My, how things have changed since Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine got its start in 1947. Over the past six decades, we've witnessed quiet breakthroughs, giant technological advances and great tragedies. Click through our timeline to see some of the notable events and cultural markers that have helped shape the past 60 years.
The slide show begins to the right . . .
Compiled by Amy M. Pollak
TRUSTED PERSONAL FINANCE ADVICE IS BORN
W.M. Kiplinger had an idea to launch a consumer magazine designed to help Americans' manage their personal finances. The first issue came out two years after the end of World War II, as millions of former American servicemen and women were buying homes and starting families. The publication pioneered personal finance journalism, and 60 years later, still provides highly trusted, practical advice for generations of people.
Photo: Kiplinger Archives
THE BENCHMARK CHANGES FOR RETIREMENT BENEFITS
In 1950, employees' share of Social Security payroll taxes hit 1.5% on the first $3,000 of income. Today, the social security tax rate on employers is 6.2%.
Photo: Courtesy Social Security
A MEAL IN MINUTES?
It didn't take long for TV to change the way many Americans enjoyed their family dinnertime. As the 1950s got into full swing, Swanson introduced the first TV dinner consisting of turkey, cornbread dressing and gravy, buttered peas and sweet potatoes. Instead of table talk, many started eating their dinner on trays in front of the black-and-white screen.
Photo: Courtesy Swanson
THE GOLDEN ARCHES
Ray Kroc launched the first McDonald's franchise in Des Plaines, Ill., to whopping opening-day revenues of $366.12. Ronald McDonald, Happy Meals and the movie Super Size Me all came later.
Photo: Courtesy McDonald's
THE BABY BOOM PEAKS
Parents toted around their new babies, 4.3 million of them to be exact. Today, 76.1 million Americans born between 1947 and 1960 account for 28% of the U.S. population and have attained wealth and success far greater than previous generations.
THAT AWFUL DAY IN DALLAS
Camelot ended when Lee Harvey Oswald shot President John F. Kennedy, as the President was traveling in a Dallas motorcade. Today, millions of Americans still remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news, much as their parents remembered the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
Photo: John F. Kennedy Library & Museum
DOING THE MOON WALK
On July 20, Apollo 11 landed on the moon. Americans watched astronaut Neil Armstrong climb down a ladder and set his left foot on the lunar landscape, as he uttered the now-historic line: "One small step for man, and one giant leap for mankind." At the time, many Americans believed interplanetary space travel would be routine by 2001. How wrong they were.
Photo: Courtesy GRIN
MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN. THE WORLD COMES LATER Sesame Street got its start, leading to 4,000 episodes of the popular children's TV program that can still be seen to this day in multiple languages. Jim Henson's Muppets have taught three generations of children shapes, colors and math in more than 120 countries.
Photo: Courtesy Sesame Street
THE DAWN OF LATTE
The first Starbucks coffee shop opened in Seattle. Since then the chain has grown to more than 12,400 locations worldwide, and has taken a cup of java to a whole new level.
Photo: Courtesy Starbucks
BEHOLD THE MIRACLE OF INDEXING
Mutual fund legend John Bogle devised the first stock index fund, the Vanguard 500, and offered it to individual investors. Today, with more than $950 billion in total assets and more than 21 million shareholders, the Vanguard 500 index fund remains one of the world's largest index funds.
Photo: Courtesy Vanguard
LONG LIVE THE KING
Elvis Aaron Presley was found dead in Graceland, his home in Memphis, at the age of 42. Thirty years later, he is still one of the top-grossing celebrities of all time, and visiting Graceland has become a rite of passage for musicians and music fans.
THE PC IS BORN
IBM debuted the world's first desktop personal computer. It quickly became a success--even though there wasn't much consumers could do on it other than make bar graphs, calculate numbers and play primitive computer games. Nowadays, PCs are inexpensive, ubiquitous and connect to the World Wide Web. Seems like there's not much you can't do with one.
Photo: Courtesy IBM
VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO STAR
MTV, a station shown only on cable TV, began with nonstop music videos. News and entertainment programming for teenagers and young adults followed. Then came shows featuring real teens and college students in a format quickly dubbed "Reality TV." MTV has spawned sister stations, a film subsidiary and many imitators.
Photo: Courtesy MTV
CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?
Remember when you only had a land line rotary phone? Remember phone booths? Hard to imagine. The first cell phone debuted in 1983. Today the phones are much smaller, but come equipped with cameras, games, daily planners and Internet access. Some are so tiny you can wear them in your ear, looking to all the world like you're talking to yourself.
Photo: Courtesy Motorola
FOUR HOURS? CALL YOUR PHYSICIAN
With the rollout of Sildenafil Citrate, more commonly known as Viagra, the little blue pill instantly became a blockbuster drug, advertised incessantly on TV. It soon led to a raft of other treatments for erectile dysfunction--and more commercials.
Photo: Courtesy Pfizer
I'VE GOT ALGORITHM
Google began as a research project. Graduate students Larry Page and Sergey Brin wanted to create a better tool for finding information on the World Wide Web. Now Google is a multibillion-dollar search engine giant, and its name has become a verb in today's vocabulary.
THE LITTLE MUSIC PLAYER THAT COULD
Apple launched its iPod, which won instant acceptance and acclaim. The small portable music player has the capacity to hold up to 30,000 songs. And users are instantly recognized by the iPod's small white earphones.
Photo: Courtesy Apple
D-DAY FOR MEDICARE
On January 1, Medicare Part D went into effect to help subsidize seniors' prescription-drug costs. The program already has more than 38 million participants.
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