100 000 In 1987 Worth Today

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100,000 in 1987: What’s It Worth Today?

Picture this: It’s 1987, and you’ve just inherited a hefty sum of $100,000. You’re filled with excitement and start daydreaming about all the possibilities. But fast forward to today, 35 years later, and that same amount may not carry the same weight as it did back then. Inflation, economic fluctuations, and changing lifestyles have all played a role in altering the purchasing power of money over time. So, let’s embark on a journey to explore what $100,000 in 1987 is worth today.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Inflation Calculator, $100,000 in 1987 is equivalent to approximately $263,246.08 in today’s dollars, assuming an average inflation rate of 2.98% per year. This increase of over 2.5 times reflects the rise in the cost of goods and services over the past three decades.

The Impact of Inflation

Inflation, a relentless force in economics, has a significant impact on the value of money. It refers to the ongoing increase in the prices of goods and services, resulting in a decrease in the purchasing power of each monetary unit. Over time, as inflation accumulates, the same amount of money can buy fewer goods and services. This phenomenon is what has caused $100,000 in 1987 to be worth less in today’s market.

The inflation rate is a crucial indicator, measured by tracking the prices of a basket of essential goods and services. It provides an insight into the overall health of an economy and affects various aspects of our lives, including personal finances, business decisions, and government policies. By understanding inflation and its effects, we can better prepare for the changing value of money over time.

Purchasing Power in Perspective

To put the purchasing power of $100,000 in 1987 into perspective, let’s compare some key expenses and investments.

  • Median Home Price: In 1987, the median home price in the United States was around $74,000. With $100,000, you could comfortably purchase a home and have a substantial down payment.
  • College Tuition: The average cost of tuition and fees at a four-year public college was around $2,680 per year, or $10,720 for the entire undergraduate program. With $100,000, you could cover the entire cost of tuition and still have a significant amount left over.
  • Investing: If you had invested $100,000 in the S&P 500 index in 1987, your investment would have grown to over $3 million today.

However, with today’s $263,246.08, the purchasing power is quite different:

  • Median Home Price: The median home price in the United States is now around $375,300. While you could still afford a home, the options would be more limited, and a larger mortgage may be necessary.
  • College Tuition: The average cost of tuition and fees at a four-year public college is now around $9,410 per year, over three times higher than in 1987. The cost of higher education has outpaced inflation, making it more challenging to afford on a college student’s budget.
  • Investing: If you invest $263,246.08 in the S&P 500 index today, the potential return over the next 35 years is uncertain, but it is unlikely to match the historical growth experienced since 1987.

Tips for Preserving Purchasing Power

Recognizing the effects of inflation is crucial for preserving the purchasing power of our earnings and savings. Here are a few tips:

  • Invest Wisely: Seek investments that have the potential to outpace inflation over the long term, such as stocks, bonds, and real estate.
  • Save Regularly: Consistent saving is essential, especially for retirement and other long-term financial goals.
  • Consider Inflation-Adjusted Investments: Certain investments, such as inflation-indexed bonds, provide protection against rising prices.
  • Negotiate Salary Adjustments: Request salary increases that keep pace with inflation to maintain your purchasing power.
  • Be Smart About Spending: Make informed spending decisions, prioritize essential expenses, and avoid unnecessary purchases.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will $100,000 in 1987 be worth more or less in the future?

The future value of $100,000 in 1987 depends on the rate of inflation, which is unpredictable. However, assuming an average inflation rate of 2.98%, it would be worth approximately $263,246.08 in today’s dollars, and the purchasing power of $100,000 would likely continue to decrease over time due to inflation.

2. How can I calculate the purchasing power of money over time?

There are online inflation calculators available, such as the one provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which allow you to calculate the purchasing power of money over time. These calculators take into account historical inflation rates to determine the equivalent value of money in different periods.


Understanding the impact of inflation on the purchasing power of money is crucial for making informed financial decisions and planning for the future. By being mindful of the changing value of money and taking proactive steps to preserve purchasing power, we can better secure our financial well-being in the face of rising prices.

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