The Money Mustache Community

Around the Internet => Antimustachian Wall of Shame and Comedy => Topic started by: Lkxe on January 29, 2015, 02:06:01 PM

Title: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: Lkxe on January 29, 2015, 02:06:01 PM
So short and sweet
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/why-you-won-t-retire-early-150043644.html
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: Megatron on January 29, 2015, 02:38:33 PM
90+ k for average 401k?
pretty surprising. I was expecting it to be lower
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: MrsPete on January 29, 2015, 02:40:32 PM
Well, he's not wrong when he says that the typical American isn't saving enough for retirement, so -- for the average American -- this is correct information.  Well, okay, maybe it could be better worded:  You could retire early, but you're not making the choices necessary to support that possibility. 

He is wrong, however, when he says "we're all living to be 90".   
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: v10viperbox on January 29, 2015, 03:18:24 PM
Median average in the united states is 24K. This is across ages 18-65. There are a high earners and savers who skew the numbers up.

90K is the average, not median, across people who have a 40K account and company support and have been in the market longer then 10 years I believe.
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: johnny847 on January 29, 2015, 03:21:56 PM
Median average in the united states is 24K.
What does that even mean? Median average?
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: slugline on January 29, 2015, 03:37:15 PM
What does that even mean? Median average?

What is the difference between average, mean, median, and mode?
http://dictionary.reference.com/help/faq/language/d72.html

There's more than one way to express the concept of "average."
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: johnny847 on January 29, 2015, 03:54:32 PM
What does that even mean? Median average?

What is the difference between average, mean, median, and mode?
http://dictionary.reference.com/help/faq/language/d72.html

There's more than one way to express the concept of "average."
There are only two ways that I am aware of: mean and average.

Median is not an average.

There is no such thing as a median average. Which is why v10viperbox's use of such a term is just nonsense.
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: galliver on January 29, 2015, 04:09:02 PM
What does that even mean? Median average?

What is the difference between average, mean, median, and mode?
http://dictionary.reference.com/help/faq/language/d72.html

There's more than one way to express the concept of "average."
There are only two ways that I am aware of: mean and average.

Median is not an average.

There is no such thing as a median average. Which is why v10viperbox's use of such a term is just nonsense.

"Average" can mean any of the three, mean, median, or mode. It's usually used interchangeably with "mean," but actually that's ambiguous. v10viperbox's use of this term was perfectly understandable, in specifying the median type of average vs the other two.

Quote
average (noun): a number expressing the central or typical value in a set of data, in particular the mode, median, or (most commonly) the mean, which is calculated by dividing the sum of the values in the set by their number
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: johnny847 on January 29, 2015, 04:28:39 PM
What does that even mean? Median average?

What is the difference between average, mean, median, and mode?
http://dictionary.reference.com/help/faq/language/d72.html

There's more than one way to express the concept of "average."
There are only two ways that I am aware of: mean and average.

Median is not an average.

There is no such thing as a median average. Which is why v10viperbox's use of such a term is just nonsense.

"Average" can mean any of the three, mean, median, or mode. It's usually used interchangeably with "mean," but actually that's ambiguous. v10viperbox's use of this term was perfectly understandable, in specifying the median type of average vs the other two.

Quote
average (noun): a number expressing the central or typical value in a set of data, in particular the mode, median, or (most commonly) the mean, which is calculated by dividing the sum of the values in the set by their number
No it can not. That is absolutely wrong. Average only means arithmetic mean. If you don't believe me, look at the definition from dictionary.com: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/average?s=t (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/average?s=t)
There is no mention of median or mode anywhere.
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: neil on January 29, 2015, 04:35:35 PM
av·er·age
ˈav(ə)rij
noun
1.
a number expressing the central or typical value in a set of data, in particular the mode, median, or (most commonly) the mean, which is calculated by dividing the sum of the values in the set by their number.
"the housing prices there are twice the national average"
synonyms:   mean, median, mode; More


edit: I suppose you can argue whether or not Google is an appropriate reference for this definition.

Still, regardless of what a dictionary says, most human beings don't agree median is an average and language is something that is agreed upon by the masses and not what you think is right.
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: galliver on January 29, 2015, 05:01:23 PM
Quote
"Average" can mean any of the three, mean, median, or mode. It's usually used interchangeably with "mean," but actually that's ambiguous. v10viperbox's use of this term was perfectly understandable, in specifying the median type of average vs the other two.

