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Old 05-29-2015, 09:52 AM
 
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I feel that we spend more than we should and thought I'd ask for opinions of others.

How much after tax $$ do you think a family of four needs to live the typical "middle class lifestyle" in the NYC boroughs? Excluding housing costs, which can vary greatly, assuming no school or daycare costs, no car, and excluding healthcare and retirement contributions.

I feel that I have to differentiate between the boroughs and Manhattan since everything tends to be more expensive there (some parts of Brooklyn are probably as expensive as well though).

What do you think?
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Old 05-29-2015, 10:23 AM
 
Location: Dallas, TX
2,898 posts, read 4,937,197 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yodel View Post
I feel that we spend more than we should and thought I'd ask for opinions of others.

How much after tax $$ do you think a family of four needs to live the typical "middle class lifestyle" in the NYC boroughs? Excluding housing costs, which can vary greatly, assuming no school or daycare costs, no car, and excluding healthcare and retirement contributions.

I feel that I have to differentiate between the boroughs and Manhattan since everything tends to be more expensive there (some parts of Brooklyn are probably as expensive as well though).

What do you think?
I think we'd first need to define middle class and 'middleclass lifestyle’ as they are extremely subjective.

I've known people making between 40k and north of 200k who consider themselves middle class.
And Why exclude all those things? housing costs? That's the biggest of all costs you're going to incur here.

schools and daycare are immensely important for middle class families. Some of them move out to the suburbs mainly because of school, so I don't think you’d get a clear picture if you were to exclude some of the things that affect families the most.

My concept of middle class is; not living pay check to paycheck, not being 1 pay check away from financial disaster. Not living in the ghetto, Not being inundated in debt, probably owning your own home (although this can be an acceptable exception in NYC),having your kids in decent schools, taking vacations once a year, having a rainy day fund, and possibly a college fund.
for a family of 4, I think north of 160k/yr (gross) would make the above the doable.

Last edited by likeminas; 05-29-2015 at 10:40 AM..
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Old 05-29-2015, 10:37 AM
Status: "I have "a thing" for duplex apartments" (set 1 day ago)
 
Location: Confines of the 101 Precinct
19,303 posts, read 32,757,591 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yodel View Post
I feel that we spend more than we should and thought I'd ask for opinions of others.

How much after tax $$ do you think a family of four needs to live the typical "middle class lifestyle" in the NYC boroughs? Excluding housing costs, which can vary greatly, assuming no school or daycare costs, no car, and excluding healthcare and retirement contributions.

I feel that I have to differentiate between the boroughs and Manhattan since everything tends to be more expensive there (some parts of Brooklyn are probably as expensive as well though).

What do you think?
I can't exclude everything like that - but to live a typical middle class lifestyle (meaning home ownership, 1 family vacation a year, at least 3 months savings, healthcare insurance covered, and a car) for a family of four you need $100K - and you will be living in the hood.
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Old 05-29-2015, 10:55 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by likeminas View Post
I think we'd first need to define middle class and 'middleclass lifestyle’ as they are extremely subjective.

I've known people making between 40k and north of 200k who consider themselves middle class.
And Why exclude all those things? housing costs? That's the biggest of all costs you're going to incur here.

schools and daycare are immensely important for middle class families. Some of them move out to the suburbs mainly because of school, so I don't think you’d get a clear picture if you were to exclude some of the things that affect families the most.

My concept of middle class is; not living pay check to paycheck, not being 1 pay check away from financial disaster. Not living in the ghetto, Not being inundatedin debt, probably owning your own home (although this can be an acceptable exception in NYC),having your kids in decent schools, taking vacations once a year, having a rainy day fund, and possibly a college fund.
for a family of 4, I think ~160k/yr (gross) would make the above the doable.
I think that the big range incomes for people who consider themselves "middle class" is partially due to expenditure categories with big variations. Schools and housings are big ones. For housing, for instance, it depends on when you bought, how much you put down, your interest rate etc. Similarly, health care contributions vary greatly depending on employer. Some people find a full time nanny to be a necessity and others have relatives to look after the kids. So excluding all that and opinions about what's ghetto and what's not please...

What I'm trying to get at is actual (reasonable) monthly spending for a family of four. Everyone needs to eat, have cell phones, internet, get around on public transit, buy clothes... It's probably better to exclude vacations and savings in general and just focus on general monthly spending. Maybe $3,000, $4,000 or more?
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Old 05-29-2015, 11:02 AM
 
2,592 posts, read 3,380,295 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeventhFloor View Post
I can't exclude everything like that - but to live a typical middle class lifestyle (meaning home ownership, 1 family vacation a year, at least 3 months savings, healthcare insurance covered, and a car) for a family of four you need $100K - and you will be living in the hood.
Imagine that you have those savings and assume that your house is all paid off (I'm not saying that this is our situation, but I think it would help to answer my question). Do you have any idea what you would consider a reasonable amount of after-tax spending generally, or a range for a family of this size?
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Old 05-29-2015, 11:04 AM
Status: "I have "a thing" for duplex apartments" (set 1 day ago)
 
Location: Confines of the 101 Precinct
19,303 posts, read 32,757,591 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yodel View Post
I think that the big range incomes for people who consider themselves "middle class" is partially due to expenditure categories with big variations. Schools and housings are big ones. For housing, for instance, it depends on when you bought, how much you put down, your interest rate etc. Similarly, health care contributions vary greatly depending on employer. Some people find a full time nanny to be a necessity and others have relatives to look after the kids. So excluding all that and opinions about what's ghetto and what's not please...

