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Six-Figure Salaries Are No Big Deal Anymore

Published March 2, 2019 by Paradise Kendra
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Six-Figure Salaries Are No Big Deal Anymore

One hundred thousand dollars. Since the 1980s, the magical “six-figure” salary has been a benchmark for financial success. Not too long ago, that income often meant two nice cars in the garage of a large house, fun family vacations and plenty of money left over to save for retirement and college tuition.

But times have changed.


Not only has standard inflation steadily eroded the real value of a $100,000 income, but the costs of housing, health insurance and college tuition have risen dramatically in recent years. Consider the rising costs of food, energy and the necessities of a middle class life, and that six-figure luxury quickly turns to six-figure mediocrity.

Less than 20 percent of American households even break the six figures. But many who earn incomes near the mark find that their prized incomes don’t take them as far as the hype. Many say that while breaking the $100,000 annual income mark may still be an impressive milestone, it doesn’t exactly roll out the red carpet.

Costs eat away at benchmark
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 6.03 percent of individuals over 18 and only 19.9 percent of households had incomes of $100,000 or more in 2010. In fact, the median annual household income for 2010 was $50,046, just more than half of the six-figure benchmark. The overwhelming majority of Americans still look up to a $100,000 income, but the expectations of what comes with that income are rapidly slumping.

According to Labor Department statistics, the average inflation rate for 2011 was the worst since 2008, with consumer prices rising 3.1 percent, compared to an average of 1.6 percent in 2010. Much of this was fueled by energy costs (up 15.2 percent for the year) and food costs (up 3.7 percent for the year). Just to keep up with standard inflation, a $100,000 salary in 1990 would have to be $172,103.29 in 2011.

“What would have cost you $100,000 in 1976 would cost you $381,000 today. That’s just the inflation, and there are so many other things that have grown very expensive,” says Mari Adam, Certified Financial Planner and president of Adam Financial Associates in Boca Raton, Fla.

Adam points to health care as a major expense that has grown almost twice the rate of inflation. The Kaiser Family Foundation, which tracks the costs of health insurance, found in 2011 that insurance costs had increased by a whopping 134 percent since 2000. The total cost of health insurance now averages $5,429 per year for individuals and $15,079 for families. Adam says college costs have also grown tremendously in recent years. According to the College Board’s annual “Trends in College Pricing” report from last year, published tuitions at four-year public universities are up 42 percent in five years, the largest increase of any five-year period since the 2007-09 school year.

“These are things that everyone spent money on 30 years ago, but the percentage of what was going out of their paycheck is a lot higher now. More of the income is being taken away to pay for a lot of these things,” says Adam.

The cost of housing has also played a major role in diminishing the power of a six-figure income. In many parts of the country, housing prices have outpaced wage growth for almost a decade. The Housing Affordability Index, which compares the cost of housing against median family income, dropped considerably between 2000 and 2007. In 2000, the median family income was $50,732, and the median home price was $139,000. While median income grew to $60,831 in 2011, median home prices skyrocketed to $229,299 in 2007 before leveling off at $166,200 in 2011. In those 11 years, median home prices had risen 19.6 percent while median incomes had risen 16.6 percent.

“Without a doubt, the housing situation is the biggest thing that eats into our income,” says Brian Neale, an investment manager from Westminster, Md.

Money doesn’t go far
Neale, 33, says he surpassed the $100,000 mark last year but says that between mortgage payments, the high price of heating fuel, gas, food and everyday items in life, his salary doesn’t go as far as he thought it would. Neale is married with three children and says that his extracurricular real estate and investment activities help them buy the extras in life.

“Now that I’ve made (a $100,000 salary), it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. We make sacrifices. It’s not like I tell my kids we’re going to have to eat peanut butter and jelly every night. We live well, but I wouldn’t consider it anything extravagant,” says Neale.

Many now consider $250,000 the new $100,000 income. Adam says that level of income is typically required to provide what many have before expected of a six-figure salary. Adam also points to other expenses that are not necessities but are considered part of a middle class lifestyle — things like cellphones, high-speed Internet access, vacations, karate lessons, iPods, laptops and digital cameras.

