1965 Ford Mustang Convertible
1965 Ford Mustang Convertible

Ah, the good old days, 1965 – when you could leave your doors unlocked, the temperature was a balmy 80 degrees, and your new Mustang convertible sat eagerly waiting for you in the carport. You had $10 burning a hole in your pocket, and Betty Lou was getting out, or so you heard.

Fast forward to 2014 and things have changed. For one, you are 50 years older, and so is Betty Lou. The Mustang is long gone, sold for a minivan. And that $10 doesn’t stay in your pocket long enough to even get warm.

Yes, yes, everything is so expensive these days. But you are a rational human being. Instead of sitting around whining, you decide to QUANTIFY the situation. Because there’s nothing like a well crafted number to assuage your sense of foreboding about retirement, right? You power up the laptop and begin your quest. A few hours later you have your answer.

Price Ratio Chart

Ratio of prices, 2014 vs 1965
Ratio of prices, 2014 vs 1965

So now you know. Steering away from high prices and seeking out the proven bargains, you may glide peacefully into retirement with the following plan:

    1. Downsize your median home
    2. Purchase a Yaris
    3. Drive to Walmart and get a nice new TV
    4. Stock up on beer
    5. Watch a wide variety of election ads
    6. Pray for good health

—————————————————
SOURCES:
Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) (7.5)
1965: 31.5
2014 (est): 236.2
http://www.minneapolisfed.org/community_education/teacher/calc/hist1913.cfm

Gasoline (11.9)
1965: $0.31
http://www.1960sflashback.com/1965/economy.asp
2014: $3.69
http://www.gasbuddy.com/

Four year public university Tuition, Room and Board per Year (13.1)
1965: $1,105
http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d07/tables/dt07_320.asp
2014 (est): $14,500
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/08/26/introducing-the-tuition-is-too-damn-high/

Doctors Office Visit (21.1)
1965 (est): $7.50
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_10/sr10_049.pdf
2014: $158
http://www.fchp.org/members/resources/guide-to-costs.aspx

Economy Automobile (6.1)
1965: $2,650
http://www.thecostofliving.com/index.php?id=105
2014: $16,050 (Toyota Yaris)
http://blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/2014/02/top-10-cheapest-new-cars-you-can-buy.html

Median New Home (13.5)
1965: $20,700
http://www.census.gov/const/uspricemon.pdf
2014: $280,000
http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/MSPNHSUS

Television (0.7)
1965 (est.): $500
http://www.tvhistory.tv/tv-prices.htm
2104 (40 inch): $348
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Sony-KDL40R350B-40-1080p-60Hz-Class-LED-HDTV/36575378

Box of Cheerios (13.1)
1965: $0.28
http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/60sfood.html
2014: $3.68
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Cheerios-Toasted-Whole-Grain-Oat-Cereal-18-oz/10311410

Beer 6-Pack (5.0)
1965: $1.00
http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/remembering-what-a-buck-could-buy-in-the-1960s.html
2014: $5.00
http://qz.com/174700/how-many-hours-of-minimum-wage-work-it-takes-to-earn-a-beer/

Big Mac (10.3)
1965 (ish): $0.45
http://pabook.libraries.psu.edu/palitmap/BigMac.html
2014: $4.62
http://www.economist.com/content/big-mac-index

US President (125.3)
1964 (LBJ): $8.8 million
http://www.theawl.com/2012/11/presidential-fundraising-adjusted-for-inflation
2012 (Obama): $1,123 million
http://www.politico.com/story/2012/12/barack-obama-mitt-romney-both-topped-1-billion-in-2012-84737.html

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MurphTheSurf3sillylittlemeNirekphoenixdogloverMiles Long Recent comment authors
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MurphTheSurf3
Editor

This is really interesting…I mean it really is…but what does it mean.

Things cost more today. Ok. Granted.

BUT, in 1965, per the U.S. Census a family of 4’s median income was $6,900 a year. (http://www2.census.gov/prod2/popscan/p60-049.pdf)

In 2012 median household income was $51,371 a year. (http://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/acsbr12-02.pdf)

That economy car in 1965 cost you 38 percent of your income. In 2012 it was 31 percent.

So…what did you want us to gather from your comparisons….like I said, a lot of work here…a ton of work….and really interesting but I am looking for the thesis you were setting out to prove.

Help?

sillylittleme
Member

PDL, according to your chart the only thing that is more affordable now than then is the idiot box. Isn’t life grand…

Nirek
Member

My first house cost me $35,000 in 1974. My first car cost me $40 (used Austin 5 speed) I drove it 2 miles, pushed it about 100 yards and sold it for $50 as is.
After high school my first job paid $35 a week for forty hours. Then I was drafted and the army paid me $99 a month!

Ah, what memories!

Miles Long
Member
Miles Long

I had the ’67 Mustang Coup with the 289 V8 when I was in college. Rebuilt the engine once and had to cram 9 of us in there so we could go get Chinese food. I paid $1,200 for it in 1974…

Miles “Good Times” Long