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What is Middle-Class in America ???

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  • What is Middle-Class in America ???

    Yahoo links to this story today. It describes a family of five in Tennessee grossing $260,000 per annum.

    They have a 2,500 sq. ft. home, pay $4,000 a month on mortgage, second mortgage and investment property, drive an Infiiniti, vacation in Florida every year, and after taxes, 401K's, utilities, insurance premiums, food bills and whatnot, they still tithe $1,300 monthly, and have $1,200 of disposable income.

    They regard themselves as "just good old middle-class". The wife says, "I'm not going without, but I'm not living a life of luxury." This in a town where (according to Wiki) the median household income is $30,623.


    The article also mentions a California family in gh's neighborhood (Silicon Valley) with a $400,000 income that is "barely getting by".

    Now, I live in a very , very high rent town, my household income is way less than anyone quoted in the article and I consider myself middle-class. Who is delusional here, me or them?

    http://finance.yahoo.com/retirement/art ... -Otherwise

  • #2
    Isn't it all relative?

    I mean regional income because of variances in the cost of living.

    $260k is a lot more money in Tennesee, than 400k in Southern Cali., I would think.
    The fool has said...there is no God. Psa 14

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    • #3
      Re: What is Middle-Class in America ???

      Originally posted by jhc68
      They have a 2,500 sq. ft. home, pay $4,000 a month on mortgage, second mortgage and investment property, drive an Infiiniti, vacation in Florida every year, and after taxes, 401K's, utilities, insurance premiums, food bills and whatnot, they still tithe $1,300 monthly, and have $1,200 of disposable income.

      They regard themselves as "just good old middle-class".
      That's cuz they've got friends who live in 4,000 sq. ft. homes, pay $6,000 a month for mortgages, etc., drive a Mercedes Benz, vacation in Europe every year, and have higher levels of charitable giving and disposable income.

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      • #4
        Re: What is Middle-Class in America ???

        That is way above middle class. They are deluded if they think otherwise.

        I heard a classic Hannity rant on the radio this weekend. Going on about people having to pay 55% tax and can't afford to pay for their kids to go to private school. Pardon? Please show me one person who pays 55% tax and cannot afford private school. That just makes no sense at all, where do FOX get their numbers from?

        Actually, show me one person that pays 55% tax. Does this person even exist?

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        • #5
          Re: What is Middle-Class in America ???

          Originally posted by jhc68
          Yahoo links to this story today. It describes a family of five in Tennessee grossing $260,000 per annum.

          They have a 2,500 sq. ft. home, pay $4,000 a month on mortgage, second mortgage and investment property,
          So they have 3 mortgages on 2 properties. Sounds like it's their spending to keep up with the Joneses that got out of control.

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          • #6
            I think that if you are making almost 10 times as much as the median in your town you have successfully ascended from middle class . . .

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            • #7
              I don't know about today but in the U.K. back in the, dare I say it, 50's, class was based upon education and family background. Even If you were sent down ( expelled) from Ox/Cam, and you're parents had no money, as long as you had "proper breeding" you were "upper class." My father decided we were "upper middle," due to business position, and college education. Income came in a poor third.

              We live in a condo and have two friends, neither of whom went to College, yet both are millionaires. My wife, who is British, considers them "lower middle" class, and that's purely from her old British background, whereas she would consider her deceased father, who graduated from Sandhurst (U.K."s West Point), and who was as poor as a church mouse, to be "upper middle" class. And most of his British friends would agree, and that was based simply on his "accent." My mother in law would have Amercan Doctors eating out of her hands, simply by using that "accent." So it worked here as well.

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              • #8
                Re: What is Middle-Class in America ???

                Originally posted by Cooter Brown
                Originally posted by jhc68
                Yahoo links to this story today. It describes a family of five in Tennessee grossing $260,000 per annum.

                They have a 2,500 sq. ft. home, pay $4,000 a month on mortgage, second mortgage and investment property,
                So they have 3 mortgages on 2 properties. Sounds like it's their spending to keep up with the Joneses that got out of control.
                And if they weren't in that situation they'd probably be jonesing to keep up with the spending!

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                • #9
                  Re: What is Middle-Class in America ???

                  Originally posted by Cooter Brown
                  Originally posted by jhc68
                  Yahoo links to this story today. It describes a family of five in Tennessee grossing $260,000 per annum.

                  They have a 2,500 sq. ft. home, pay $4,000 a month on mortgage, second mortgage and investment property,
                  So they have 3 mortgages on 2 properties. Sounds like it's their spending to keep up with the Joneses that got out of control.
                  And they could be under water on all the properties. That can make you poor very fast.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jeremyp
                    We live in a condo and have two friends, neither of whom went to College, yet both are millionaires. My wife, who is British, considers them "lower middle" class, and that's purely from her old British background, whereas she would consider her deceased father, who graduated from Sandhurst (U.K."s West Point), and who was as poor as a church mouse, to be "upper middle" class. And most of his British friends would agree, and that was based simply on his "accent."
                    Alan Jay Lerner nailed this one more than 50 years ago in My Fair Lady.

                    http://www.guntheranderson.com/v/data/whycantt.htm

                    An Englishman's way of speaking
                    Absolutely classifies him
                    The moment he talks
                    He makes some other Englishmen despise him

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                    • #11
                      My own experience is that in Britain, your class used to be defined far more by what you did for a living than your accent.

                      However, if you spoke using Received Pronunciation (RP) you'd automatically be assumed to be posh. Taking elocution lessons and losing your regional accent used to be a passport to social mobility and talking like the upper classes and learning good manners was the ticket to acceptance.

                      On income alone, the people in the OP's example don't sound middle class - more like upper middle class. But I don't know how you define class in America. Would Britney Spears be considered upper class because of her money? :lol:

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                      • #12
                        New England socialites are the equivalent of the UK upper class.

                        In general, class has more to do with a combination of education and earning power here. As far as I can tell.

                        Spears loses out on the education part but appears to be up there on the money side. I think money is probably the defining thing when discussing the middle class in the US.

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                        • #13
                          In the circles I move in in the US, class is perceived almost entirely a matter of economic life-style and expectations.
                          Of course there is an elite of Ivy League, old-money types who think of themselves as upper class socially but that bunch is pretty much reviled and ridiculed by everyone else, or at least there is no automatic respect accorded them. They only impress themselves and the editors of social pages in local newspapers.
                          And there are the "trailer-trash" or "ghetto" or "barrio" or "homeless" populations - the sorts of people who didn't leave New Orleans because, well, they were just hopelessly out of the mainstream of information and financial means - but all it takes is some money and education for their kids to move out of those categories.

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                          • #14
                            The vast majority of Americans consider themselves middle class and I think it is an attitude as much as an income level. If you have to work for a living, you likely consider yourself middle class - even if you make several hundred thousands of income annually.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Halfmiler2
                              The vast majority of Americans consider themselves middle class and I think it is an attitude as much as an income level. If you have to work for a living, you likely consider yourself middle class - even if you make several hundred thousands of income annually.
                              The recent fiscal crisis has made a wholelotta new Middle Classers! At the end of my Naval career, I really thought of myself as upper middle class, but even with my military retirement pay and a surprisingly decent teacher's salary, I'm pretty well mired into the middle of the Middle! 8-)

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