What I'm trying to get at is actual (reasonable) monthly spending for a family of four. Everyone needs to eat, have cell phones, internet, get around on public transit, buy clothes... It's probably better to exclude vacations and savings in general and just focus on general monthly spending. Maybe $3,000, $4,000 or more?
I pay $2,400 a month to maintain my lifestyle. Half of that is immediately the housing. Whatever is left over after bills I keep for myself, or treat the family to a little something once in a while. If I could get another $1,000 a month that would be the family vacation money. Actually I'm bugging out. I can get like $250 extra a month and if I saved that me and the fam could take a nice vacation 1nce a year. So like I would need an extra $2,500 after taxes for the year to be decent.
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Old 05-29-2015, 11:06 AM
 
Location: Dallas, TX
2,898 posts, read 4,937,197 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yodel View Post
I think that the big range incomes for people who consider themselves "middle class" is partially due to expenditure categories with big variations. Schools and housings are big ones. For housing, for instance, it depends on when you bought, how much you put down, your interest rate etc. Similarly, health care contributions vary greatly depending on employer. Some people find a full time nanny to be a necessity and others have relatives to look after the kids. So excluding all that and opinions about what's ghetto and what's not please...

What I'm trying to get at is actual (reasonable) monthly spending for a family of four. Everyone needs to eat, have cell phones, internet, get around on public transit, buy clothes... It's probably better to exclude vacations and savings in general and just focus on general monthly spending. Maybe $3,000, $4,000 or more?

Don't those categories vary greatly too?
A middle class family of 4 that buys at whole foods or fresh direct, has unlimited data plans and buys designer clothes will spend considerably more than a family that buys from western beef, has prepaid flip phones, and get their clothes at their local goodwill store.

All discussions of 'middle class' and 'middle class lifestyle' are entirely subjective.
I perosnally wouldn't consider myself middle class if I lived in an impoverished ghetto, won't go on vacations and didn't have any savings. But again maybe that's just me.

As or the bolded part of your post.
Does the family pay for extra curricular activities for the kids, do they eat out once in a while, do they pay for utilities renters don't usually pay such as heating? etc...etc...etc.....
There's so many variables to consider, but I know you want an specific answer. So I'll give you one.
A family of 4 needs between $2,000 and $7,000 a month.
Hope that's helpful

Last edited by likeminas; 05-29-2015 at 11:26 AM..
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Old 05-29-2015, 11:16 AM
 
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cost of living can range widely on a neighborhood by neighborhood basis (even in the same borough). If you live in a gentrified area you are paying a premium on just about everything you spend money on. In addition, housing cost makes up the majority of the decision making process in selecting the neighborhood you end up living in. Renting a 3 bedroom apartment for a family of four can cost you the same as a mortgage payment for a house in the suburbs.
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Old 05-29-2015, 11:25 AM
 
2,592 posts, read 3,380,295 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeventhFloor View Post
I pay $2,400 a month to maintain my lifestyle. Half of that is immediately the housing. Whatever is left over after bills I keep for myself, or treat the family to a little something once in a while. If I could get another $1,000 a month that would be the family vacation money. Actually I'm bugging out. I can get like $250 extra a month and if I saved that me and the fam could take a nice vacation 1nce a year. So like I would need an extra $2,500 after taxes for the year to be decent.
Thank you for your reply. I don't know how big your family is, but if you're currently maintaining your family on $1,200 after tax, that is great. We spend a lot more than that I hate to say. Our biggest expenditure is food, and I'm sure we spend more than $1,200 on that alone if you consider lunch bought out at work, takeout a few times a week and the occasional restaurant meal. I rarely go to Whole foods, but probably eat rather expensively even at the grocery store - vegetables, fish etc. We have 3 cell lines with full data, but will probably reduce that to 2 and 2 basic phones. I'd like to get rid of cable, but I think our kids would revolt. We don't wear "designer" clothes, but husband needs to wear suits. We get kids clothes as inexpensive we can find, often Old Navy or similar. Our income is very variable due to self employment + commission variation. I never know how much we've made until we figure it out at the end of the year.
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Old 05-29-2015, 11:28 AM
 
2,592 posts, read 3,380,295 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by likeminas View Post
Don't those categories vary greatly too?
A middle class family of 4 that buys at whole foods or fresh direct, has unlimited data plans and buys designer clothes will spend considerably more than a family that buys from western beef, has prepaid flip phones, and get their clothes at their local goodwill store.

All discussions of 'middle class' and 'middle class lifestyle' are entirely subjective.
I perosnally wouldn't consider myself middle class if I lived in an impoverished ghetto, won't go on vacations and didn't have any savings. But again maybe that's just me.

As or the bolded part of your post.
Does the family pay for extra curricular activities for the kids, do they eat out once in a while, do they pay for utilities renters don't usually pay such as heating? etc...etc...etc.....
There's so many variables to consider, but I know you want an specific answer. So I'll give you one.
A family of 4 needs between $2,000 and $7,000 a month.
Hope that's helpful
Thanks for your input.

For clarification, excluding utilities or anything related to housing. Yes, eating out once in a while. I wouldn't add extra curriculars because that is something with enormous variation too. Some years we have spent about $1,000-$1,250 and others a lot less if the kids are happy with afterschool and community things that cost very little.

Last edited by yodel; 05-29-2015 at 11:43 AM..
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