Quote
average (noun): a number expressing the central or typical value in a set of data, in particular the mode, median, or (most commonly) the mean, which is calculated by dividing the sum of the values in the set by their number
No it can not. That is absolutely wrong. Average only means arithmetic mean. If you don't believe me, look at the definition from dictionary.com: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/average?s=t (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/average?s=t)
There is no mention of median or mode anywhere.

Definition 2: "a typical amount, rate, degree, etc.; norm."
Definiton 4: "Mathematics. a quantity intermediate to a set of quantities."

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/average (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/average)
Definition 1a: "A number that typifies a set of numbers of which it is a function."

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/average (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/average)
Definition 1a: "a single value (as a mean, mode, or median) that summarizes or represents the general significance of a set of unequal values"

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/average (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/average)
Noun 5: "(statistics) Any measure of central tendency, especially any mean, the median, or the mode."

http://www.wyzant.com/resources/lessons/math/statistics_and_probability/averages (http://www.wyzant.com/resources/lessons/math/statistics_and_probability/averages)
"In statistics, an average is defined as the number that measures the central tendency of a given set of numbers. There are a number of different averages including but not limited to: mean, median, mode and range."

Conclusion: No, it absolutely can.
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: galliver on January 29, 2015, 05:06:54 PM
Still, regardless of what a dictionary says, most human beings don't agree median is an average and language is something that is agreed upon by the masses and not what you think is right.

In this case, I believe we're running up against the same issue as with the term "fruit." Or "berry". There is a botanical (technical) definition of these words, and a colloquial (gastronomical) definition. In the case of "average" the colloquial limits the meaning to "mean" whereas the technical definition is more general and the type of average (mean, median, mode, or other) must be specified.

Nonetheless, I think in this discussion it is appropriate to use the technical definition, as we are talking about statistical analysis of US workers' 401k savings practices, and colloquial terminology won't get us very far.
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: h2ogal on January 29, 2015, 05:52:00 PM
You guys totally crack me up!!!

As we say at work, thats why we call them Financial ANALysts.
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: Hey It's Me on January 29, 2015, 05:53:49 PM
Median average in the united states is 24K.
What does that even mean? Median average?

Ba-dum-tss
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: skyrefuge on January 29, 2015, 08:06:01 PM
90+ k for average 401k?
pretty surprising. I was expecting it to be lower

For the record, that's a Fidelity report showing the average balance of 401(k)s held by Fidelity, not some government report of all 401(k)s.

It's interesting to compare to Vanguard (https://personal.vanguard.com/us/insights/article/401k-balances-062014).

- The average Vanguard 401(k) is $101,650 vs. Fidelity's $91,300 (and Vanguard's numbers are a year older than Fidelity's, so the gap is likely even larger now)
- But the average Vanguard 401(k) yearly contribution is only $8,327 vs. Fidelity's $9,670.

Could those four simple data points be the most-complete evidence ever of the superiority of Vanguard's low-cost approach? End up with more, even if you contribute less?

Maybe there are simple demographic reasons that explain the difference (perhaps Vanguard's clientele skews older), but it's more fun to assume that it's just Vanguard kickin' ass!

For further evidence of Vanguard's ass-kicking, they are nice enough to provide both the mean average AND the median average 401(k) balance. The median is $31,396, significantly lower than the mean, as expected.

And yeah, sorry johnny, you're gonna lose this one. "median average" is totally valid, and while not necessary ("median" would have sufficed) I appreciate the extra bit of language precision. Particularly since, as galliver points out, definitional precision is rather important to this particular discussion. Think about it, if "average" was sufficient to refer to "arithmetic mean" and only "arithmetic mean", then why do we even have the word "mean"?
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: johnny847 on January 29, 2015, 08:19:01 PM
Think about it, if "average" was sufficient to refer to "arithmetic mean" and only "arithmetic mean", then why do we even have the word "mean"?
By that logic, why would we ever have multiple words that mean the same thing?
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: EricL on January 29, 2015, 09:20:51 PM
I just hope whatever's will invested in Fidelity they're doing a better job than they used to with my old Mutual Fund.  That sucker was always racing the Dow to the bottom in a downturn and the last to recover in an upturn. 
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: skyrefuge on January 29, 2015, 09:51:45 PM
By that logic, why would we ever have multiple words that mean the same thing?

