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Old 04-18-2011, 01:00 PM
fzx fzx started this thread
 
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I think the term is used too broadly. A household of four making 70-80K can barely make ends meet and is only be classified as middle class due to government tax purpose. On the other end, a half-a-million can still be called a middle class because the income may not be enough to quit a job tomorrow. So, what should be called middle class and what are typical criteria for that?
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Old 04-18-2011, 01:37 PM
 
Location: Searching n Atlanta
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To me my definition of middle class depends on your household. Me a young male living by myself makes 27,600. I live comfortably by myself with money to save and splurge, I feel I am solidily middle class. But I also know that when I am older I want to have lots a kids and live in a decent suburb outside of Atlanta that I would need to make at least 80-90 thousand a year just without my spouses income to be at least a happy middle class citizen. So it really depends on many factors as to what makes you middle class.
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Old 04-18-2011, 01:42 PM
 
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If a family making 70-80K is barely making ends meet then they are trying to live above their means. I would imagine that a family of 4 in Atlanta could easily be comfortable with that annual salary...and most are doing with a lot less than that.

Middle Class is a broad designation that isn't necessarily based on annual income. It's often based on other things as well, like education, background, home ownership, profession, associations, etc. I don't think there is a precise definition for it, like a certain income level. If you aren't poor or working class, you're middle class.

Last edited by DeaconJ; 04-18-2011 at 02:03 PM..
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Old 04-18-2011, 02:00 PM
 
Location: West Cobb County, GA (Atlanta metro)
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First of all, I don't confuse "class" with "income", since many times the two do not go hand-in-hand.

But I would personally consider a household income of $80,000 within the middle INCOME bracket. Perhaps on the lower end of middle income depending on the city and cost of living, though. Obviously if you lived in NYC that would be very very low, but in Chattanooga, much higher, etc.
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Old 04-18-2011, 06:20 PM
 
Location: Marietta, GA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atlantagreg30127 View Post
But I would personally consider a household income of $80,000 within the middle INCOME bracket. Perhaps on the lower end of middle income depending on the city and cost of living, though. Obviously if you lived in NYC that would be very very low, but in Chattanooga, much higher, etc.
Doesn't it depend on how many people are being supported for the income and the fact that $80K gross is much less in net income? As you also said, living in the wilds of Kansas is not the same as living on Long Island.

Is someone who earns $90K and supports a family of four or five...upper class? Rich? I think people have a very distorted version of what is rich and what is middle class. I think it's generally relative to their own situation.

Personally, I would say anyone supporting a family making less than $100K is lower middle class, anyone making from $100K to $300K is middle class, and from $300K to a $1 million is upper middle class. Above $1 million/yr would qualify as rich in my book. When you look at what $300K really nets you after taxes, and what it really costs to support a family, it's less than what many assume.
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Old 04-18-2011, 11:33 PM
 
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It cannot be just based on income b/c you can earn 80k and live at home with mom and pops. A person can also earn 30k and have tons of debt where they make minimum payments but live like they are middle class.

The government doesn't want to give a new and clear meaning b/c it will show just how bad its gotten for many as well as not wanting to give a true meaning.

Middle class traditionally means you have your own place to live, a car, a job and have enough money to live comfortably. What is comfort? Credit cards lol. With gas prices skyrocketing this immediately affects the middle class who's disposable income is instantly affected.

Middle class also seems to be a spot where people take normal deductions and get raped in regards to taxes.

fcz an income of $500,000 a year is not middle class, that is upper class in rare air. If they can't manage their money, they can't manage their money but that does not make them middle class because of it. Cost of living can affect it but you still are in the upper tier in regards to class.

People will argue about their class but it seems to be you need to make much more money today to be true middle class compared to 20 years ago.

I kinda agree with Atlantagreg around 80k for a home of 2/3 people in most parts of Atlanta.


Quote:
Originally Posted by neil0311 View Post
Doesn't it depend on how many people are being supported for the income and the fact that $80K gross is much less in net income? As you also said, living in the wilds of Kansas is not the same as living on Long Island.

