Cost Times Ten; todays equivalent

Recently I took a trip to Portland Or. to visit my son Lucas and to do some street photography. Both the visit, lunch was a giant wet green chicken burrito, and the photography went fine.

On the way home to Medford I stopped off in Corvallis to get some gas and a quick snack for the road. OK, I’ll admit I didn’t need the snack but I passed the candy self and couldn’t help myself…after all a Baby Ruth won’t hurt my girlish figure…well not that much.

Not giving it much thought I paid for the gas and the candy bar; $2.90 a gallon for the gas and $1.69 for the candy bar. As I walked to the car I began to think that these prices were kind of steep, but the gas was already in tank and the first half the candy bar was in my mouth and on the way to my tank…and both were needed…sorta.

For some strange reason I began to reflect on an article I had read about a car collectors purchase in the mid 60’s for $60,000…equivalent to $600,000 in today’s money. Inflation would therefore place the cars at 10 times the cost today.

As I let my mind wonder as I am known to do from time to time, I began to think about the cost of a Baby Ruth candy bar and a gallon of gas in the mid 60’s. Now back then a candy bar was around fifteen cents and a gallon of gas ranged from twenty-five cents to twenty nine cents. Well that means that a gallon of gas and the candy bar cost no more in today’s dollar comparison than it did way back in the good old days.

OK I let my mind out in the back woods so it could have a good stroll and began comparing prices of other goods purchased when I was a kid. Soda was a dime, now it’s a dollar, a Mc’s cheese burger was twelve cents and now it’s a dollar, fries a dime now a dollar, a bugger a dime now a dollar…the ten times ratio seemed to be holding true. Then I looked at the most important item…the paycheck.

True I was in high school back then and didn’t have a paycheck so I used my father’s middle class salary as a field engineer at the steel mills, between $12,000 and $15,000 per year, as the comparison point.  In today’s dollars, those numbers times ten should give me what I and the average middle class wage earner should be making…wait a minute…this does not compute…even a two wage family is falling short…way short.

I began to think about investments I could have made to have helped me keep pace and hit upon the thought that I should have been banking all those candy bars, burgers and fries instead of eating them…WHAT WAS I THINKING?

Well maybe there is hope…maybe my kids will stop eating those candy bars, burgers and fries…place them in a safety deposit box, sell them later and have one hell of a retirement when they reach my age.


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