U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Economics > Personal Finance
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 1.5 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
Jump to a detailed profile or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Business Search - 14 Million verified businesses
Search for:  near: 
 
Old 04-12-2011, 08:34 AM
 
Location: Wisconsin
4,978 posts, read 3,053,232 times
Reputation: 5088
Quote:
Originally Posted by hnsq View Post
No, claiming 100k/year is middle class IS spoiled.
Are we talking individual or household income? Because my wife and I have a combined household income of right around $100K (gross), and I can tell you we are definitely solidly middle class. And we don't live in a high cost of living area, either.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 04-12-2011, 08:47 AM
 
1,448 posts, read 1,689,097 times
Reputation: 577
Quote:
Originally Posted by hnsq View Post
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.
It is still defined as middle class.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-12-2011, 08:48 AM
 
2,062 posts, read 3,436,481 times
Reputation: 1377
In this era I'd say the realistic expectations amongst those who are truly in the middle class needs to be downgraded. This is especially true in higher cost areas. The "true" middle class- (aka teachers, cops, and plumbers) in my area can no longer afford to buy houses because they cost close to $500,000. The people buying them now are probably upper middle class maiing above $150,000. But due to their diminished purchasing power might as well be lower middle class because that income means if you buy such a house almost 50% of the income is going to the mortgage alone.

I think the idea of "Middle class" is highly outdated. It meant some degree of stability. You had the same exact job for 30-40 years. You not only lived in the same neighborhood but also owned the exact same house until you died. Most social and infrastructural amenities were likely taken for granted because they were reliably adequate.

As it is now you're lucky to keep a job beyond 5 years. By what I see on this forum people buy and sell houses almost faster than people rent an apartment. They even swap cities in entirely different regions, usually as they follow job transfers. The infrastructures in many of these places are underfunded and crumbling. If you live in an expensive metro an unhealthy amount of your income will go to an expensive mortage- if you buy at all.

The bottom line is that the relatively mundane and predictably stable nature of the middle class of yesteryear is long-gone. I think many people still cling desperately to its romantic imagery- the house with a white picket fence and a cocker spaniel in the front yard and a neighborhood where everyone says hello and good ole' Dad went to punch the clock everyday in his Oldsmobile. But those days are gone and they won't be coming back.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-12-2011, 08:49 AM
 
9,856 posts, read 7,556,322 times
Reputation: 5309
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaseMan View Post
Are we talking individual or household income? Because my wife and I have a combined household income of right around $100K (gross), and I can tell you we are definitely solidly middle class. And we don't live in a high cost of living area, either.
As of 2005 15% of US households had a combined income of 100k or above.

I don't have reliable numbers for today, but adjusting for inflation, that would mean a household earning $110,600 or greater today earns more than 85% of those living in the United States.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-12-2011, 08:56 AM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
11,246 posts, read 9,579,858 times
Reputation: 10238
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!
That isn't middle class. Advertising has created a unreasonable expectation for what constitutes "the good life" in this country to keep the rank and file working harder, loading up on debt and reaching ever upwards in order to increase profit margains. It's a ploy.... a *conspiracy* if you like.

If you go to just about any other country and compare their class dynamics, you'll see the average American making 30-40K a year, living in a 3 bedroom suburban house or basic condo, driving a 5+ year old car and playing with last year's electronics would rank very high on wealth scale, if we lived over there.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-12-2011, 09:08 AM
 
Location: Whittier
2,096 posts, read 2,256,576 times
Reputation: 1521
I was thinking about this the other day with my wife while we were watching something on the French Revolution.

We saw the obscenely (beautiful) palace of Versailles and how peasants would feel so removed from that, and hence revolted (well, among other things).

Conversely, today even though there are very rich people out there, the middle class has so much more than those peasants had. Not just iPhones, and TVs, but access to clean water, (for the most part) access to the same healthcare, equal opportunities and all of that good stuff.

