"We risk becoming the best informed society that has ever died of ignorance"
- Rubén Blades

"You can't make up anything anymore. The world itself is a satire. All you're doing is recording it"
- Art Buchwald

"It's getting exciting now, two and one-half. Think of everything we've accomplished, man. Out these windows, we will view the collapse of financial history. One step closer to economic equilibrium"
- Tyler Durden

"It is your corrupt we claim. It is your evil that will be sought by us. With every breath, we shall hunt them down."
- Boondock Saints

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What It Means To Be "Normal"

In light of a release from The Heritage Foundation that dove into what poverty really means in America, here lets take a short look at what it means to be normal in America, and finish up with a bizarre way to appreciate not being normal or in the mean part of the Normal Distribution.

"Act normal".  "That is not how average people behave".  "It's normal to feel that way".  We've all heard this at some point and most likely for the worldwide audience of CC, the generalized and difficult pinpoint characterizations make you cringe.  Most people know and accept they are not "normal".  Many of us may not belong to that social box thinking but a large portion of the American population does (check any YouTube video comments and see how many people check to make sure the song they "like" is "like(d)" by others.  Many of us woke up a long time ago to how the world works, outside of that spoon feed children's school hogwash.  Here I present an analysis what it means to be normal or average in America, in regards to savings, income, and credit cards, for the purposes of provoking  thought and possibly further analysis by CC readers.

Personal Savings Rate:  The black line represents the US leaving the Gold Standard (8/15/1971).  The green area represents the time period of the highest interest rates on US Government bonds (which are shown on graph 2).  Let’s hope many of us are able to maintain our substantial spreads over the Average Joe’s saving rate.
Personal Savings Rate

Treasury Rates

Average credit card debt = $14,687 on mean income of $66,499 (Chart A).    Current mean income is the largest reported and didn't included K-gains from 2008 or 2009 (see here).  According to CreditCards.com 22% of the average persons income is debt.  Chart B is from BLS showing mean income to be $44,410, which brings the debt to income percentage to 33%.   The average new card APR is 14.91% and the average new card as of May 2011 APR is 13.10%.  Still shooting to be "normal".  My APR is 0.0%.  The New York Times table below is sourced with a link.  That link takes you to their page which offers that image in an interactive format. 
Chart A - Credit Cards - Highlighted Averages
Source: CreditCards.com

Chart B – BLS – Occupational Employment Statistics
NY Times Table
Source: NY Times
A final thought, the Census states that the 2010 population was about 308 Mn people and that roughly 50.7% were female.  If we averaged the number of females and males to find how many boobs and how many “3rd legs” each person has, the math would look like this….
AVG Person

Heritage Foundation Poverty PDF