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Are you better off than you were four years ago?

Displaying poll results.
Yes, dramatically better.
  6588 votes / 21%
Better off, Yes -- reasonably, but not dramatically.
  8666 votes / 28%
Better off, but barely.
  2526 votes / 8%
Hard to say; sort of a wash.
  4459 votes / 14%
Worse off, actually, by a smidge.
  1527 votes / 5%
Moderately worse off.
  2702 votes / 8%
I'm dramatically worse off now.
  2450 votes / 8%
I will tell you below why this question is absurd.
  1348 votes / 4%
30266 total votes.
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  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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Are you better off than you were four years ago?

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  • Way better! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by talexb (223672) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @12:40PM (#41539743) Homepage Journal

    Four years ago I was working at a place I thought was fantastic, and was happily married. My older step-son was working his way through second-year university, still needing some assistance from me. But Fate had some bad s*** in store for me.

    Today, I am very happily separated, sole owner of my house (yeah, with the bank), and have an awesome girlfriend (and two more sorta-step-kids). And I'm working on contract at place that has its challenges, but is a much more comfortable situation then living in a Watership Down type of company. And older step-son graduated from engineering (with a B+ average!!!), got his iron ring, and just celebrated his first anniversary at a permanent job.

    Thanks for asking. Life is good. :)

  • Canned years ago.... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @12:44PM (#41539805)

    I got canned years ago. I then went and got another degree - MBA - yeah, yeah. yeah; but the thing is, at the end of my last job, I was training my "more qualified" H1-b replacement on what those asterisks mean in the C code and the concept of pointers. But I'm an American and unqualified.

    So I mistakenly thought, "what do engineers do when they want to get out of engineering? Go into management!" So, off to school, knocked off an MBA (lots of mindless busy work with a team - everything is done in teams) and voila! Nothing except tens of thousands of dollars in student loans that I have no way of getting rid of.

    Education is supposed to be good, right?

    Try as I might, another tech job is forever lost - been out of the field for too long and I'm well over 40 years of age.

    All my 401Ks are long gone to pay the bills and it kills me because if I were able to keep them, I'd have a nice nest egg - not rich, but I wouldn't have to eat cat food.

    Start a business you say? Been there, done that - three times. Even in good times it's hard but when everyone is afraid of spending money because of uncertainty - forget it!

    And by uncertainty, I don't mean who's going to be President in 2013. It doesn't matter contrary to what you hear in ALL of the electronic media. It's the uncertainty.

    Lastly, the worst thing that could happen is if Bernanke is canned as Fed Chairman in 2015. His PhD dissertation was on monetary policy during the Great Depression and he's doing his damnedest not to make the same mistakes the Fed made back then - in spite of the Republican's insistence on austerity measures. Maybe we NEED another terrorist attack so that the Reps will allow Bernanke to do his thing without the BS because when there's a terrorist attack, the Republicans have no problem opening up the coffers -see 2002 - 2008 and the budget deficit - the Reps CONTROLLED BOTH the Whitehouse AND Congress and went completely APESHIT with the spending, bailed out the Wall Street assholes, and they are now blaming Obama - just saying.

    Don't get me started on the Democrats during the 1970s.

    Now, I'm going to pace around the house, mumbling "bullshit", "bullshit", "bullshit", "bullshit" .....

  • Absurd (Score:4, Interesting)

    by orgelspieler (865795) <> on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @12:50PM (#41539903) Journal
    My net worth and family income are down by tens of thousands of dollars. But I'm better off. My in-laws moved to town (yes, this is positive; I have the most kick-ass in-laws in the world). I had my second kid. My son got interested in Lego. I moved to a new home closer to work and nature. I've had four all-expense paid trips to Hawai'i. I've written some music, read a few books, built some furniture, watched some interesting TV, lost 20 pounds, learned some cool stuff, met some neat people. Plus my wife's gotten really good at cooking. The list could go on. Yeah some shitty things have happened. Yeah, I've lost some good friends and family members. But life is what you make of it.
  • Re:A big Yes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TWX (665546) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @03:13PM (#41541623)
    We've both changed within our respective companies. I moved up and over for more pay and better coworkers, and she moved over to get a good change. We also bought a much bigger home in a better local city at the trough of the market and sold the old house only recently when it had increased in value 50% more, with good tenants in there for the year in between, and I just found a seventeen year old car that I've wanted since I was a teenager with only 6,400 miles on it. Her retirement portfolio also has recovered to pre-recession levels.

