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I would like to compare my annual salary increases to some "real world purchasing power" metric to see if I am meeting, exceeding, or falling behind on how far my money goes each year. What number should I look at for this calculation? Is Consumer Price Index sufficient?

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Assuming you're in the US, you can also access CPI for major cities / regions. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publishes a PDF each month with details on how prices of services, food, and other goods has increased or decreased: http://www.bls.gov/cpi/tables.htm

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You can compare your salary increases to the CPI in your county to ensure your pay is at least keeping up with the increase in goods and services in your country.

You can also compare your salary with the average wage growth in your country.

But you also want to make sure that any savings or investments you may have are also keeping up with, or even better, beating CPI. This will make sure that your savings/ investments are growing in real terms.

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