“What you might think people deserve for a person that has a reasonable income is excessively high. Add in all the other expenses, and there just isn’t anything left and that’s part of the reason why a $100,000 income isn’t going that far,” says Adam.

Geography and lifestyle factors
With the cost of housing typically the largest expense for a family, location is one of the most important factors in dictating the power of a $100,000 income. While that level may not go far on the coasts, it may still provide a fairly comfortable lifestyle in much of Middle America. Jeff Eschman of Brazos Financial Advisors in Houston, says that in much of that state, $100,000 income earners can enjoy very comfortable lifestyles.

“I don’t see many families who are at the $100,000 income level currently making a lot of sacrifices. Families at that income level should be able to afford a very nice lifestyle in this area,” says Eschman.

In cities like San Francisco; New York City’s Manhattan neighborhood; Los Angeles; San Jose, Calif.; and Washington, D.C., the cost of housing alone can take a major bite out of a $100,000 income.

The Council for Community and Economic Research’s Cost of Living Index, which compares typical family and individual expenses across hundreds of cities, shows that. According to the Index, for 2012 Q1, a typical family earning $100,000 per year would need to earn around $228,300 in New York City and $166,500 in San Francisco to maintain that same lifestyle.

In low-cost areas, Eschman says that people at that income level tend to run into financial problems when their lifestyle outpaces their income. While this is a problem for many Americans in all income levels, top figure earners are not immune from it. Adam says she has even seen people with incomes of up to $300,000 having trouble covering their expenses.

Choice is yours
Bryce Danley, a Certified Financial Planner and advanced financial adviser with Ameriprise Financial, says the real power of any income is all about perspective and choices. He says buying too much house, spending too much on automobiles and having too much debt is commonplace with families in the $100,000 income level and largely responsible for the six-figure pinch. In one example Danley uses a household that earns $100,000 a year, owns a $375,000 home, leases 2 vehicles for $450 each per month and pays $250 per month on credit cards. After that household pays the mortgage, car notes, debt and takes out Social Security and federal income taxes, it has spent 75 percent of its  income.

“This is a very typical situation for someone in that income range. And we wonder why average Americans don’t save any money — it’s because of the decisions they made in housing, cars and debt,” says Danley.

While the real power of a $100,000 income has been drastically diminished, it highlights that the burden of increasing costs on those making less is even more profound. Danley says that regardless of income level, Americans’ penchant for debt, consumerism and outspending themselves is what ultimately causes financial disappointment or stress.

“There is still only a small percentage of people making this income. It points out that for your average person in your average job, this is becoming an increasingly hard country to live in,” says Adam.

– By Craig Guillot, Bankrate.com

via http://www.thewealthadvisor.com/article/six-figure-salaries-are-no-big-deal-anymore

Why DVD Netflix Is Better Than Netflix Streaming

Published May 31, 2018 by Paradise Kendra

DVD Netflix vs. Netflix Streaming

 

I am a longtime member of Netflix.  I love it.  I can’t imagine my life without it.  But I have noticed over the past few years that Netflix Streaming lacks many of the quality features that DVD Netflix offers.

Allow me to elaborate.

Streaming is easy.
Streaming is convenient.

Streaming what you need first thing in the morning before you’ve had a cup of coffee and you just want to turn on your favorite show or movie, commercial free, hassle free. No fussing through channels or with your DVD player.

I am as lazy as the next person. I love the instant access of Netflix Streaming.  However, there are copyright issues with any streaming service that a DVD service does not have to put up with.  ‘Streaming’, according to the film studios, is the equivalent of ownership, whereas DVD renting is equivalent to well … renting.

Most studios will pretty much always permit and encourage DVD renting, but they will not allow continuous streaming of the majority of their content. In fact, they hold on tightest to their highest quality films and television shows, allowing streaming services to host their ‘bottom of the barrel’ content – the content that the majority of the population will not seek out in other formats (DVDs, digital purchases, etc.).  The studios maintain a very firm grip on their most valuable content, as well they should.

The content rights of most television and films are exclusive to the studio that produced them and not the property of Netflix.  The streaming rights are not available for Netflix (or Hulu or Amazon) to purchase from the content provider.

