Today’s the day I was liberated from the womb, 27 short years ago.
I thought it would be interesting to compare life now to what it was like back when I entered this world that fateful, stormy, June 1st day.
1989 was a great year to make my foray into this world. The Cold War finally ended with the destruction of the Berlin Wall (win!), the Game Boy made its debut, and that thing we call the internet today was invented, which has led us all to this awesome blog.
Oh, and Taylor Swift was also born in 1989… just say’n.
So here’s the list of 5 things that have drastically changed since yours truly came on the scene:
Yes, I share a birthday with the first pocket-sized cell phone. That groundbreaker was the Motorolla MicroTAC, which ran just under $3,000! In addition to that initial expense, users had to pay a fee of $45/month plus an average of 45 cents/min unless you were roaming, which was likely anywhere outside your home town. Early adopters also lacked certain necessities such as texting, GPS, and this little thing called the internet.
To put that in perspective, my current phone program is Google Fi. My Nexus 5x cost $350 with a monthly cost of $30! This is a pretty awesome example of Moore’s law, and how awesomely affordable technology has become thus far in my life. Oh and added bonus: my phone has the same expense across the globe ending the headache known as “roaming.”
Amazingly, the S&P 500 closed out 1989 at around $350. While I currently peck these words into my computer, the S&P is closing at $2,099! That’s a huge increase despite the great recession!!
To make that message hit home, if I had been gifted $10K at birth and let it sit in this account until today, I would have $197,872.69 sitting there, just asking to be spent on a new Lamborghini Sesto Elemnto birthday gift. If the average returns matched the historic ones (~11.69%) and I waited until age 54 to retire on that initial investment of $10K, I would have a just under 4 million dollars!
*Collective sigh… compound interest is a beautiful thing.
Man, I wish I had bought my house at 1989 prices! In June of 1989, the average American home would set you back $120,000. Today’s average home runs $232,500!
As you already know, returns on home equity aren’t nearly as great as the past returns from the stock market, but investing in real-estate can be a great part of a wealth building strategy!
If you want to check out a cool heat map of average home values across the United States, check out this cool site.
With the increase in the stock market and home prices, it makes sense that average incomes would have increased dramatically. However, I was somewhat surprised to find that they haven’t increased as much as I would have expected.
In 1989, the median income per year was $27,450 in the United States. The US Census Bureau reported that in 2014, the median household income was $51,759. When adjusted for inflation, the median 1989 household income would be $51,681 in current dollars. It’s crazy that 27 years ago a middle class family was bringing in pretty much the same they are today.
Okay, okay, music doesn’t relate to personal finance, but I had to include this final thought to round out the list. Taylor Swift is great and all, but back in 1989, America was waking up from the drunken music stupor of the 80s with some pretty cool stuff.
Prince released the Bat Dance and Cher was Turning Back Time. Take that Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus!
What are the biggest changes you’ve noticed in the past 27 years? Share in the comments below!