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Author: GardenStateFool Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 881838  
Subject: Breakdown of household finances Date: 4/12/2013 12:40 PM
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The Atlantic has a graphic and article today on how teenagers spend their money:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/04/how-teen...

So I broke out the numbers from the BLS and compared a typical middle-class adult to a typical teen. I can't show dollar figures, since the study looks at percents only, so this graph compares the share of spending between teens and adults. Teens spend 14X more of their money on food; 8X more on books and clothes; and twice as much on the entertainment super-category, which includes electronics, movie tickets, concerts, and video games.

While that's interesting and all (because, duh, most teenagers have a home already, so housing isn't going to be a big category for them), what was MORE interesting to me was this graphic, embedded in the article, about the "typical household."

http://visualeconomics.creditloan.com/how-the-average-us-con...

My first thought was that this graphic was pretty much meaningless because it's too average.

It says that the US Consumer Unit has average 2.5 people, average age 48.8, average number of earners 1.3.

So when I look at the graphic itself, and it's pretty detailed, I cannot find child care as an expenditure category anywhere.

So right off the bat there, I can't make heads-or-tails of this graph without realizing that there will be HUGE swings one way or the other, depending on the age of children and whether or not you use child care.

I think comparing the percentages teenagers spend on things would be a lot more interesting if they were compared to certain categories of consumers:

- DINK (Double Income No Kids)
- Retirees
- Families

As opposed to this huge graph that is so averaged-out as to be kind of meaningless, IMO.

But that's my take, and looking at the graphic made some of my LBYM hackles rise a little.

I also wonder where they put cable and cell phone - Utilities, or Entertainment?

Your thoughts?

GSF
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Author: PSUEngineer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 873381 of 881838
Subject: Re: Breakdown of household finances Date: 4/12/2013 1:35 PM
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Averaged charts are useless to me.

PSU
above average since 1902

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Author: StockGoddess Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 873383 of 881838
Subject: Re: Breakdown of household finances Date: 4/12/2013 2:13 PM
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When we were doing a refinance on the house once the morgage company wanted to know debt loads and such but never asked about child care.

Without child care I could not work.

With TWINS in diapers my child care was $800/month - more than any credit card debt or car payment at the time. Heck, it almost equaled out house payment! But, as you say, no category at all for that.

Dumb.

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Author: MissEdithKeeler Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 873388 of 881838
Subject: Re: Breakdown of household finances Date: 4/12/2013 3:20 PM
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I always hate these "average family" things, because they purport to show something, but really show nothing, because there are so many variations that aren't taken into account. I got a little irritated recently by a thing on my Vanguard website--"How do you compare to the average Vanguard account?" or something like that. It told me that the average Vanguard 401(k) balance was $78K. Fine and dandy, until you realize how meaningless that is when they don't give you breakdowns of ages, income, etc.

But then again, I'm sort of over comparing myself to others these days.

However, I can tell one thing from looking at the average "consumer unit"--I'm not spending enough on booze. I need to rectify that.

Also, I don't see a category for pets. I think it's somewhere around 65% of Americans own pets. I'm sure it probably falls in "Misc."

Also, I don't really understand the "Social Security and Pensions" category. 6.2% of our salaries go into SS; does "pensions" include 401(k) and IRA contributions?

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Author: karenlj Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 873390 of 881838
Subject: Re: Breakdown of household finances Date: 4/12/2013 3:26 PM
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However, I can tell one thing from looking at the average "consumer unit"--I'm not spending enough on booze. I need to rectify that.

Also, I don't see a category for pets. I think it's somewhere around 65% of Americans own pets. I'm sure it probably falls in "Misc."


Just name your pets "Booze," and it'll all work out.

Karen

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Author: Lea77 Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 873391 of 881838
Subject: Re: Breakdown of household finances Date: 4/12/2013 4:15 PM
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However, I can tell one thing from looking at the average "consumer unit"--I'm not spending enough on booze. I need to rectify that.

It's good to have goals.

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