All streaming shows and films are done on a six-month lease. The likelihood of streaming renewals is entirely dependent on the content’s availability, copyrights, and the studio’s relationship with Netflix. Every six months the studios decide whether to renew their lease with Netflix (and all other streaming services) or to cancel it.  You have probably noticed that many of your favorite shows that were once streaming, suddenly are no longer available.  Streaming drastically limits the content available to you and for a legitimate reason.  There is no way around this for the foreseeable future.

However, since the Netflix company was solely a DVD company for many years, there is no good reason that the features that DVD Netflix provides shouldn’t also be available to the newer spin-off that is Netflix streaming.


Netflix Streaming’s Homepage

There is no option for removing or reorganizing your categories with Netflix Streaming. Think about that for a minute. If you were browsing in a video store, you would have the liberty to choose which movies you looked at and which ones you didn’t. If you wanted to skip the horror section, for example, you would have the option to do so. Why doesn’t Netflix also provide this option?

DVD Netflix’s Homepage

Netflix Streaming is a fully based web service, so it would make sense that their website’s easy-to-use features should be on par to DVD Netfix’s website features. Yet look at how superior DVD Netflix’s homepage layout is in comparison to Netflix Streaming homepage (scroll up to previous image to view). With DVD Netflix, everything you need is right under the browse button. Simple, easy, convenient.

The ‘Not Interested’ Feature

DVD Netflix offers a “not interested” button that removes a film from repeatedly appearing in your search results. DVD Netflix also keeps a record of all the films that you have hidden and you may view them at any point.  You may also undo the “not interested” feature so that the film will reappear in your search results.  There is no equivalent feature on Netflix Streaming.

DVD Netflix Keeps an Easily Accessible List of All Your Hidden Films

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Available Movies on DVD Netflix vs. Netflix Streaming

The arrows represent the films available on DVD Netflix that are also on Netflix streaming. If there are two films per page on DVD Netflix that are also streaming, that’s a miracle.  It’s more likely that there will be 0-1 films per page on DVD Netflix that are also streaming.  The amount of films unavailable on streaming is enormous.  With 3087 ratings and 43 pages of films, you can imagine how many of my personal favorites are not available on streaming.

Taste Preference Options on DVD Netflix


DVD Netflix is a more full-fledged service, offering you a more thorough user friendly interface. There is no guilt technology, such as the dreaded “Are You Still Watching” pop-ups that interrupt the viewing experience.  For every two episodes that I watch on Netflix streaming before my program is paused and I am asked to confirm that I’m still watching, I may watch 6 episodes uninterrupted per DVD.

That’s a big difference in the amount of times I have to push a button to be able to watch more. Over time, the “Are You Still Watching” feature becomes more and more frustrating and intrusive. Eventually, I’m fed up.

What is this, a communist plot to get me to reduce my television watching?!

 

I’ve been a member of Netflix since 1999.  I have been a member long before I was able to pay for it with my own credit card, before there was a Netflix Streaming or Netflix Originals. I have loved the company and I am loyal to it.  But if it came down to having DVD Netflix or Netflix Streaming, my choice would be easy.

I would give up Netflix Streaming.  It’s the classic ‘style versus substance’ argument, and when it comes to my films and television shows, substance wins.

~Paradise


Bibliography and Credits


How to Convert Copy-Protected VHS Tapes to DVD

Published September 5, 2017 by Paradise Kendra

If you own a personal computer, you can easily converted copy-protected VHS tapes to DVD. Copy protections does not allow you to dub from one tape to another. However, there is not problem if you want to transfer a copy-protected VHS tape to your personal computer. All you have to do is to attach the VHS player to your PC, capture the VHS video to your computer and then write it onto a blank DVD. For this purpose, scores of apps are available on the Internet. Several types of VHS conversion and CD burning software can be downloaded off the Internet within minutes. Following is an easy to follow technique in order to carry out VHS transfer to DVD.

First of all, you have to put the VHS tape you want to convert into the VCR and push the rewind button to rewind it.

To connect the VCR to your computer, you will need the required video cables. You will need to buy an RCA to USB cord. These cables can be bought at any electronic store in your vicinity. Once you have got the cable, you need to connect the RCA jacks to your VCR, while the USB end to the PC.

 

Next, hold the RCA end of the cable and connect it to audio/video ports of the VCR. The color of these jacks and ports can be yellow for video, red for audio and white for audio. Now, make sure you connect the same color jack to the same color port on your VCR.