I don't think we really have too many of those. Most words that seem to mean the same thing tend to at least have slightly different shades or tones. For those that do genuinely have no distinctions, then it's just because we've forgotten the difference that they once had. The thing is, we haven't yet forgotten the difference between "average" and "mean" (see all the dictionary evidence for that proof of our collective understanding), and I think it's worth maintaining that understanding. Otherwise then we'd have to invent a new word to say "'mean', 'median', and 'mode' are all types of ________", and that'd be a big pain in the butt! What are we gonna say? "borknuts"? "sniggittuns"? "antimustachians"? All I know is "measures of central tendency" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_tendency) is far too nerdy!
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: johnny847 on January 29, 2015, 10:32:56 PM
By that logic, why would we ever have multiple words that mean the same thing?

I don't think we really have too many of those. Most words that seem to mean the same thing tend to at least have slightly different shades or tones. For those that do genuinely have no distinctions, then it's just because we've forgotten the difference that they once had. The thing is, we haven't yet forgotten the difference between "average" and "mean" (see all the dictionary evidence for that proof of our collective understanding), and I think it's worth maintaining that understanding. Otherwise then we'd have to invent a new word to say "'mean', 'median', and 'mode' are all types of ________", and that'd be a big pain in the butt! What are we gonna say? "borknuts"? "sniggittuns"? "antimustachians"? All I know is "measures of central tendency" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_tendency) is far too nerdy!
Really? What about buy vs purchase. Large vs big? Quickly vs speedily? I could go on and on.
No, we don't. Measures of central tendency is exactly the word for mean, median, and mode are types of ____________
Average is arithmetic mean. End of story.
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: philby85 on January 29, 2015, 10:49:29 PM
No, we don't. Measures of central tendency is exactly the word for mean, median, and mode are types of ____________
Average is arithmetic mean. End of story.

Look up the synonyms for average. You will find the words "Mean", "Mode" and "Median" listed. Average is not exclusive to mean. the word "average" is analogous to the word "move" in that it can be used as a broad general term for many other related words (i.e. in the case of "move", you have walk, run, advance, shift, etc)
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: johnny847 on January 29, 2015, 10:52:31 PM
No, we don't. Measures of central tendency is exactly the word for mean, median, and mode are types of ____________
Average is arithmetic mean. End of story.

Look up the synonyms for average. You will find the words "Mean", "Mode" and "Median" listed. Average is not exclusive to mean. the word "average" is analogous to the word "move" in that it can be used as a broad general term for many other related words (i.e. in the case of "move", you have walk, run, advance, shift, etc)
There is literally nothing anybody can say to me to convince me that a median or mode is an average.
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: philby85 on January 29, 2015, 11:00:24 PM
There is literally nothing anybody can say to me to convince me that a median or mode is an average.

I am genuinely curious to know why?
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: slugline on January 29, 2015, 11:03:49 PM
The idea that mean, mode, and median were types of averages was instilled into me by U.S. public school in the 1970s. We were also taught that Pluto was a full-fledged planet too. . . .

Returning to 401Ks -- The median value of all 401Ks doesn't convey much to me by itself. Every time someone leaves an employer, they have the opportunity to get the funds out via rollover and then start a new 401K at the next workplace. I'd find it more useful to find the median value of total retirement savings for various age groups.
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: CDP45 on January 29, 2015, 11:05:11 PM
We're talking about statistical properties here, not colloquial meaning. If the topic were subjective such as movie ratings, then sure one could say I think it was above or below average.

I present the statistical definition of average: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arithmetic_mean (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arithmetic_mean)

Which is the sum of all observations divided by the count of observations.
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: philby85 on January 29, 2015, 11:45:41 PM
We're talking about statistical properties here, not colloquial meaning. If the topic were subjective such as movie ratings, then sure one could say I think it was above or below average.

I think you are the one getting caught up in colloquial meaning.