I'd argue that even on the lower end of the large middle class that we have, that one can, and does live very comfortably. And 100K a year would be plenty enough to live with a family of four anywhere comfortably and safe.

I think the OP's notions of middle class are outdated and based off of the 'charge it' or 'refinanced' mentality that got us in the mess we're now in.


-Retire with same lifestyle as pre-retirement - You just have to save early in life and save hard.
-1-2 years worth of spending money in cash - ?
-Enough money to buy a nice single family house (McMansion) - Don't need it. 3br 2bath, 1 story is fine by me.
-Be able afford to put kids through university - If they don't get all the help and scholarships they can get, then state school is fine.
-Money to buy new cars every 3-5 years - Waste of money. Buy used once every 10 years (if you need to have a 'new' car)
-Afford nice vacations each year (probably $10k+) - How long are these vacations and where are you going. A nice trip to Europe for a family of 4 would be about that much, but you can take 10 road trips across the US for that much.
-Money to buy latest smartphone every 2 years,computers, and other electronics - I have a computer that works great, through upgrades at about $400 a year. I'm going to buy a refurbished iPhone 4 for $100 but I actually use these things. If you're just buying them to be cool or have them collecting dust, then you're really wasting money.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-12-2011, 09:10 AM
 
24,777 posts, read 26,159,449 times
Reputation: 33242
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. Seriously debatable.
-1-2 years worth of spending money in cash We have more like a year.
-Enough money to buy a nice single family house (McMansion) Are you kidding me? I want to downscale. Why deal with all the headaches of maintaining a huge house? When the kids visit, there's a Hampton Inn nearby.
-Be able afford to put kids through university Depends on the University. Plus, I don't care if I have a zillion dollars, the kids need to work some so they understand what is required.
-Money to buy new cars every 3-5 years This is foolishness. You buy a car and then drive it until the wheels fall off.
-Afford nice vacations each year (probably $10k+) I just don't see the Middle Class jetting off to Europe or Tahiti that often. Sorry.
-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!
You have a very strange definition of what middle class is. You realize we're talking roughly 70% of the population, right?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-12-2011, 09:19 AM
 
1,557 posts, read 2,540,046 times
Reputation: 3695
This thread is so bipolar is not even funny. People argue the list is spoiled and defining of an upper class lifestyle. But then they go an define middle class as effectively living paycheck to paycheck (no savings of any consequence, even the 10% net pay savings mantra is garbage; u aint retiring on that and it won't stay untouched in a lifetime of "life crises") and having no luxuries. So in essence middle class is insolvent by virtue of no savings. Great. Oh but no, middle class is a solvent lifestyle, just frugal, they say.

It's a catch-22. And it proves the OPs point in a way. A middle class aspiration in today's cost of living REQUIRES an 'either/or' choice. If you live a middle class lifestyle, by the definition of the frugal gestapo here, you can't have savings. Which means you folks are understating the median cost of living in this country for child-bearing households. Y'all are simply understating the cost (which is endemic of frugal people, I am one, noted) period dot. Because in order to have savings, you need an income above and beyond that of the hypothetical paycheck to paycheck penny pinching "middle class". And that increase in income then makes you by definition upper class (to varying degrees, call it upper middle or whatever, essentially not middle class) because of the added lifestyle it can afford said household if they too would elect to live to the no savings line standard. its catch-22. And like I said in my prior post, we are all in Shawshank Prison, we're all innocent here. The penaut gallery ain't frugal, only the CD ivory tower is.

Let's just admit not being able to retire to 75% of your consumption standards is a STAPLE of being middle class....oh but wait, the previous generation was able to retire to 75% of their standard, and they were "middle class" too....alas, middle class is working poor TODAY fellas. No such thing as middle class anymore. Show me a middle class archetype today that can't be automatically labeled "upper middle" by someone on here, and I'll show you a household that's gonna fall flat on their behind come retirement time. Working poor fellas, adjusted for inflation the OP list is right! (sans the vacation IMO).

