Bob Bestler | 73 years later, world is a better place, right?

01/18/2013 10:40 AM

01/18/2013 10:00 PM

I turned another birthday this week and my financial advisor celebrated by sending me highlights for Tuesday, Jan. 16, 1940. My day.

I keep forgetting how long I've been around and how much has changed since I checked in on a freezing cold Minneapolis night.

Hitler, for instance, was just getting started. Pearl Harbor was just another military base.

It's especially difficult keeping up with all that's happened in the last 73 years since, in my mind, I'm only 16.

Some things seem a bit upside-down by today's standards.

Gas was 18 cents a gallon, while milk was 51 cents a gallon. Given today's gas price of around $3 means a gallon of milk should be almost $900 today. Using the same yardstick, a dozen eggs, 59 cents then, would be about $1,000 now.

It shows, I suppose, how many million more people in the world now have cars and need gas. Milk and eggs? Not so much.

The average cost of a home was $6,558, approximately the cost of a used pop-up camper today.

You could be put in a swell showroom-ready car for just $810 -- any color, I guess, as long as it was black. GPS would be installed later

The Dow Jones Average was 131 and slowly climbing out of the hole caused by the '29 crash, when it fell from a high of 381 to a low of 42, a drop of about 340 points.

These days, a 340-point drop is depressing, but hardly any of us leap out of a Wall Street window. And 131 points either way is a relatively routine day for the Dow.

The minimum wage was 30 cents an hour, which is about what the average server in the average American restuarant is still paid. (Always remember to tip.)

Average annual income was $1,906, or about $160 a month or $36 a week.

Well, children, we've come a long way in 73 years, haven't we?

Haven't we?

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