Quote
In colloquial language, an average is the sum of a list of numbers divided by the number of numbers in the list. In mathematics and statistics, this would be called the arithmetic mean. However, the word average may also refer to the median, mode, or other central or typical value. In statistics, these are all known as measures of central tendency.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Average

The mean method of calculating the average is probably the most common way an average is calculated and as a result has gained a colloquial exclusive association, much like popular brands (i.e. band-aid) become the default name in colloquial language.
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: MgoSam on January 29, 2015, 11:53:22 PM
I didn't see a stat that showed average 401k of 65 year olds, but that would be interesting.

I don't think the article is completely wrong, for most people, I think that SS will not be the solution that it used to be back when it was first devised. People are living far longer than when it was created, and baring any congressional changes, it will be insolvent before I hit 65 (many decades from now). That's why I'm saving up as much as I can and investing it.
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: galliver on January 29, 2015, 11:53:47 PM
No, we don't. Measures of central tendency is exactly the word for mean, median, and mode are types of ____________
Average is arithmetic mean. End of story.

Look up the synonyms for average. You will find the words "Mean", "Mode" and "Median" listed. Average is not exclusive to mean. the word "average" is analogous to the word "move" in that it can be used as a broad general term for many other related words (i.e. in the case of "move", you have walk, run, advance, shift, etc)
There is literally nothing anybody can say to me to convince me that a median or mode is an average.
I'm sorry that you are an irrational being not swayed by evidence or credible sources to accept facts. But I'll waste no more time on you.
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: marty998 on January 30, 2015, 01:21:28 AM
Mode is the most common number? Certainly not an average.

"Median average" would be the middle score of a list of averages.

Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: deborah on January 30, 2015, 01:41:11 AM
Generally speaking, people talk about the mean, but really want the median, especially with a topic like this. You will find that there might be a few people with several million dollars in their 401k, and then there is everyone else on just about $0. The median will tell you how much the middle ranking person has in their 401k (as marty says - and it could be $10,000 - half of the people have more and half of the people have less) - this is what the average person has. Because there are a bunch of people with huge 401k, when you add all the figures up, the mean would be $90,000 - which doesn't really reflect what the average person has.
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: I'm a red panda on January 30, 2015, 07:30:41 AM
Mode is the most common number? Certainly not an average.

"Median average" would be the middle score of a list of averages.

Mode is a type of average.  An average is something representative of the group- mode can do that.
Median is also a type of average.  Arithmetic mean is the most common type of average.
In statistics, you have to determine which average best represents your numbers; and not use what can be misleading. Often median is the best type of average, because a single outlier can greatly throw off the mean.

But "median average" is a confusing phrase, because it is either redundant or it is the median of an average.
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: Aushin on January 30, 2015, 07:38:13 AM
Where were you when the Median Wars began?
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: fodder69 on January 30, 2015, 08:15:12 AM
There is literally nothing anybody can say to me to convince me that a median or mode is an average.

Holy closed mind, Batman! Although you gotta appreciate the heads up since we can't actually see him sticking his fingers in his ears and yelling 'La, La, La!"

But I will add that there is "literally" nothing you can say to me to convince me that johnny847 is a more authoritative source on the english language than the Webster dictionary.
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: AH013 on January 30, 2015, 08:31:36 AM
There is literally nothing anybody can say to me to convince me that a median or mode is an average.

If the mean, median, and mode dictionary says that an "average" includes mean, median and mode, then by definition your refusal to accept mode & median as legitimate averages implies you are an outlier.  Naturally a mean likes an outlier, because it allows itself to be skewed by the outlier, whereas both mode or median refuse to be skewed by outliers.  This explains why you, as an outlier, only like the mean and want to exclude mode & median, since you have been mitigated by them.

Math rules
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: Avidconsumer on January 30, 2015, 08:44:51 AM
There is literally nothing anybody can say to me to convince me that a median or mode is an average.

Holy closed mind, Batman! Although you gotta appreciate the heads up since we can't actually see him sticking his fingers in his ears and yelling 'La, La, La!"

But I will add that there is "literally" nothing you can say to me to convince me that johnny847 is a more authoritative source on the english language than the Webster dictionary.

Mode, mean and median are all averages. Mode could definitely considered a better average if the mean and median are significantly skewed by outliers. Can you just stop writing Median average? It goes without saying that its an average. What else could it be other than an average? Just say Median, mean or mode.