Remember that, at least from where I'm looking at this definition, middle class is more of an expectation these days than a statistical reality. I see the working stiffs, (they like to call themselves middle class), and I see the upper class (they too like to call themselves middle class, since anything short of being invited to the Royal Wedding in the UK makes you middle class, gimme a break), but I don't see a solvent middle class, by the overwhelming rejection of high income as a qualifier for "middle class"status, even though said qualifier is a REQUISITE to retire to 75% of your consumption standard.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a frugal SOB too (no kids, wife left me due to my 'spartan' lifestyle attitudes), but I'm not gonna cover the sun with my hand and assert that middle class in this country is, as an EXPECTATION, equivalent to a half-notch above working poor. Our middle class ain't that righteous... They just aren't, people are waaay more consumerist than that in the 100-150K/yr household income bracket. These people are middle class and they are BROKE, because not being broke in this bracket means living like the overextended 75K/yr household does, which wasn't the social contract and the point of going to college, getting two jobs et al. Just sayin'...The middle class is NOT aspiring to live like a solvent working poor, that's bull, the middle class is shooting for and largely living like the supposed upper middle class you guys point to, but with no savings (i.e. insolvent). So the list may be spoiled, but it is representative of the middle class, broke as it may be.

That or we agree that working poor is now going to be called middle class. Can't have the cake and eat it too.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-12-2011, 09:21 AM
 
1,557 posts, read 2,540,046 times
Reputation: 3695
Quote:
Originally Posted by sliverbox View Post
In this era I'd say the realistic expectations amongst those who are truly in the middle class needs to be downgraded. This is especially true in higher cost areas. The "true" middle class- (aka teachers, cops, and plumbers) in my area can no longer afford to buy houses because they cost close to $500,000. The people buying them now are probably upper middle class maiing above $150,000. But due to their diminished purchasing power might as well be lower middle class because that income means if you buy such a house almost 50% of the income is going to the mortgage alone.

I think the idea of "Middle class" is highly outdated. It meant some degree of stability. You had the same exact job for 30-40 years. You not only lived in the same neighborhood but also owned the exact same house until you died. Most social and infrastructural amenities were likely taken for granted because they were reliably adequate.

As it is now you're lucky to keep a job beyond 5 years. By what I see on this forum people buy and sell houses almost faster than people rent an apartment. They even swap cities in entirely different regions, usually as they follow job transfers. The infrastructures in many of these places are underfunded and crumbling. If you live in an expensive metro an unhealthy amount of your income will go to an expensive mortage- if you buy at all.

The bottom line is that the relatively mundane and predictably stable nature of the middle class of yesteryear is long-gone. I think many people still cling desperately to its romantic imagery- the house with a white picket fence and a cocker spaniel in the front yard and a neighborhood where everyone says hello and good ole' Dad went to punch the clock everyday in his Oldsmobile. But those days are gone and they won't be coming back.
This^^^. thank you thank you thank you. Winner
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-12-2011, 09:34 AM
 
Location: Moscow
1,277 posts, read 1,252,481 times
Reputation: 1343
Quote:
Originally Posted by user_id View Post
Yes there is a big difference, the word "opinion" is used in the English language where as the phrases "Objective fact" and "Subjective fact" are rather silly phrases with no real meaning.

In terms of your examples, both are just facts, both are statements that are either true or false and could in principle be confirmed to be true or false independently of what comes out of your month.

Anyhow...I don't even know why I'm having this discussion...its objectively lame.
Oh, User_Id, your obstinancy does make me chuckle. Unfortunately, your final comment shows that you still do not grasp the difference. Remember, objective facts are quantifiable. While undeniable, the lameness of this conversation is not quantifiable. This discussion is clearly subjectively lame.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $84,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Economics > Personal Finance

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2014, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 - Top