Connect the USB head of the RCA cable to the available USB port of your personal computer.

Before your move to the next step, you net to double check each connection to make sure the cables are connected right and that there is no problem with the VCR and the computer. Both devices should work properly.

Next, launch a popular media player app that comes with Windows OS known as Windows media player. To open this app, go to Start Menu, then Program Files and click on Windows Media Player in the menu.

Now, you need to push “CTRL” and “R” buttons on the computer keyboard simultaneously in order to open up the “Import Video” window. This window will show the VCR output. In order to start recording, you should push “Capture” and then press “Play” button visible on the VCR. Once you press these buttons, the media player will start capturing the video to your computer.

Now, you need to have patient and wait for a while to let the whole footage on the VHS cassette finished playing. Now, push the “Stop” button on the WMP. This app will start encoding the footage and you can access the captured video in the bin called “Imported Media”.

Now, browse the “Imported Media” bin and import the captured video from this bin to the “Timeline”. This is located at the end of the window.

 

Get a blank DVD and put it into the DVD burner of your computer. Start the DVD burning app and import the recorded video and then press the “Burn” button to burn the files onto the DVD-R. Take out the DVD when the burning process completes.

Source: How to Convert Copy-Protected VHS Tapes to DVD

How to Write a Romantic Love Letter

Published August 18, 2017 by Paradise Kendra

Writing a love letter can be a romantic gesture that’ll be greatly appreciated by your significant other. It’ll take a little bit of time but shouldn’t be difficult if you know your significant other well. There are many ways to write the letter; the following is an example of one of the most straight forward methods where you just write about the past, present, and future.

1. The Opening

Start out by addressing your partner.
e.g. To My Dearest Susan or My Darling Robert
If you want, you can write about why you’re writing the love letter.
e.g. We’ve been together for 4 years now and I’m writing to let you know how much you mean to me.

2. The Past

Write about a significant moment about the past. This can be almost anything, such as when you first realized that you loved him/her, the first time you kissed, the first time you met, etc…
e.g. When I first met you, I knew that there was something very special about you. Your kind heart really drew me to you; you were not only nice to me but to everyone that you came into contact with.

3. The Present

Write about everyday things that he/she does that you love/admire or qualities that you admire. Be sure to include examples of these things.
e.g. I really admire how thoughtful you are, it is one of the qualities that really drew me to you. No matter how tough of a day you’ve had, you always take the time to ask me how I am doing before you shift the focus onto yourself. Your thoughtfulness has rubbed off onto me and I have become a more thoughtful person myself because of your example.

4. The Future

Write about what your hopes, plans, expectations, dreams, etc are with that person.
e.g. Now that we’re engaged to be married, I’m excited about spending the rest of my life with you. I’m really looking forward to our wedding day, when you’ll become my wife. I can totally see us moving into a cozy house by the country with two kids of our own in a few short years.

5. Closing

Close the letter with a complimentary close, such as “Love always”, “Yours truly”, etc, then sign your name.
e.g. Love always,
Jim

Tips

    • Handwrite the letter if possible, it’ll add a more romantic and personal touch to it.
    • Don’t be afraid to be open with your letter, let your emotions flow out of you.
    • Be sure to proofread your letter so that it flows well and is free of grammatical errors.

Sample Letter

To My Dearest Susan,

We’ve been together for 4 years now and I’m writing to let you know how much you mean to me. When I first met you, I knew that there was something very special about you. Your kind heart really drew me to you; you were not only nice to me but to everyone that you came into contact with.

I really admire how thoughtful you are, it is one of the qualities that really drew me to you. No matter how tough of a day you’ve had, you always take the time to ask me how I am doing before you shift the focus onto yourself. Your thoughtfulness has rubbed off onto me and I have become a more thoughtful person myself because of your example.

Now that we’re engaged to be married, I’m excited about spending the rest of my life with you. I’m really looking forward to our wedding day, when you’ll become my wife. I can totally see us moving into a cozy house by the country with two kids of our own in a few short years.

Love always,

Jim

Via http://www.romanticlovemessages.com/cat/howtowritealoveletter.htm

Love and revolution,
Paradise Kendra