There's 5 guys with incomes of 100k, 100k, 100k, 100k and 1,000,000,000 a year. What's the best average?
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: GardenFun on January 30, 2015, 08:47:13 AM
Where were you when the Median Wars began?

Laughing my ass off at home.  Mom was right - nerds really can be annoying.  ;-)
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: galliver on January 30, 2015, 09:04:04 AM
Where were you when the Median Wars began?

Laughing my ass off at home.  Mom was right - nerds really can be annoying.  ;-)
And I find anti-intellectuals annoying. It's a matter of personal taste, really.
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: neo von retorch on January 30, 2015, 09:07:00 AM
There is literally nothing anybody can say to me to convince me that a median or mode is an average.

It's a curious thing, language. How would you define the "average" person? You literally cannot arrive at such a person through arithmetic. Rather, you might find some attribute common to all people, line them up in the order of the value of that attribute each has, and choose the median person in the line. :)
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: GardenFun on January 30, 2015, 09:22:04 AM
Where were you when the Median Wars began?

Laughing my ass off at home.  Mom was right - nerds really can be annoying.  ;-)
And I find anti-intellectuals annoying. It's a matter of personal taste, really.
Sorry, didn't mean to offend.  I am enjoying the conversational flow - but usually I am the one involved with the discussion vs. reading it from an outside perspective.  It's an interesting change. 
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: galliver on January 30, 2015, 09:25:44 AM
Where were you when the Median Wars began?

Laughing my ass off at home.  Mom was right - nerds really can be annoying.  ;-)
And I find anti-intellectuals annoying. It's a matter of personal taste, really.
Sorry, didn't mean to offend.  I am enjoying the conversational flow - but usually I am the one involved with the discussion vs. reading it from an outside perspective.  It's an interesting change.
Ah, ok. I thought you were whining, but you aren't. Snarkiness retracted. (Can't retract the full statement, anti-intellectuals DO annoy me). :)
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: Dr. A on January 30, 2015, 09:33:59 AM
There is literally nothing anybody can say to me to convince me that a median or mode is an average.

If the mean, median, and mode dictionary says that an "average" includes mean, median and mode, then by definition your refusal to accept mode & median as legitimate averages implies you are an outlier.  Naturally a mean likes an outlier, because it allows itself to be skewed by the outlier, whereas both mode or median refuse to be skewed by outliers.  This explains why you, as an outlier, only like the mean and want to exclude mode & median, since you have been mitigated by them.

Math rules

Aw, snap!
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: Melchior on January 30, 2015, 09:38:08 AM

It's a curious thing, language. How would you define the "average" person? You literally cannot arrive at such a person through arithmetic. Rather, you might find some attribute common to all people, line them up in the order of the value of that attribute each has, and choose the median person in the line. :)

Assume a person can be defined by some set of discrete parameters. One of the people in your line could be perfectly defined by the mean of each of those parameters. It could even be the median!

Assume a person is a point.
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: skyrefuge on January 30, 2015, 09:44:57 AM
Really? What about buy vs purchase. Large vs big? Quickly vs speedily? I could go on and on.

- Buy vs. purchase: "purchase" has a more formal tone than "buy" (maybe because it comes from ooh-la-la French vs. the German-sourced "buy"!), and also has a broader view of "obtaining something", e.g. "my fingertips could get no purchase on the slick rock face".
- Large vs. big: again, "large" has a more formal tone than "big", as well as a more-specific meaning in terms of S/M/L sizing ("I'd like a large coffee" means something more specific than "I'd like a big coffee").
- Quickly vs. speedily: quite different in meaning, and the difference is frequently highlighted when discussing athletic talents (http://news.stanthonysmi.com/2012/06/deception-speed-vs-quickness-hint-they.html). "quickness" refers more to sudden acceleration, while "speed" refers more to sustained velocity.

Average is arithmetic mean. End of story.

Good luck fixing the Wikipedia entry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Average) then! (btw, the topic has already been discussed and rejected on the Talk page).

I do now agree that "median average" is poor usage due to its ambiguity (is it an average of medians?), and maybe was just a typo (meant to replace "average" with "median" and forgot to delete "average"), but that does not diminish the usefulness of the separation between "mean" and "average".

