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Value Creation Blog

Darn, Things Just Cost Too Much

Posted by Josh Patrick

candy store resized 600If you’re over sixty years old then you know exactly what I’m talking about.  Things just cost too much.  I remember when…

Things don’t really cost more.

I remember that when I was a kid we used to sell candy from our vending machines for ten cents per bar.  Today, that same item sells for about $1.00.  To me that feels awfully expensive; so expensive that I can’t seem to bring myself to buy a candy bar at retail.

I’m not alone.  When I talk about what things cost with my peers we all agree that things are just getting too expensive.

It’s not that they really cost more in relative terms.  It means that with inflation both in wages and prices things cost about the same.  In some cases they cost a lot less.

My first laser printer that only printed in black and white and printed really slowly cost about $5,000.00.  Today a black and white laser printer that prints four or fives times as fast as the one I bought in 1984 costs about $150.00.  I can’t say that costs more. 

It’s all about the purchasing power of your money.

It really doesn’t matter what things cost.  It matters how much you can buy with the money you have. 

One of the problems that exists is that our purchasing power in the middle class has been eroded.  Much of this erosion has gone into the pockets of Presidents of public companies.  They continually get large raises while their rank and file employees barely keep up with inflation. 

For this group, things really do cost too much.  It’s not because of the prices that are charged.  It’s because the leaders of the companies they work for have appropriated raises they should have gotten.

If you’re younger, cut your elders a break.

I remember four or five years ago I would roll my eyes when my father would tell me how much something “should” cost.  Today, I can see my kids rolling their eyes when I talk about how much things “should” cost.

I can only say give me a break.  I remember when gas was 35 cents a gallon.  Now that it’s almost $4.00 a gallon just seems like too much money.  I know that if you’re under 30, it’s the only price you remember.  Someday you’re going to get to the point where you think things are too expensive also.

It’ll happen to you.

This is all part of aging.  Things seem like they’re more expensive and in many cases so expensive it’s just not worth buying anymore. 

The same happens with time.  The older you get, the faster time goes by.  It happens and it’ll happen with you.  You’ll wake up one day and wonder where the summer went.  You’ll find days just go flying by.  They really aren’t moving any faster, it just seems like they are.

I guess the point is things only cost too much if your lifestyle is getting worse.  Otherwise it’s all perceptions and perceptions are funny things.  Wouldn’t you agree?

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Topics: cultural change, value, financial education

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