Posted by: Timothy Ellis (The Tim)

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.

33 responses to “Poll: Is your household income higher today than it was five years ago?”

  1. Howard

    Our income is up 30%, but we also moved from much lower housing cost area.

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  2. softwarengineer

    RE: Howard @ 1

    Very True

    Minimum wage in other states besides Washington isn’t $8/hr….try $6/hr or less for undocumented cash under the table. Another good question on income, do you have medical insurance with your job….the family plans at $18k/yr are about equal to $10+/hr alone….especially when you consider you pay the employee portion [all or part] out of your net pay.

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  3. softwarengineer

    Another Issue is COLA Calculations Omitting Food, Gas, College Tuition and Medical Insurance Costs

    Its akind to estimating dollar data but omitting anything spent with dollars.

    Have you noticed food in the grocery store has doubled in price the last year?

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  4. wreckingbull

    Hey of course things are better today. Inflation is in check *

    *(Unless you drive a car, ride a bus, heat your home, and/or eat food)

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  5. Kevin

    I am shocked by the amount of “Yes” responses.

    Perhaps a better question: “is your household saving more money than it was 5 years ago?”

    My income went up slightly, but my cost of living has gone up more.

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  6. Ira Sacharoff

    My household income is down, but I’m a lot happier.
    And to answer Kevins’ question, my household is saving more than five years ago. Five years ago, my wife and I had full time work gigs. She retired, is collecting a pension, and I left the full time gig to devote full time to real estate. We’re spending less, and have more flexibility to do what we want. As Maynard G Krebs might have said ” I don’t need no 9-5 grind, daddy-o.”

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  7. Macro Investor

    By wreckingbull @ 4:

    Hey of course things are better today. Inflation is in check *

    *(Unless you drive a car, ride a bus, heat your home, and/or eat food)

    ** Use medical care, pay tuition, pay taxes, go to a state or federal park

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  8. Howard

    My insurance is far, far better here in Washingon state. My previous family insurance was $450 a month, 80/20 copays, family max out of pocket was $5,800 a year. That was a State of Colorado employee plan. My new employer is a local city, and I pay $240 a month with a family O.O.P of $2,800. Retirement benefits are far better with a PERS plan AND a match up to 5% into a 401k type plan.

    Housing is 3 times rural Colorado. We had 1.5 acres, 3000sqft, 4 car garage very well built house that was we sold for $275,000. Gasoline was more expensive and we had very high vehicle costs as everything was far away and 4wd was needed 6 months or more a year. We also had no choice in grocery stores, unless we drove 40 miles. Property taxes were 1800 a year, and that was very high for the area Sales tax was 6.9% and there was a state income tax.

    BIGGEST reason to move (and the only reason) was the school system is horrible. Low graduation rates, high teen pregnancy rates and garbage cans collecting the roof leaks in the local schools. My wife is a school teacher and couldn’t see her own kids going through the local system. We figured if we were going to move, there was no difference between 100 miles and 1200 miles.

    My wife got the biggest income boost, by about 50%, I went up about 10% doing the same exact work.

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  9. One Eyed Man

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 6

    ####### WORK!?!! #######

    Like Wow Mr. S, I don’t need money that bad.

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  10. Dirty Renter

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 6
    It’s good to know I’m not the only one who remembers Maynard.
    I always had a crush on Dobie’s girlfriend w/ the black hair.

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  11. Scotsman

    Making more by working more, but spending more and just slightly saving more. Stop the world, I want to get off.

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  12. Pipjack

    Making much less because I am staying home with the kids. Lost one income, gained 2 rugrats.

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  13. ricklind

    I voted yes, because my income as defined is greater But my direct and indirect costs are up and my standard of living is down.
    Maybe net income would be a better measure. And then combined with taxable income.
    Rick

    My lifestyle is not better.

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  14. David S

    RE: Pipjack @ 12 – Twins? Congratulations.

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  15. trucker

    I am making more than 5 years ago. But only just barely. Certainly not by enough to account for inflation. And I’m now in a much higher housing cost area (Northern Puget Sound vs Mesa, AZ). I’m actually making slightly less than I was 4 years ago, and significantly less than 3 years ago. I am WAY up on 2 years ago, and slightly up compared to last year.

    Interesting aside. The house I owned in Mesa is up for sale again. We bought it in 2005 for $248k. Sold it in 2007 for $300k. Had we hit it at the very peak of the market it would have easily sold for $350k or more. It’s currently under contract (as a short sale) with a list price of $145k.

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  16. Cheap South

    Good for those that voted yes. For the past 10 years, every time we meet to discuss the new medical plan, the increase in premiums, deductibles and copays are much higher than the every other year 3% raise. Plus normal inflation. Gas is up what? 50%?

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  17. interested

    RE: Scotsman @ 11 – why not just cut out the middle part of that statement — the part you have full control over?

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  18. interested

    RE: trucker @ 15 – You made the right decision, positive.