When I find out that the rest of the world understands a word differently than I do, I say "oh, I didn't realize it had that meaning. I'm glad that I know now, since that knowledge will make me a better communicator. Thanks!" Saying "no, all of you are wrong" would be a much more futile and fruitless approach!
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: MrsPotts on January 30, 2015, 09:39:19 PM
I hate math.   Can we please argue about something else?
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: Gerard on February 06, 2015, 07:56:13 PM
- Buy vs. purchase: "purchase" has a more formal tone than "buy"

Yeah, but technically that doesn't make them denotationally different. Almost all synonyms have different social meanings, developed in part (as you suggest) from their origins. And the extra meaning of "purchase" is a semantic extension... you can't use the additional meanings a word has developed to nullify its semantic equivalence to another word in a particular context.

For example, "average Joe" and "mean Joe" mean different things. But many people believe that "average" and "mean" are equivalent in other contexts. :-)
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: clarkfan1979 on February 07, 2015, 02:54:38 PM
Mode, median and mean are all the same in regard to the fact that they are measures of central tendency. However, they all do it in a slightly different way, making them also different.

I am the same as my wife because we are both humans. I am different than my wife because I am male and she is female.
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: marty998 on February 07, 2015, 07:47:07 PM
There is literally nothing anybody can say to me to convince me that a median or mode is an average.

Holy closed mind, Batman! Although you gotta appreciate the heads up since we can't actually see him sticking his fingers in his ears and yelling 'La, La, La!"

But I will add that there is "literally" nothing you can say to me to convince me that johnny847 is a more authoritative source on the english language than the Webster dictionary.

Mode, mean and median are all averages. Mode could definitely considered a better average if the mean and median are significantly skewed by outliers. Can you just stop writing Median average? It goes without saying that its an average. What else could it be other than an average? Just say Median, mean or mode.

There's 5 guys with incomes of 100k, 100k, 100k, 100k and 1,000,000,000 a year. What's the best average?

You would do the obvious. Exclude the ridiculous score - and average the rest. Like scoring for many olympic sports - high and low eliminated and take the rest.
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: KD on February 08, 2015, 09:58:48 AM
Lawyer's used to agree on Black's Law Dictionary (whatever edition) to settle these types of arguments.  Does MMM forum have a standard dictionary cited that is used to settle such disputes???
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: frugalnacho on February 08, 2015, 11:48:21 AM
I remember being taught specifically that average=mean, and mode and median are not averages.   I see the dictionary definitions you guys posted, but it is so far ingrained in me that when I see average I automatically associate it with arithmetic mean.  Also why is it even necessary to call it a median average?  Isn't the median a type of average by definition?  Can you have a median that isn't mathematically in the middle?  It seems like the "average" part is completely redundant and is only adding to confusion.
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: nawhite on February 08, 2015, 06:30:56 PM
I remember being taught specifically that average=mean, and mode and median are not averages.   I see the dictionary definitions you guys posted, but it is so far ingrained in me that when I see average I automatically associate it with arithmetic mean.

Yep same here. I wonder if there are similarities in education or location for those of us who are confused by this "'average' means whatever way you feel like" stuff. Public school, graduated HS in 2005 in the Northeast US. Taught by my statistics teacher that "average" means "mean." I had no idea of that dictionary definition of "average" until you guys started posting them.
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: Indexer on February 08, 2015, 07:26:01 PM
Where were you when the Median Wars began?

I was thinking the same thing!

I think everyone here was able to understand what he 'meant' when he said 'median average'.  Reading this thread is like watching the scene in Clerks 2 where they argue Lord of the Rings VS Star Wars.  Or that Steven Hawkings rap video....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zn7-fVtT16k


The average 401k at Vanguard is probably higher in part because they have lower fees, so higher returns.  It is probably also in part because they are taking in new money faster than their competitors.  So people are more likely to roll an old 401k from Fidelity to Vanguard than they are the reverse.  More rollovers in = larger balance, more rollovers out means your data is skewed to newer workers instead of older workers. 

