I live in a fairly wealthy area so I guess I am a little surprised we are far above average even for this area. I guess this leads into the housing discussion - if folks here are on average making considerably less than us, I am not sure how the average housing price can be considerably higher than ours. The median house price in my county is almost double what we paid, and I don't know that we could comfortably afford double our mortgage!
I had a similar experience. I live in a wealthy area and most of the kids at my kids elementary school have parents who either work for pharma or hold a terminal degree.
My H is in a trade and I worked for small nonprofits most of my life, so our HHI is no where near most people we know. In fact, multiple times I've been talking to friends about job hunting and they mention salary bumps that were more than my total salary at the time. I feel comfortable now, but I was shocked that we were above average for our zip code.
We are higher than middle class, but by a smaller margin than I would have thought. We feel really comfortable, but we also don’t have any student loans, debt other than a mortgage, and substantial savings due to real estate timing luck.
I felt like we were middle class, maybe on the upper end. But the chart showed that we were barely lower middle class. I was so baffled. But then I realized that without my glasses I read the chart upside down. LOL what a dope.
We’re south of Seattle, so our income is high for our zip code, but compared to Seattle, we’re closer to middle middle.
Post by goldengirlz on Jun 2, 2023 19:11:46 GMT -5
Is anyone watching Obama’s new docu-series, Working?
It’s so good! And addresses a lot of these issues.
The series talks about how there’s a difference between actually being middle class (by percentile) and achieving what we think of as the middle class lifestyle. Like it’s telling that in some parts of the country home ownership is now only for the wealthy. The middle class has far more privilege than the lowest percentile, of course, but a fraction of the privilege of the wealthy. Fifty years ago, the gulf wasn’t as wide.
It also makes the point that even the notion of a stable, vibrant middle class is a relatively modern idea — but the way we’re going, it could become a historical anomaly in this country.
Budget, debt, etc. doesn't have impact on where you fall on the scale. It's a red herring in this discussion as that is what people want to focus on, but ultimately means nothing. It's addressed ia bit in the "keeping up with the Joneses" section.
At the end of the survey it asks if you feel middle class, which is what I was responding to. I agree with the calculator that compared to many folks in my region, I have a lot more stability, food security and can afford small luxuries. However, growing up in the 1980s , having roommates in your 40s =/= middle class. I also judge myself for not being further along with retirement and emergency savings but I had to give some of that up to be a homeowner, which makes me more stable.
Top 20% nationwide. High for my zip code, too. Which on the one hand surprised me, like wildrice mentioned. But, the city was founded on mixing socioeconomic classes. So, there are apartments and other more affordable options between my SFH and the main road. This was the vision of the founder. And I did some work with a local charity that gives away free bikes to kids, and the demand was high. So, there is a mix of incomes here. Maybe not on my street, but the greater community.
Post by lilypad1126 on Jun 2, 2023 20:09:03 GMT -5
Yes we are. I’m not surprised, I definitely feel middle class. And even though my budget has more wiggle room these days, it isn’t because my income has gone up significantly. Surprisingly the article said my income was high for my zip code. I really thought we were on the lower end, income-wise for our zip.
I am in the middle of the middle class for my income, middle 40% of incomes. That makes sense to me, I easily pay all my bills now and have money leftover to save. I also live in a low income community, which does lead me to feel very privileged. It's a recent development to be in the middle, which as I play with the numbers, the calculator confirms. If I were still married to my exh, who has mental health struggles and an inability to hold a job I would just barely be in the middle class according to the calculator. I feel practically wealthy since divorcing him.
Interesting - if I divorced my H, which has been in consideration this year, I'd still be middle class, just more to the middle.
If I got divorced, I would end up toward the lower side of the middle, he would be in the upper side of the middle. That would be a big drop for the lifestyle we're both somewhat accustomed to now.
The links says we are currently 10% nationally, 50K above the highest part of middle class locally. I can agree with this. There came a point where I felt like I wasn't sweating home expenses anymore. Business expenses are another story and still make me sweat.
