The Power of 3

From time to timimagese, we meet a number or percentage that, upon deeper inspection, tells an important story, or helps us understand the story behind the story.

Sixty-two is one such number/percentage. Yes, 62! The Big 6-2 seems about as mundane as can be, but it is surprisingly common in our society.

For starters, 62 is the year when we are first eligible to collect Social Security. And many of us take this option. Sometimes we do so by choice, and other times, we do so out of necessity.

The number 62 extends to the corporate world. Buying a company is difficult due to many factors, but aligning two corporate cultures remains particularly complicated. Apparently, that marriage doesn’t work 62 percent of the time.

Risk-taking entrepreneurs continue to be major job creators. They create 62 percent of all new jobs each year in the United States.

Those jobs help people buy homes. Our national homeownership rate is 62 percent.

Homeownership builds strong communities and a strong society. The housing bubble—and the subprime loans that fueled it—temporarily increased homeownership to 66 percent. After things settled down, however, the homeownership rate returned to 62 percent again.

Another headline number is our nation’s employment-to-population ratio. It peaked at 62 percent in the early 2000s.

Consider the following:

  • Today, the percentage of women and men between the ages of 18 to 64, working age, is 62 percent.
  • And roughly 62 percent of the total U.S. population does not participate in the paid labor force. (This broad population number includes children, retirees, and individuals who cannot work or cannot find work.)

We see the number 62 in the consumption sphere as well:

  • Employment generated by consumer spending accounts for 62 percent of total employment in the U.S. economy.
  • Consumer wages, on an after-tax basis, represent a wallet that accounts for 62 percent of our nation’s consumption horsepower—an impressive buying machine.

So there you have it, from consumption to homeownership to retirement, we Americans are apparently a predictable bunch across many dimensions!

Who knew!