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Old 04-12-2011, 03:49 AM
 
5,618 posts, read 13,190,542 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachmouse View Post
Upper class/rich= Lincoln or maybe a BMW 3 series if they're under 35. The billionaires and other really rich folks I've known would consider it to be way too guache/new money to buy a supercar, and would only consider a paid driver for their car if they've reached that point in their life that they can't drive themselves to church in their Lincoln anymore.



And then the real rich people laugh at you behind your back because you clearly don't get it. There was an interesting sociology study last year talking that the very rich and the very poor were the two groups who were the least conscious of clothing logos. If you're part of the club, you know exactly what makes a $300 shirt that price without having to look for a logo- you know cut, fabric quality, the look of a custom fit. And you now that when formality isn't required, the unlabeled $30 dress shirt you picked up in a Muji store on your last trip to Japan is a perfectly acceptable alternative.

And then there is the family cottage, which is on a lake or in a shore town that got fashionable back in the 1960s. If your family ever had to sell the cottage, they'd list it for $2 million. But the furnishings inside are so beat up they look like they were picked from the curb on bulk trash day. In 1962 just before the beach town became fashionable.

Because if you need the $75K BMW, the clothes with giant designer logos on them, and the house that's expensive just to be showy, then you're clearly trying to hard to look rich. The people with the serious money would never want to come across as tacky like that; the real goal is to seem effortless and unconcerned with just how much their family fortunes can buy, and have people really only notice it when it comes out that Junior is spending his year abroad sitting classes at Oxford.
and you will never be rich no matter how much you make if your the last paragraph.
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Old 04-12-2011, 06:17 AM
 
Location: Bradenton, Florida
27,236 posts, read 39,629,042 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unseengundam View Post
I have to lot of so called middle class in American really can't afford that lifestyle. I think you need make over $100k+, even in an cheaper place like Dallas. For expensive areas, like NYC, you might need like $500k a year! Most people in middle class would should be called the "working class" instead. The middle class lifestyle has many expenses (listed below) and it can get expensive.

Here is what I think most people consider a middle class lifestyle:

-Retire with same lifestyle as pre-retirement
-1-2 years worth of spending money in cash
-Enough money to buy a nice single family house (McMansion)
-Be able afford to put kids through university
-Money to buy new cars every 3-5 years
-Afford nice vacations each year (probably $10k+)
-Money to buy latest smartphone every 2 years,computers, and other electronics

The excepted middle class lifestyle is NOT really frugal. When you look at this list, you can tell how expensive it can get. Being able to spend a lot of your money while still saving for retirement requires a high income.

A lot of people living this lifestyle on has no retirement saving and/or tons of debts. These people are really working class can't / shouldn't try to go for this lifestyle. Of course people making less than $100K (like me) can save for retirement by living more frugal lifestyle. However, you will definitely miss many middle class niceties like brand new cars every few years!
Given your parameters, you probably would need at least $100K. But that's not a middle class lifestyle.

Try

Rents a cheap apartment
Drives a used car
Has food on the table
Bills are paid on time
No savings

That's middle class--and attainable on a lot less than $100K a year.
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Old 04-12-2011, 06:56 AM
 
Location: West Orange, NJ
12,542 posts, read 17,368,729 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unseengundam View Post
I have to lot of so called middle class in American really can't afford that lifestyle. I think you need make over $100k+, even in an cheaper place like Dallas. For expensive areas, like NYC, you might need like $500k a year! Most people in middle class would should be called the "working class" instead. The middle class lifestyle has many expenses (listed below) and it can get expensive.

Here is what I think most people consider a middle class lifestyle:

-Retire with same lifestyle as pre-retirement
-1-2 years worth of spending money in cash
-Enough money to buy a nice single family house (McMansion)
-Be able afford to put kids through university
-Money to buy new cars every 3-5 years
-Afford nice vacations each year (probably $10k+)
-Money to buy latest smartphone every 2 years,computers, and other electronics

The excepted middle class lifestyle is NOT really frugal. When you look at this list, you can tell how expensive it can get. Being able to spend a lot of your money while still saving for retirement requires a high income.

A lot of people living this lifestyle on has no retirement saving and/or tons of debts. These people are really working class can't / shouldn't try to go for this lifestyle. Of course people making less than $100K (like me) can save for retirement by living more frugal lifestyle. However, you will definitely miss many middle class niceties like brand new cars every few years!
i have to respectfully disagree. my wife and i make substantially less than $500,000/yr, though reasonably more than $100,000/yr, and we lived in Hoboken, NJ for 5 years and now live in a NJ suburb. i've actually had this discussion with people who believe you need to make at least $250,000/yr to be "comfortable" in a NYC suburb. which might be true, depending on your definition of "middle class". The points you detailed i would define more as upper middle class to achieve all, or maybe even lower-upper class.