90-100k is a low average for ALL ages.  A median of 24k is even scarier.  That means you have a few people in the hundreds of thousands and a whole lot of people with less than 20k.  If you are 22 right out of college that is fine, but anyone 30 or over should probably have 20k in their 401k.
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: caliq on February 08, 2015, 07:37:54 PM
I remember being taught specifically that average=mean, and mode and median are not averages.   I see the dictionary definitions you guys posted, but it is so far ingrained in me that when I see average I automatically associate it with arithmetic mean.

Yep same here. I wonder if there are similarities in education or location for those of us who are confused by this "'average' means whatever way you feel like" stuff. Public school, graduated HS in 2005 in the Northeast US. Taught by my statistics teacher that "average" means "mean." I had no idea of that dictionary definition of "average" until you guys started posting them.

Northeast as well, graduated HS in 2009. 

I kept out of it before because while I was taught average = mean in public HS, I also took statistics in college and am aware that it can mean different things.

In terms of the 'average' 401k balance...I know a lot of people who are significantly older than 22 who operate under the assumption that they'll work until they die.  It's very sad and being only 23, I have to try very hard to keep my mouth shut about early retirement because I get very very angry death glares when I mention it.  And then I get the "oh poor child, so naive" type comments, lol.
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: deborah on February 08, 2015, 08:31:20 PM
There is literally nothing anybody can say to me to convince me that a median or mode is an average.

Holy closed mind, Batman! Although you gotta appreciate the heads up since we can't actually see him sticking his fingers in his ears and yelling 'La, La, La!"

But I will add that there is "literally" nothing you can say to me to convince me that johnny847 is a more authoritative source on the english language than the Webster dictionary.

Mode, mean and median are all averages. Mode could definitely considered a better average if the mean and median are significantly skewed by outliers. Can you just stop writing Median average? It goes without saying that its an average. What else could it be other than an average? Just say Median, mean or mode.

There's 5 guys with incomes of 100k, 100k, 100k, 100k and 1,000,000,000 a year. What's the best average?
But the median is not skewed by outliers - in this case both the median and the mode are 100k, but the average is completely different. It depends upon what you are calculating.

We were taught that they are all averages, but who cares? Use the best one for the circumstances.
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: RetiredAt63 on February 21, 2015, 07:46:08 PM
There are 4 measures of central tendency - mode, median, arithmetic mean (what people are thinking of when they say average), and geometric mean.  Geometric mean gets used in special circumstances, and usually by people who know why.

Any stats book will explain measures of central tendency.  It will also explain variability and outliers, which is what the 100k, 100k, 100k, 100k and 1,000,000,000K is an example of.

It is a lot easier to discuss things when everyone is on the same page re terms.  Much less foam.

Am I nit-picking? Maybe, but I come from a discipline where the same word can mean different things depending on context, and we need to be clear. "Population" comes to mind.

There is literally nothing anybody can say to me to convince me that a median or mode is an average.

Holy closed mind, Batman! Although you gotta appreciate the heads up since we can't actually see him sticking his fingers in his ears and yelling 'La, La, La!"

But I will add that there is "literally" nothing you can say to me to convince me that johnny847 is a more authoritative source on the english language than the Webster dictionary.

Mode, mean and median are all averages. Mode could definitely considered a better average if the mean and median are significantly skewed by outliers. Can you just stop writing Median average? It goes without saying that its an average. What else could it be other than an average? Just say Median, mean or mode.

There's 5 guys with incomes of 100k, 100k, 100k, 100k and 1,000,000,000 a year. What's the best average?
But the median is not skewed by outliers - in this case both the median and the mode are 100k, but the average is completely different. It depends upon what you are calculating.

We were taught that they are all averages, but who cares? Use the best one for the circumstances.
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: AnonymousCoward on February 21, 2015, 11:46:45 PM
Quote from: RetiredAt63
There are 4 measures of central tendency...

Don't forget the harmonic mean! (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harmonic_mean)
Title: Re: Hey You Can't do that
Post by: RetiredAt63 on February 22, 2015, 11:16:11 AM
Cool!   I had never heard of it - always something new to learn.

PS Now that I am not teaching I don't keep up with the latest slang.  What is in use these days for "cool"/"neat"/whatever?  Mind you, this place does help to keep me up to date.  My DD just about dropped dead the first time I used "First World Problem" on her.


Quote from: RetiredAt63
There are 4 measures of central tendency...

Don't forget the harmonic mean! (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harmonic_mean)