The average American life, in one chart

The kids at Vox have yet to disappoint with their graphics. Take a look at this chart.

  • The average American man lives to about 76, and the average woman until 81. In that lifespan, the average person will spend more than five decades going to school and working — with just two to three decades left over for being a toddler and retiree.
  • Americans are getting married later in life. The typical man got married at 28 in 2011, up from 22 in 1960. [I was 30 when I got married. A good decision]
  • The average length of a US marriage that ends in divorce is about seven years. [As in 7 Year Itch]
  • In 1991 and 1993, the average retirement age was 57. In 2014, that rose to 62.

You are fucked

Veteran US journalist Bob Garfield has been writing about “media chaos” for while and paints a gloomy picture for journalists, media companies and advertising agencies.

“Why do they they skip past the commercials? For the same reason he puts spam filters on his computer and refuses to click on any banner ad ever for any reason at any time,” he said. “Advertising people like to give trophies to one another for their creative genius and parade like Tony the Tiger down Madison Avenue every Fall during ad week. But if they think people love their ads they are sorely, tragically mistaken.

“For more than three centuries consumers have put up with ads. Some ads are funny and clever and some even worm their way into our heads and popular culture. But they are and have always been a nuisance. To most people all advertising is spam. The proof being that the moment technology afforded us the ability to skip them, skip them we have.”

“So if you were looking forward to a great career in media and marketing it might be a good idea to remove your belt and shoelaces. […] Asked about the future for a 30-something journalist, he said: “You are fucked,” adding that a journalist friend with years of experience now waters plants in offices for a living.

Why Asians save and earn so much

The article starts with a little research: “A 2010 Pew Research study pegged Asian households earning a median $66,000 a year vs. $49,800 for the average US household, a 32% difference. A 2013 Nielsen Research Report found that Asian American households have a median net worth of $89,300 compared to $68,800 for overall US households, a 30% difference. Meanwhile, roughly 49% of Asian Americans have Bachelor’s degrees vs. 28% of the general US population, a 75% difference.”

The author identifies several contributing factors. I like these two: 1) Asians are allergic to debt. Debt is slavery. 2) There is nothing more important to the Asian American population than academics.

The train is for misfits

IMG_1540I don’t know that Megan Koester’s train ride was any more hellish than mine, but she tells her story better.

I am a moron, which is why I recently spent 22 tedious hours traveling between Chicago and New York via Amtrak. Let me paint you, dear reader, a portrait of my mistake. [...] The romanticism of the rails is dead. There is no beauty, no ceremony, in it. White, brown, and beige plastic covered every surface. Water sloshed in the sink of the filthy bathroom. The cutlery was plastic, the plates holding flavorless, overpriced turkey sandwiches made of paper. Artless photos of hot dogs and Pepsi products hung askew in the snack car.

Don and Suzy Akers


Last night Barb and I drove down to the Lake of the Ozarks to listen to some long-time friends perform. We first met Don and Suzy Akers when their bar band performed at a honky tonk in the little town where we lived (Kennett, MO). They work mostly as a duo now, dividing their time between the Florida and Missouri. For 40+ years Don and Suzy have been making a living performing in small venues. Watching them, it’s obvious they’re still very much in love. And love what they’re doing. [Here's a minute of Suzy belting out I'll Stand by You]

Six figure salary? You’re not rich

I’m old enough to remember when earning a six figure salary meant you had made it. You were rich. This post on the Personal Capitol blog explains why that is no longer the case. Here are a few nuggets to get you started:

  • the median household income stuck at around $53,093 in 2014
  • the average price of living the American dream has now risen to $130,000 per year
  • today’s family would need to earn $288,713.59 to achieve the same kind of lifestyle as someone making $100,000 in 1980.
  • the median price of a home was around $282,000 nationally in May 0f 2014.
  • the cost of raising one child for a middle class couple has grown to a staggering $241,080.