I ran across this on TFMetalsReport.com today...
1950's - one wage earner for a four-person family. Mortgage paid off in 25/30years. Comfortable retirement.I'm not sure if the poster has actual stats to back it up, but it sure sounds about right to me.
1960's - one wage earner (plus overtime) for a four-person family. Mortgage paid off in 25/30years. Comfortable retirement.
1970's - two wage earners (plus overtime) for a four-person family. Mortgage paid off in 25/30years. Modest retirement in own home.
1980's - two wage earners (plus overtime) for a four-person family. Mortgage not paid off - has to be rolled. Sell home on retirement for a modest retirement experience in a retirement home.
1990's - two wage earners (plus overtime) for a four-person family. Mortgage interst-only basis. Sell home on retirement for a modest retirement experience.
2000's - two wage earners (plus overtime) for a four-person family. Mortgage interest-only basis plus necessity to make repeated "equity" drawdowns from housing value in order to enjoy life and send the kids to college. Sell home on "retirement" from main job. Continue working in deadbeat store/Mc-job until drop dead in harness.
This was my response...
I was born in 1955. My grandparents raised me and two older siblings. My grandfather had worked for DuPont since the 1930s. In 1963 he sold the house they'd had since before I was born because it was too small. He bought a 5 bedroom house with a finished basement on a double lot for $20,000! He retired a couple of years later and died of a heart attack not long after. My grandmother collected his pension until she died in 2002 at 97 years old. She was able to keep that house and put my older brother and sister through college. (I didn't go that route, but joined the Air Force). After we were all on our own she was able to buy a four-plex. When she got to old to run it she sold it and moved in with my sister. She pretty much kept my sister and brother in-law out of poverty. When she was too infirm to live at home she moved into a nice assisted care/hospice and finally departed this world in peace after living on her late husband's pension for almost 40 years! My grandfather was not an executive or anything like that. He helped maintain his plant's power systems. That was a very typical blue collar job back in the day.
I probably earn at least 5 times what my grandfather made and I'm lucky to be able to afford the rent on the second floor of a private home. I have about two or three months buffer in my bank account, not counting my stack, and unless my metal makes me a bazillion dollars in the great collapse, my retirement plans are work until I can't, then hope I can still play the guitar well enough to do some busking at DC Metro stops. (If my dreams of subsistence farming don't pan out).
America is dead.