-Retire with same lifestyle as pre-retirement - Agree with this one
-1-2 years worth of spending money in cash - 1-2 year emergency fund is a requirement for middle class? I disagree
-Enough money to buy a nice single family house (McMansion) - you had me at single family, but lost me at McMansion
-Be able afford to put kids through university - Parents paying for kids' college/university costs in full is a luxury in my mind. you'd need to make way more than $100,000/yr to be able to save the approximately $10,000/yr per child from birth to pay for college in full
-Money to buy new cars every 3-5 years - maybe, but what kind of car, and why every 3-5 years? 5 maybe, but every 3 is more of a luxury in most people's book, unless you lease. that's just urinating money away
-Afford nice vacations each year (probably $10k+) - i've taken a nice vacation every year, and only spent close to $10k when i went to hawaii with my wife, and even still, it was around $7,500
-Money to buy latest smartphone every 2 years,computers, and other electronics - maybe, but again, this is more luxury than middle class
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Old 04-12-2011, 06:59 AM
 
Location: West Orange, NJ
12,542 posts, read 17,368,729 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJBest View Post
NYC is expensive, but not 5-fold expensive as Texas. The well educated get $250k to $350k and that is plenty to live a good lifestyle. And that's for those who work for others. The rest probably make more.

I think you basically just described upper middle-class.

I think a more productive discussion would be tying lifestyle to what is required to achieve that lifestyle (in terms of education, risk, etc), and not with income amount. We have direct control over our education, the amount of risk we're willing to take, and how we manage our money... but less direct control over the dollar amount associated with our income.
good points. $250-$350k i hope you mean househould income and not individual though right? i think people grossly overstate what it takes to live comfortably in the NYC metro area. now, if we're talking about living comfortably in Manhattan, that's a whole different ballgame, which is mostly reserved for upper-middle and upper.

also, a semi-related article i read yesterday about education etc....

Colleges With The Highest Return On Investment: PayScale Report
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Old 04-12-2011, 07:05 AM
 
9,856 posts, read 12,781,094 times
Reputation: 5438
Quote:
Originally Posted by NJBest View Post
I hate calling people spoiled. Having high expectations of yourself is not spoiled. You call it spoiled, I call it motivation.

I hate throwing out numbers because in NJ, $100k (while being in top 15% nationwide) is not much to talk about. Same applies to California.
No, claiming 100k/year is middle class IS spoiled.

There is nothing wrong with being motivated to make a lot of money (I have that exact same motivation), but I don't pretend that a high salary is middle class.

Having high expectations is great, but it is ignorant and spoiled behavior to assume a 10k vacation every year is what every average family can afford. The OP wants to be wealthy and to live a wealthy lifestyle. That is an admirable goal (and again - one I have for myself), however don't pretend that lifestyle is middle class.
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Old 04-12-2011, 07:26 AM
 
Location: West Orange, NJ
12,542 posts, read 17,368,729 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keim View Post
$30k on Disney World? How'd ya do that? I'm very curious...

I'm looking at Disneyland this fall, and figuring $5k.
$30k at disney is impressive. they almost always have the 7 nights for the price of 4 deals. i've gone to disney almost every other year, and we typically spend about $1,500 per person staying at the mid-level or top-level resorts. top-level, but not the most expensive (grand floridian) is a tad more. i guess it depends on how many people go to spend $30k. but wowsas!
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Old 04-12-2011, 07:31 AM
 
Location: West Orange, NJ
12,542 posts, read 17,368,729 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bisjoe View Post
Probably true these days.

Having just done my taxes, I see that we made about $80k and yet are barely making ends meet. If prices and taxes went back to what they were a few years ago and our income stayed the same we'd be really comfortable. BTW we had to pay out this year, no refund.
Two raises and a promotion can't keep up with inflation and higher taxes.
which taxes are you speaking about that are higher now than a few years ago?
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Old 04-12-2011, 07:38 AM
 
Location: West Orange, NJ
12,542 posts, read 17,368,729 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eskercurve View Post
This list SCREAMS irresponsible. It is hardly middle class ... it's upper middle class to wealthy.

Only self-righteous and entitled-feeling Boomers can consider this list "middle class." Who can blame them? They grew up with everything, got spoiled, and then had the nerve to have the same lifestyle built on credit, NOT saving.

