things you need from the things you want. I want more stuff in my life, but my kids need a parent at home more than we need two incomes to keep up with the Jones.

    Keeping up with the Joneses is a losing game that leads to discontent. I'm much more content having less stuff, even if it means tightening belts to make a single income family situation work.

    Want less, Prioritizing Needs = Higher Standard of Living
    Easier to quote Sheryl Crow... "It's not about getting what you want, it's wanting what you got."
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    Senior Member Michigander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alfster View Post
    Most people living in my area don't know how to grow a carrot, let alone live fully off nature. It would be a stretch to get more than 1% of the population to consider even 1/2 of what you are proposing. We do grow our own vegetables and freeze some of them for the winter, however the thought of living off the sun to generate electricity is an expensive proposition.

    I can't remember the name of the show, however there's a British show on energy conservation pitting 2 families against each other to see who can produce the least carbon emmisions. Great concept, but once again it seems expensive to get set up.

    BTW, great to see you posting here again Michigander.
    Stupidity and ignorance should be painful, and it is. Tough **** for those who don't want to learn.

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    If you wanted to get real fancy, you could make your own E85 with a moonshine still. Sure, taxes, house payments, and insurance and things are inevitable, but you positively can live cheaply and in an environmentally friendly manner without trying too hard.

    As for me being back posting, I have no intentions of staying long. What I will say I am still agitated over the situation, and I have found myself working about 70 hours a week for at least the next month, so even if I wasn't still annoyed, I wouldn't be able to post much for the time being.
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    Banned. ModoVincere's Avatar
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    Kind of like Tom here.
    I expect a slight decrease in life quality amongst the generally population, primarily related to housing and credit issues that are occuring now.
    For myself, 10 yrs from now I should be living in Florida on the beach somewhere, or on an Island in the Carribean somewhere.

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    Third World Layabout crtreedude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe View Post
    Well, for me it'll increase. By then, I'll have my PhD and doing therapy for all the rich people feeling guilty about their ill gotten gains.

    This is not to mention all the patients for stress related Psychological problems (I'm kidding you know )
    Don't expect me to be one of your patients - nothing personal of course. Not a guilty bone in my body.

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    Squirrelly Member trsidn's Avatar
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    Decrease.

    The earth can probably hold about 2 billion people at the current US standard of living. We are at 6 and counting.

    China and india have a rapidly growing middle class, they are all going to want cars. They are not finding too much new oil.

    Not to mention the climate changing (whatever the cause).
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