Are you slowly getting poorer? The numbers may surprise you


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According to the U.S. Census Bureau , the inflation adjusted median annual household income has gone up in the past 30 years, from $46K in 1984 to $52 in 2013, so if your family is bringing in 17% more today than they were in 1984, you have the same approximate ratio of higher to lower income families that they did. Median income peaked, by the way, at $55K in 1999, which means real American incomes have been in decline for 15 years. That's right-it isn't your imagination.

Even as recently as 2007, the median income was more than $54K. If you have been wondering why it doesn't sound quite right when pundits say our society has undone all the damage done by the financial crash of 2008, this is very likely the reason. Keep in mind that declining wages are every bit as devastating to a society as inflation. America needs fewer people stockpiling gold and more people stockpiling brass-at least until they've accumulated enough to ask for a raise.

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This article appears in: investing , personal finance , Economy

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