The last generation I consider to have had a truly middle class lifestyle were the war generation. Here's their lifestyle:

- Retire in a smaller place or the same house they lived in for 30+ years
- 20-30 years of savings ready for retirement
- Enough money to put 4-6 kids in a house that is something like 1200 sq. ft., maybe a little bigger
- Be able to afford to give kids some spending money or book money or food money while in college, but expect them to pay their own way or take out loans
- Money to buy a NICE car once, and own it for 8 years
- Ability to afford a nice vacation once every 5 years
- Ability to avoid getting the "latest and greatest" toys, and get what you need, not what you want.

Compare that to your list. It's a wonder how so many boomers deplore the American lifestyle ... they can't afford it! I have nothing but scorn for such people who think they can get away with such debt-ridden lifestyles.
i like this list much better for definition of middle class. i'd probably bump up the size of the house slightly, just because average home sizes have gone up.
i agree with the outlook on college expenses. if middle class people plan well, they may be able to pick up some of the tuition as well. but primarily, keeping a child out of debt, aside from student loans, is goal #1 in my mind for a middle class family.
i agree mostly on the car as well, but i might lower the time frame to 6 years. we've owned our Acura TSX since Dec, 2005. It's only got 84,000 miles on it. i could easily see us keeping it, but we may need to expand our car size when we have our second child. i'd be seriously tempted to keep the TSX though and commute it into the ground, keeping the newer car for just trips where we need that larger vehicle.

not sure what i think about vacation every 5 years. i guess "nice" is the determining factor? my family vacations to bethany beach, DE every year. though, we rent a house and split it 3 ways (my parents, my sister and brother-in-law, and myself and wife)...so that might make it much more doable every summer. i consider that a pretty nice vacation.

getting the latest gadgets is something that is purely wasteful, and primarily a sign that you have plenty of disposable credit (except for the crazies that buy it all on credit. being an "early adopter" is not a characteristic of the middle class. buying a DVD player after it's been out 2-3 years and becomes affordable to most is more typical of the middle class.
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Old 04-12-2011, 07:40 AM
 
Location: West Orange, NJ
12,542 posts, read 17,368,729 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unseengundam View Post
As for that $10K vacation figure, I came up with from my vacation with my parents. Few years back we took a 2 weeks trip to Australia that cost $12K! It easy to reach with $6-7k for airplane tickets for 4 of us. Then another $150 for hotels for 13 nights ($2-3K). Finally another $2-3K in food, shopping, etc. Unfortunately, that such an expensive vacation which can't be repeated. Going to Europe would also cost that much of money, I see round trip flights to London cost $1,500 or so!

BTW, I have seen other people at work take such vacation. One guy WAS planning a $10-15K vacation to Asia. Another man takes 3-4 vacations to places like South America, Africa, and Russia each year (at least $10K+).
i've been to Europe 3 times since becoming a professional (and a few times before that). i've never paid more than $1,000 for flight. Typically, if you shop around, you can get there for $700-$900. of course, if you pick peak travel times, it's more expensive. i just don't see it the way you do. i guess if you don't shop around at all, then yeah, you can spend that much money. but typically, no, you don't need to.
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Old 04-12-2011, 08:11 AM
 
Location: West Orange, NJ
12,542 posts, read 17,368,729 times
Reputation: 3677
Quote:
Originally Posted by unseengundam View Post
I really think C-D forum is full of frugal people. The replies I see reeks of frugality mentality instead of consumerist mentality I see around me. Most people I see around seem be big into spending money, well at-least when you are young.

For example, this weekend I went out and found out 80% of people I met at this big event had the lastest smartphone. I was one of few with a regular old phone. I know at-least 60% of people my age at work are living at high ($1200+) apartments even though they make less than $100K. In fact, many are people driving BMW, Lexus, etc even though they don't save much for retirement.
what you see and what actually is true are two different things. people drive BMWs and Lexus more often now because of leases and CPO deals. not because they can afford a new BMW.

many people in my circle have smartphones because their company pays for it so they are accessible 24/7. also, many smartphones have become relatively affordable to purchase (my wife got the HTC Incredible for $50, i got the Droid X for $149). so if you can afford the data plan, the phone is kind of an afterthought. but despite that, MOST people do not have a smartphone. just look at the stats for ATT and VZW on smartphone sales. it's the fastest growing segment right now, because it's a growing market because most people do not have them yet. these things you point out are not rights-of-passage for the middle class. they are things that many people splurge on. if they splurge and spend and forgo retirement, they will be in trouble later.
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