Some people believe that in today’s day it’s impossible for the average middle class family to live off of one income. I’m not one of those people. Whether your goal is to become a stay at home parent or to experience a career change – you can work your finances such that you make your goal your reality.
I know form experience as this is exactly what my husband and I did. However, I decided a little investigation was also in order. I wanted to understand how things have changed for most Americans from the 1950’s.
I chose the 1950’s because it was during the 1960’s that women of working age started to join the labor force in increasing rates. So the question is, what can we learn from the 1950’s household.
Three tips immediately come to mind, and I explore them in more detail in the video below.
- Pay off debt: The average consumer debt in the 1950’s was $0. It’s hard to imagine today when the average consumer debt in 2020 was $92,000. Part of the reason for this is that student loans and credit cards did not exist in the 1950’s. We can learn from this though – when possible get rid of these non-collateralized debts.
- Buy less house: Houses today are almost $100,000 more expensive than they were in the 1950’s. This is with inflation adjusted numbers. The reason is because they are so much bigger. The median family home size in the mid-1950’s was about 960 square feet. Today the median home size is 2400 square feet. With more square footage you have more maintenance, more upkeep, and more stuff – all of which costs more.
- Buy less car: In the 1950’s only 20% of households had two or more cars. While this may not be realistic given the middle class American’s frequently suburban lifestyle, you could consider buying a smaller vehicle or a used vehicle. The goal is ultimately to reduce your car payments.
To hear even more on this topic including what drove women to the workforce and why it was a good thing – watch my full video.