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Stretching Those Hard-Earned Dollars

By Steve Rensberry, Editor

A  community site site called “The Senior List” recently came out with a study listing Illinois as No. 20 on the list of Most Affordable States to live in. Those results were based partly on a the percentage of family expenses to incomes, and compared to the national average. According to the group, expenses take up 78.2 percent of income for Illinois residents — on average that is, compared to the national average of 81 percent. It would certainly be nice if we were No. 1, or in the Top 10, but it beats being at the very bottom.

According to the site — which focuses primarily on boomer and senior-age adults — the 10 most affordable states to live are Washington D.C., Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, Washington, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Mississippi. The least affordable state is South Dakota, they said, “where the average resident spends more per year than they take in, a ration of 100.9 percent.”

The South is the most affordable region, they said, averaging 77.2 percent of income that gets eaten up by expenses, while the Northeast is the most expensive, averaging 85.1 percent.  Data came from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, related to income and expenses.

The historical trend is depressing, with evidence showing that life today is definitely more expensive than it was three or four decades ago.

“The average American buying a home in the 1940s would spend the equivalent of about $45,000 in today’s dollars. “Education, consumer goods, healthcare — the costs of all of these have increased even in just the past decade,” they said.

What expenses monopolize consumer’s pocketbooks? The top three: housing, utilities, and healthcare — which make up nearly half. Next up: financial services and insurance, groceries, food services and accommodations, recreation, motor vehicles and parts, transportation services, and clothing and footwear. The full report is available here:

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