How does your household income stack up?

Make more, spend more

Dave Cohen, WWL First News early edition
December 10, 2018 - 8:49 pm
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Nationally, median household income is $57,652.  That's from data collected between 2013 and 2017.

The US Census Bureau says that's up from $56,587 over the previous five year period from 2008 to 2012.

Does your household make more or less than the median?

Locally, the median for St. Tammany and St. Charles households is more than the national figures.  Jefferson is in line with the national stats, while the other parishes of  the metro New Orleans area show lower median household incomes.

When we talked about this on the Early Edition of WWL First News, we heard from many listeners who said regardless of where they fall in the rankings... they generally have no money left after paying their bills.

That's human nature.  I have found that no matter if someone makes $10,000 a year or $1,000,000 per year... they spend it all.

I have seen this is my own financial growth through my life.  As a young college graduate making entry level money; I always looked at the people who made more where I worked and thought, "If I could only make what he's making - then I would be comfortable!"

As I worked my way to higher paying jobs, however, I would find ways to spend the additional income.

I would then set my sights on a higher goal and hope to one day get to that level.  Each additional level, however, never seemed high enough.

A promotion would mean getting a bigger house, a nicer car or taking better vacations.  As I aged and had more kids, we would see our bills get larger as our household income grew.

It happened over and over again.  Make more money, spend more money.

Many of our listeners echoed that sentiment in their comments.  The money too often runs out before the month does.

It also seems no matter how hard our parents pushed us to live within our means and not spend all of our income, and no matter how hard we try to convince our kids of the same thing, it is a losing battle.

Most people want nice things and will reward themselves as much as they can with the resources available.  

Even the groceries we buy and the menu selections we make get more and more expensive as income increases.

My kids remind me frequently about our days going to the fast food places and having to order off the dollar menu.  Over time that grew to getting super sized combos.

We also went from camping vacations to condos.

If only we had continued to live the same lifestyle as when we were young and struggling, and saved the additional income that came with new jobs, raises and promotions.  I know I would have a massive pile of money.  And truthfully, while we always wished for and wanted more, life was pretty damn good even when the money was dramatically less.

Bottom line, if I had it to do all over again, I probably would do it differently.  Unless time travel becomes a thing, however, we never can do it all over again.

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