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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Then and Now

1963 Buick Riviera
Whenever you make comparisons you have to select at least two items or subjects for the sake of comparison.  The two eras I have selected are 2015 (present time), and I selected 1960 randomly for no particular reason other than a point of reference.  While I realize that some of my readers may be too young to have fully experienced life in 1960.  I would hope that all of us may have parents that lived in that era.  I realize how difficult it is to imagine your father or mother wearing bell bottom pants, and perhaps even psychedelic print shirts and blouses but history can’t be denied.
Despite all the technological and medical advance in place and being made every day, I don’t envy or desire to be a young adult today.  The challenges facing young people today are many and extreme.  On a very basic level, I can’t imagine losing a loved one because of driving and texting.  Back in 1960 if you had a very important idea or message to share with someone, you would scan the streets for a payphone.  After finding a payphone, you needed a dime to make a local call. 
In 2005 I traveled to Los Angeles to visit family, and discovered that I had left my cellular telephone in my car at the airport in Seattle.  When I went to call my home from a payphone at the airport (in LA) the cost for 3 minutes was $6.  My wife being the brainy person that she is instructed me to purchase a prepaid calling card that I could use from any phone.  Since then almost 100% of payphones have disappeared.
Imagine the silliness of a prediction (forecast) that was circulating back in 1960 that we (humans) would evolve to having only one thumb and the index finger (ET style) because everything would be push button in the near future.
Back in 1960 a person could leave their house and go into town with ten dollars in their pocket, and would be more than enough to have a good time on the town.  At the time $10 was approximately 10% of the average monthly income.  Based on 2015 median income you would have to take almost $500 (10% of monthly income) for a comparable night on the town.  I realize that due to the disparity in incomes half the people make less and half the people make more.
I tried to find a similar chart for cost of living in 2015. And first question to come up is for what date.  In other words our economy is so volatile that a gallon of gasoline can vary by as much a couple of dollars depending on what month of the year or what part of the country you are researching.  You can’t set a grocery budget for the entire year because all grocery related prices are subject to change, and almost always up.  As an example, a case of mad-cow disease in England will spike the prices of meat overnight in the U.S. (one of the many benefits of the Internet and social media).  A maintenance shutdown of an oil refinery spikes gasoline prices due to artificially created shortage.
I believe that those of us in my age group have the best of then and now.  Not only did we survive the British music invasion, and lived the best era of music, but can now enjoy it digitally like it was being performed live.  I can also attest to personally having the best of the muscle car era, without the classic cost related to owning one now.  I have all of my music collection and family photos in one portable hard drive (I keep a backup for safety sake) plus the iCloud.

Make the most of what you have.  The best is yet to come………..

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