Right before I entered marriage almost 40 years ago, I think back at the list of all our assets. You could have put it on a sticky note — one of those little ones at that.
For our wedding we had a cake, some mints and a few peanuts. My car at the time was a ‘72 Volkswagen Bug. Our first disagreement was when my wife’s father offered us $3,000 to not have a wedding and just “run off.” Sounded like a great idea to me, but it didn’t happen. It was mny first of many defeats.
Is it just me or do the younger folks today seem to be farther along in life now than we were? Hardly anyone drives a 10-year-old car anymore. Most seem to have boats, campers, four-wheelers, and just about anything they want. Why is that?
Now, I am sure my own three children have had many difficult times that I have no idea about. But I can say it at least appears they are all lightyears ahead of the game we played many years ago when setting up our household. Why is that?
In my early days of adulthood, I remember going through the couch for enough change to buy gas to get to work in Cincinnati. Or cashing in the pop bottles from the garage to convert to cash. Sound familiar to any of you?
Each generation talks about the good old days and what they meant to them. I found some very interesting national statistics to share. In 1980, the average first-time homebuyer was 24 years old with an annual household income of $24,000. In 2019, the average buyer is 32 years old and has an annual income of $72,000. Yes, things have changed just a bit. The average income today has risen by almost 75 percent in the last 40 years.
Just after the depression, the Federal Housing Administration was created, in part by the National Housing Act in 1934. This was a major jump start for the economy when the U.S. was coming out of the worst economic time in history. Banks were folding in record numbers. Foreclosures were coming in at a rapid pace with most of them being worth far less than the balance owed. The FHA was designed to change the way banks handled mortgages. It did just that, forever. Before then, a mortgage was only for three to five years and not the typical 30 years we enjoy today. Basically, our federal government will back mortgages that lenders normally would deny. The guidelines to qualify are more obtainable. In the end, many more people have since been able to become homeowners, which created more jobs and income for a somewhat crippled nation.
Yes, things have changed in some areas. It may be hard at times to admit it, but change can be very good. Each generation has its level of good and bad. My grandparents were born around 1900. They lived through the depression with a young family. When we would stay with them certain things amazed me even as a child. Nothing was ever thrown away that could be used later in some fashion. They would always have leftover bacon from breakfast in the fridge. Maybe only one to two pieces. I always wondered why not just eat the last two bacon strips, or even toss them.
Now I understand.
Randy Butler is a lifelong resident of Highland County and a licensed real estate agent for Classic Real Estate in Hillsboro.