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How Americans Spend Thumbnail

How Americans Spend

By: Mike Earl

One of the things golfers talk about is avoiding the "big miss". Hooking multiple tee shots out-of-bounds really blows up a round of golf (I know that from personal experience, on multiple occasions).

Avoiding the big miss is a great metaphor when applied to personal finance. In order to reduce your spending, the best place to look is the largest categories in the family budget. From the chart above, transportation and housing costs have seen massive growth since 1941 (all of these numbers are adjusted for inflation, and the spending numbers are per household).

Here's one way to think about transportation costs: imagine waking up every day and pulling $26 out of your wallet. That is how much it costs the average US family to transport themselves around town for work and recreation. Just over $9,500 per year, based on 2015 data. That's a lot of moolah for driving.

As for housing costs, many of our clients are now living mortgage-free (and some of them have accomplished that feat before turning 45), so they have driven their housing costs much lower than the $1,500 per month median spend in America. For those of our clients still living under the burden of a mortgage, most of them are in 15-year loans -- i.e. they're on the fast-track to being debt-free FOREVER. And that's a recipe for greater wealth building, my friends.