Even though I’m not broke, I’m feeling very broke today. Perhaps it’s because my husband bought a new laptop last night and I am jealous. It makes me reflect once again on my financial situation. A news article about the average family savings made the point that many people, particularly poor people, do not have savings for emergencies. I remember being that poor. I am proud of having learned to manage my money independently of my husband, who helped me out financially when we first got married. I owe my independence to a financial advisor. Everyone should have a financial advisor. Anyway, objectively, I am not broke, but I feel deprived today. bell hooks once wrote (I think in Yearning) that she was never able to escape feeling deprived because of a childhood of deprivation. I identify with that statement.
Social comparison theory tells us that we judge ourselves by measuring ourselves against others. This is what I found is the average family’s financial situation:
- The average family has under $4,000.00 in the bank.
- The median income of women in 2005 was $31.858 (77% of men).
- The average cost of a wedding in the US is $25,000.00 (we eloped to Vegas).
- The average American carries $10,000 in credit card debt, spread out among as many as four cards. (I have no consumer debt, though I do have my school loan and car payment)
- An average credit score for Americans is around 600, which means that the average American pays too much for borrowed money because the loan percentage rates are based on this number. The best total would be 800 and the worst would be 350. (I don’t know what my credit score is, which I should rectify, but I was able to qualify for a personal line of credit with my banks — which I got to put overdraft protection on the kid’s account, the brat).
- The typical American household has a net worth of $465,970, up 83 percent from 1965, 60 percent from 1985 and 35 percent from 1995. I have no idea what our net worth is, but it is no where near that high, I believe. That’s because we didn’t start accumulating right after college the way most families do. We went the poor graduate student route.
The moral of this story: I have no right at all to feel deprived anymore.