Is someone who earns $90K and supports a family of four or five...upper class? Rich? I think people have a very distorted version of what is rich and what is middle class. I think it's generally relative to their own situation.

Personally, I would say anyone supporting a family making less than $100K is lower middle class, anyone making from $100K to $300K is middle class, and from $300K to a $1 million is upper middle class. Above $1 million/yr would qualify as rich in my book. When you look at what $300K really nets you after taxes, and what it really costs to support a family, it's less than what many assume.
Good post. When I explain to people that 250k is not some worry free lifestyle to most people who "keep up with the joneses"they laugh until a budget is produced. Between taxes, mortgage, cars, private schools, food, utilities, (remember everything increases since your home is bigger/cars are usually more expensive) maybe a boat, 2nd home, donations, vacations, electronics, jewelry, helping parents/children, etc etc the money can blow away! That is why its so important to have a financial plan and find tax havens/breaks. That is why those that live below their means end up wealthy. A person with that mentality at 250k a year can make a killing.

Kids also matter a lot. DINKs make off like bandits in regards to having money to spend as kids are EXPENSIVE. DINKS at 80k are much different than a family of 4 at 80k.

Cost of living is huge. 80k in Jonesboro is different to 80k in Buckhead.

The fact of the matter is more people are poor than they want to truly realize and the government is scared to tell you. B/C way to many people that work and make money (hell lets say 25k-250k a year) with no net worth, completely in debt and own nothing. They are poor, that is not middle class. Hate to say it, sorry.

Last edited by RandyWatson13; 04-18-2011 at 11:43 PM..
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Old 04-19-2011, 04:51 AM
 
1,762 posts, read 2,907,957 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fzx View Post
I think the term is used too broadly. A household of four making 70-80K can barely make ends meet and is only be classified as middle class due to government tax purpose. On the other end, a half-a-million can still be called a middle class because the income may not be enough to quit a job tomorrow. So, what should be called middle class and what are typical criteria for that?
http://www.city-data.com/forum/atlan...dle-class.html
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Old 04-19-2011, 08:07 AM
 
Location: Lilburn GA
478 posts, read 1,626,414 times
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I think a lot of people who think they are middle class are actually working class-meaning we can afford necessities and a few splurges now and then, but if something drastic happens-as in one member losing a job-we are in deep doo-doo. A family of 4 living off 80k in GA should be ok-if they live within their means, my family of 3 is living off 45k at the moment but my home is paid off so that helps out a lot.
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Old 04-19-2011, 09:30 AM
 
Location: San Francisco
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Aside from money, to me Middle Class America is engaged America. Whether it's a mom involved in their child's local public school or a family who is involved in their local church or in a local political organization (often the Tea Party nowadays).

Middle America to me = suburbs, towns, families, some sort of religious background, community involvement on the local level, traditional values, etc etc.

There are actually some billionaires I would place in the "Middle America" realm. Sam Walton, HJ Heinz Sr, and others. They drove pickups and were friends with the people in their original communities. They had Conservative values, rags to riches mentalities, etc etc. The original Conrad Hilton would be included, too. So money has nothing really to do with it.

I'm also not trying to say lower classes an upper classes aren't engaged. You often see lower classes striking all the time (I know I'm not being fair here, but it annoys me) and you often see upper classes starting charities and organizations and even running for office.

When I picture stereotypical Middle Class America, I think two floor suburban brick home with two car garage filled with one sedan and one suburban. Kids are in school, probably suburban public, and both parents work. Parents have traditional social values and probably align with Republicans/Conservatives.
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Old 04-19-2011, 11:32 AM
fzx fzx started this thread
 
391 posts, read 427,375 times
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Thanks for everybody's opinion. I guess living within meanings will be an important criteria for me. As a foreigner, I started from a very frugal family and am really surprised by how many Americans expend like there is no tomorrow. What about kids' education and retirement? The false sign of affluence subsidized by easy financing options really worries me. By putting up a murky definition, our government is not helping either.
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