July 13, 1849 (Friday)

Warm enough now in all conscience, the thermometer being near a 100˚.

To-day my salary was raised to five hundred dollars per annum.

Did not go out this evening.

Friday the thirteenth was lucky for Nathan.  He had discussed the possibility of a raise with Mr. Reeves on July 7, but was not sanguine.  The company came through but we don’t know the magnitude of the increase.

Adjusted for inflation, a $500 salary is approximately $15,000 today, but that does not seem indicative of Nathan’s buying power. A single person would be hard pressed to make ends meet in modern day Philadelphia on that salary (of course, we don’t know if Nathan had another source of income). According to MeasuringWorth.com, there are several ways of comparing historical dollars to our own times.  The most appropriate for this situation seems to be, not inflation, but Consumer Bundle, or, how far your money goes buying everyday items.  Using this measure, a $500, 1849 salary roughly equals $36,000 today.  For more information, see the MeasuringWorth website.

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