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Old 06-28-2020, 11:22 PM
Location: Niceville, FL
8,603 posts, read 17,179,919 times
Reputation: 9668


You have a household income of $140K a year, two young kids and are looking to buy a house. Do you buy the 2000sf home in an inner ring suburb where the schools are rather A+ or the 3500 sf home in further out in a B-rated school district? Both homes cost the same price.

For your big family vacation, do you spend one week in Disneyworld or two weeks day hiking through Poland and eastern Germany? Both vacations cost the same price.

The smaller house with A+ schools and the weirder vacation can often be Upper Middle Class markers.

Cars can actually be hard to parse as class markers. I wish I'd saved the article about car-buying habits of $10 million+ in assets families because the breakdown was something like 60% went for the expected luxury brands at different levels, and the remaining 40% were more car as appliance or specific features needed and would go for something like a Prius or Honda Accord or big pick-up (the choice for large scale ranchers and boaters who trailered) or Subaru Outback.
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Old 06-29-2020, 06:54 PM
1,578 posts, read 812,839 times
Reputation: 1773
Many of the comment here reflect regional biases. Education/degrees from top schools are important in Boston. Looking or married to beautiful and driving a high end car is an LA thing. You can dine out every night of the week if you have a really cool job in nyc. House, car, boat country club is Dallas. High tech nerd graduate from mit or Stanford is San Fran. Super outdoorsy athletes do well in Colorado and Hawaii. DC has its own unique value system, they love high ranking retired military for example. Lots of kids reflect well in many religious communities and are the sign of success.
Not every location in the US weighs earnings or net worth as the ultimate reflection as show of class.
What’s the shizzle in your hometown?
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Old Yesterday, 10:59 PM
Location: Oregon, formerly Texas
6,425 posts, read 4,351,078 times
Reputation: 11152
Money is quite important. You can't be upper class without some money. But money doesn't buy you everything. You could have two people who both have $2 million net worth but one be in a higher social class.

I'd say that a big difference is power or proximity to it.

E.g. my grandfather was a local bigwig. He had money, so he was invited to all the important things. But he was not the richest man in town. Many of those people parachuted in. But my grandfather could get elected mayor and they couldn't. He thus had power and influence they did not despite the differential in net worth. Even long after his career was over and his businesses & land was sold, those connections ran deep. To the extent they still paid dividends for me growing up even long after he was retired and dead.

Behavior is also important. My grandfsther wasn't college educated, and he was very self-conscious about it. He wanted to, but an untimely accident that happened to his father precluded it. He married a woman who was college educated and he saw to it that his children and grandchildren were - no excuses were tolerated.

But he read books like a fiend and as a result had the vocabulary of a very well educated person. When I was in college he would ask me to send him copies of my course syllabi - all subjects - purchase the assigned books for himself, and then discuss them with me when I'd stay with them over holidays, comparing them to what my dad and uncles had learned as well as material he'd read.

He also considered it very important to do things like patronize the arts, local sports, be seen at the right events, etc...

For the record, Paul Fussell was on the reading list more than once

Last edited by redguard57; Yesterday at 11:22 PM..
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Old Yesterday, 11:30 PM
Location: Oregon, formerly Texas
6,425 posts, read 4,351,078 times
Reputation: 11152
Oh, and in the OP's examples, the hospital director is higher class than than the nurse. The nurse is a worker bee. The director makes decisions that affect the worker bees at the hospital. The latter probably has much more access to movers and shakers than the former, unless the nurse has leveraged her properties or whatever into access into those circles.

Although I would like to get to know the nurse's investment advisor because to generate 100k in income a year, her assets mst be worth around $1M at least. At age 39 that's quite an accomplishment & I want to know how she did it on a nurse's salary.
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