    We've constantly lived below our means. That's why, when the housing market and economy tanked, we could afford to buy a house that was three times the size of the old one. Had we been living at our means we'd have been screwed.

    Prudence and luck are what got us here.
  • by screwzloos (1942336) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @03:36PM (#41541895)
    Four years ago I was single, broke, underweight, depressed, living in the dorms, bored with and failing my classes, and had racked up thirty grand in student loan debt that I didn't know how to pay off. I played World of Warcraft to get through the day.

    This year I am still single, still broke, still underweight, still depressed, sharing an overcrowded house, bored with my job, on house arrest for year for a car accident, and I owe a hundred grand in restitution that I don't know how to pay off. I play World of Warcraft to get through the day.

    I don't see things improving anytime soon. I'll probably pick up drinking again once I am off of house arrest.
  • Better... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by khr (708262) <> on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @03:50PM (#41542029) Homepage

    I feel like I'm much better off... Sure I downsized homes, from a 2,300 square foot apartment with household servants to a 350 square foot one. But it's the location, from Pune, India to Midtown Manhattan...

    I've got a job that pays well enough to live in the heart of New York City instead of halfway around the world, and I'm a lot healthier and getting laid more than I was during most of my stay in India.

    And I'm sure, more improvement to come!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @06:21PM (#41543645)

    I'm finally allowed to buy health insurance (at any price), via Oregon's state-administered "high-risk pool". This was part of the Obama administration's health care reform package. The cost of the policy? A whopping $20 more than the lowest-priced no-mental-health, no-office-visit, deny-all-your-claims commercial option.

    Yes, you read that right. I live in a supposed first-world country, make $85k per year as a damn-reasonable software engineer, and the biggest improvement in a year is that I now have access to basic health care services.

    Hopefully this is a first stop on the way to total extinction of the health insurance industry. It's a large-scale humanitarian disaster.

  • Definately worse (Score:4, Interesting)

    by erice (13380) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @06:53PM (#41543937) Homepage

    Four years ago, I had an inspiring full time job with a company that seemed to be going somewhere.

    Unfortunately, where the company actually went is into the dust bin.

    Since that time, I've been a lot of time unemployed in large part because few hardware startups (which are my bread and butter) are getting funded.

    A short term gig with a crappy company abruptly ended today. It was somewhat longer and the company less crappy than the gig that I ended a few months earlier.

  • by hutsell (1228828) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @07:38PM (#41544363) Homepage

    Aahh ... I think see what you did there -- an informal (and a demographically inaccurate) polling to determine the outcome of this year's Presidential race -- the assumption based on the classic knee-jerk voting scenario: If I'm better off than 4 years ago, my vote is for the incumbent; if I'm worse off, then my vote should be for his opponent.

  • by SuperCharlie (1068072) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @10:17PM (#41545261)
    4 years ago I was a senior tech at a University, My wife was a University Webmaster. While not rolling in it, we bumped $100k/yr or so, did the suburbia thing, 2 cars with notes, debt up to our eyeballs, a monthly budget of bills and whatnot around $5k and pretty much blew the rest on crap... living the typical American dream.

    Then, we simply walked away. Simply put in our notices and said screw this mess. Dont get me wrong.. this isnt an indictment of those who live this life, it is that *we* decided not to live our lives spending 5/7th of it doing other peoples bidding, waking up to an alarm clock, living for the weekends, yada yada.

    We took our money, paid our debts, started a very very small web biz, bought some land, bought some tools, built a small house and crazily, live with no debt, off the grid, with a monthly budget and income that puts us squarely under the poverty line.

    We wake up when we damn well please, we work on our biz when we want, we wander around exploring when we want, we go fishing on Tuesday afternoons if we want, we laugh regularly when we ask each other what day it is... (ok I know hump day because of the Chive).

    So.. better off? well... I like it better. So I guess the answer for me is yes, Im poor as a hell of a lot happier.

    FWIW.. tomorrow is wood stove install day.. Im totally jazzed that we scraped up $500 for the stove and pipe and tomorrow I will be installing our winter heating, fired up by wood I cut last spring FTW :)
  • by level_headed_midwest (888889) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @04:06PM (#41552623)

    There is actually a good amount of truth in that "tired fallacy." If you are a runner running a race, nothing I can do will help you run faster as only you can make yourself do that. But I can sure make you run slower if I whack you in the kneecap with a crowbar. Government is pretty much the same way.

How come financial advisors never seem to be as wealthy as they claim they'll make you?


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