Are We Poorer Than Our Parents?

Are We Poorer Than Our Parents?

Grace Shu
Jun 10, 2008

The other day, one of my friends was telling me how aggressively he was saving up for college for his two little girls. "It's not just kids either," he said, "everything's become crazy expensive; and it just feels like my salary hasn't really been keeping up." Later on, he sent me a link to an article in Cookie magazine that discussed the disparity of income between this generation and our parents' generation.

[ Photo from Namolio's Flickr ]

According to the article, the middle class of our parents' generation could quite comfortably own a house and raise a family without feeling a pinch in the wallet. Today's middle class is often forced to choose between the two: raise a family or buy a house. And it's not just families either who are struggling financially: singles, young couples without kids, and families are all having to reevaluate their priorities due to their budgets.

So how do we manage? If it's any indication from our site and other home-centric blogs, it seems like more and more people are living smaller and smarter. We celebrate small homes with creative layout solutions. We look for inspiring DIY projects to beautify our home on a budget. We're constantly searching for that great secondhand find on Craigslist or at swap meets that will add character and save us money.

In a 1975 survey, Americans were asked, "What makes a good life?" Back then, 38% of Americans replied with, "A lot of money." In 1993, the same survey was taken and 63% picked that answer. As someone living in this economic pressure cooker of 2008, what do you think makes "a good life"?

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