Much higher than middle class for our zip and top 10% of the country. The zip code calculation doesn’t surprise me, but the 10% does. I knew we were Oklahoma-rich, but didn’t consider that we are also US-rich. Although I should have.
This is new for us in the past 4 years or so, and we are living below our means. We are still in the house my H bought before we met when he made a quarter of our current joint income, for example. I drive a paid off 9 year old car. Trying to build up retirement and other savings before we move to something larger or make any other big purchases.
I grew up LMC and have no idea how to be rich. I’m not complaining! I just need to work some stuff out in therapy.
Yup, middle class for my area which is what I expected because it’s HCOL and I work part time. Our income is high relative to the nation though (top 20%). From a financial standpoint we are doing great though because we bought at a good time so our mortgage is low and we are aggressive savers. The trade off is that we definitely don’t feel like we’re keeping up with the Jones as most friends have upgraded houses and spend a lot more than we do. If I went full time it would put us at the very top of the range for middle class for our zip code and we’d have more discretionary spending money. But it doesn’t feel worth the extra stress.
Post by underwaterrhymes on Jun 2, 2023 21:34:03 GMT -5
No. We are high income (top 10%).
However, WaPo did offer this caveat:
“Your household’s income is too high to be considered middle class, but you do not have the financial security associated with the middle class.”
Although we are high income, we got here fairly recently - in the past seven years or so. Prior to that, we made a LOT less than we make now and accumulated a significant amount of debt (around $100,000) that took a lot to dig out of. It’s because we are high income that we were able to dig out of that. The debt also means we are not on track with retirement - hence the caveat - but I do think we can make up for lost time.
We are solidly middle class. Top 20% nationwide, but pretty much right in the middle of middle class for our metro area. A bit closer to upper middle for our zip code. I’ve been a sahm for several years, but have been looking into going back to work. When I do start working again, it will likely put us at the very top of middle class, possibly above.
Your household has a middle-class income, but you do not have the short-term financial security associated with the middle class. Your income is higher than others in your Zip code and high for the [my city] area as a whole.
Middle-class finances, however, do not guarantee a specific middle-class lifestyle or the ability to pass it on to one’s children.
We're okay on retirement, but just not good on savings right now after doing some work on the house. we'll get it back up.
I would have said we are on the upper end of Middle Class with potential to eek into Upper Middle Class and this article confirms that. We are within $2k of that threshold and with upcoming raises, I suspect we will break that by next tax season.
We live in an expensive city. It's impossible not to notice the celebrity level wealth that exists here, too, and not feel a little poor at times, but feelings don't matter. Reality is that we are very comfortable and any whining about not having/doing things we want is because we have high savings goals that take priority.
More to the point, though, exponential functions can mess up all of our thinking about wealth and how we feel. We are very comfortable, but wealthy acquaintances make 10x more. We have a hard time imaging that spending capability. Which I imagine others would say about us. Because math.
I couldn't do this accurately because I don't live in the US, but I converted our income to US dollars and put in a Port Angeles zip code because I felt like that probably lined up the closest in geography. It said we are middle class.
I don't know if not having to pay health costs etc out of that income bumps us up a bit but the housing market here is likely higher priced so it's probably a draw.
I'm definitely an example of a millenial (elder) who is worse off than how to they grew up. I grew up upper middle class, had horses, lots of travel... Now we go camping because we like it but also because it's the holiday we can afford. This is mostly due to living abroad and moving so many times, not starting to invest until our mid/late 30s and my H being an American with a crippling amount of student debt (seriously whyyyyy do US student loans even give out that much money?).
Your household’s income is probably too low to be considered middle class, but you have the financial security associated with the middle class. Your income is lower than others in your Zip code and low for *** metro area as a whole. The *** metro area is an expensive place to live, so you might be considered middle income somewhere else in the country."
This seems about right... I thought we might be higher. I feel that we live very comfortably. But, I'm not a spender I have always been a saver so we've always had an emergency fund and no debt (other then mortgage/cars occasionally). It's is so freaking expensive living here though, groceries lately have been killing me like the article says.