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  19. redmondjp

    I answered ‘yes’ but that is only in terms of gross income – expenses are up even more: gas, food, energy, and most especially childcare for two kids (which costs more than our mortgage BTW) that we didn’t have five years ago!

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  20. Howard

    By redmondjp @ 19:

    I answered ‘yes’ but that is only in terms of gross income – expenses are up even more: gas, food, energy, and most especially childcare for two kids (which costs more than our mortgage BTW) that we didn’t have five years ago!

    I looked into daycare for our 2 year old twins. I had sticker shock. Had I even know what it might cost, it would have given a moments pause before we had them. $1900 per month at the local chain daycare.

    That is 70% of my wife’s take home pay. We came up with a more economical solution, but it causes tension in the household, but it is best for us and the kids..

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  21. patient

    RE: Howard @ 20
    Yup the $4k/month we write checks for to keep the kiddos safe and sound while at work making a bit more than 5 years ago is not helping the disposal income and savings rate but renting certainly does help a lot, for now.

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  22. Scotsman

    RE: interested @ 17

    Two kids in college. Pretty much all other expenditures are indeed down.

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  23. trucker

    By Howard @ 20:

    By redmondjp @ 19:
    I looked into daycare for our 2 year old twins. I had sticker shock. Had I even know what it might cost, it would have given a moments pause before we had them. $1900 per month at the local chain daycare.

    That is 70% of my wife’s take home pay. We came up with a more economical solution, but it causes tension in the household, but it is best for us and the kids..

    .

    When we first moved to Seattle SWMBO was a student at UW. I was making absurd money. We found the only day cares that had room left for our kids (4 and 2 at the time). One was $900ish per month. The other was $1400/month, but as it was a Jewish run pre-school they closed for all the Jewish holidays in addition to all the other federal holidays. Alternate child care for those closures averaged at least $200/month, if not more. Our rent was $1950/month (decent house in Wedgwood), so child care was BY FAR our biggest monthly expense. When I got laid off that was the first thing to go.

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  24. Lake Hills Renter

    Making ~40% more and saving a lot more.

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  25. Cascadian

    Making many times more than we were 5 years ago, but that’s easy to do when you compare with graduate student / slave labor rates.

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  26. Lurker

    Household income down now that wife is at home watching our toddler but I wouldn’t change that at all. I’m getting paid a little more but expenses have gone up too.

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  27. Tim McB

    Making more, but saving less now that we own a house. But our house is our piggy bank too right? Forced savings and all.. /end sarc

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  28. CMDCMF

    Making more and saving more.

    Some day, the party will be over.

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  29. Ron

    Im making about 50% more than 5 years ago.
    My savings/Net worth about 300-400% more..
    Housing is excellent- 1 rental and one primary residence purchased with cash..

    On the financial end “everything is fine.. Im single with no children/responsibilities its by my choice… Im going to have to start dating here soon, I’ve almost forgot how to hunt..

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  30. Rustyjohn

    My income is up 100 percent…but I’m a bankruptcy attorney so not a good gauge…

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  31. Subrosa

    Income is down…I changed to part-time 5 years ago at birth of first child and was recently downsized when my company let go half their employees (though I was going to quit soon anyhow due to cost of childcare for 3 kids).
    Although we have less income, we are making better use of it. Refinanced last year from a 30 year to a 15 year mortgage, so we are able to make much faster headway on the principal.

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  32. Ross

    Up, and by a lot. Expenses have risen (we are paying for child care/preschool for two little ones) but income is up enormously.

    Next year, things are going to change. We’re moving from LA to Seattle in the spring/summer and the changes are legion:

    No 10% income tax! Yay!
    I’ll probably get a 2-3% pay cut on the move to Seattle, but I’m expecting a promotion in March, so the net is probably positive.
    Housing is ~75% of our current costs if we rent/buy a house in Shoreline/Lake Forest Park.
    Wife does not have a job (yet). We want a third (and possibly fourth) kid, and I’ve said that she can’t be working full time while pregnant or in the six months following birth. Working through the birth of kiddo #2 caused her serious health issues (burnout/severe insomnia/etc.) and we’re not making that mistake twice.
    Preschool is cheaper in Seattle.
    Kid #1 has one more year of preschool and is then off to kinder (countered by possibility of #3 getting warmed up once we settle into Seattle).

    I have a feeling we’ll still be saving a lot every year. For three years now, we’ve been packing away the money in our 401k’s and in two investment accounts and the sums are starting to feel pretty nice. On the investments, mostly waiting for the eurozone to play out and then jump into bargains that I see here and there.

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  33. Dirty Renter

    5 years ago, I was still recovering from Katrina, so there was only one way to go.
    I probably should have filed BK since I had expanded(took on debt in 2003 & 2004), but I didn’t, and paid off my loan just last month. I’m stupid that way.
    I enjoyed reading the stories about all your kids….it reminds me of the Elton John song ‘Sacrifice’…it’s no sacrifice, at all.

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