I would have said no based on previous conversations here but apparently we are.
For a household of 3 in the xxx area, your income is middle class according to two of three definitions. Your household is within the middle 60 percent of incomes and close to the median income, but too high above the poverty level.
…I'm definitely an example of a millennial (elder) who is worse off than how to they grew up…
I relate to this. We’re well above middle class, but nowhere near as comfortable as I was growing up and likely never will be. That definitely affects my perception of how well we’re doing.
Xennial here— my perception of what middle class lifestyle and sense of security looks like was formed in the 1980s. Certain budget items have become way more unaffordable/ unattainable while others are much cheaper.
1980s middle class with decent money management skills would have no problem buying a single family home, send kids to college, secure pension, never stress about medical bills. At the same time, you’d be mainly cooking at home rather than buying takeout, go on local/ domestic vacations except for maybe one once-in-a-lifetime trip to Europe when you retire, drive a used car, wait a while before purchasing new tech (VCRS were $800 in 1981). Now all of the critical items are less unattainable (housing, education, retirement, health care) but the splurgy items are more within reach.
“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.
This is us, too. Our income has more than doubled in the last 4 years (since my H finished his PhD) so we are quite behind on retirement, we only have 3 years of equity in our house, and he has about 90k in student loan debt. I am not worried about us because we have a good income to offset these issues and catch us up... but our security is pretty dependent on continuing to earn that income. We could easily get knocked out of this class if we had job loss, disability, divorce, etc so maybe "upper class" is a little overstating our true situation.
Then again, the fact that we're paying 1k a month toward the student loans or saving 15% of our gross income for retirement makes me feel rich. I remember years ago on these boards people talking about maxing retirement and me thinking that was absolutely unattainable, but we're getting fairly close to that point and will be able to for sure once H's loans are paid off. Are those the things I wish we were spending our income on, no, but I think for me the biggest shift has been from feeling like I constantly had to worry about money or budgeting to removing that pressure. I think the idea of middle class being "comfortable" disappeared a long time ago, so feeling comfortable now feels upper class.
We are upper class at this point, after using some Canadian calculators. We are living well above my family’s standard of living growing up (lower middle class), and well below DH’s family’s standard of living (very upper class).
@@@ Once we’re done paying for daycare this September we are actually going to feel upper class.
Post by underwaterrhymes on Jun 3, 2023 9:28:04 GMT -5
wildrice- in 2007, we had virtually no income since H was in the Peace Corps and I sold everything I had and moved there too. In 2008, we made about $60,000 combined. In 2013, I want to say it was about $90,000 combined. And now it’s $240,000 combined. We had a huge jump in 2014, and another big one in 2016. We’ve always lived in high income areas, which is partly how we got into debt.
Obviously most people will not see that kind of income shift. I attribute a lot of it to privilege. H being a male in a female-dominated industry (libraries) has benefitted us personally (but obviously sucks from a systemic perspective.)
"Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you've got a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies-"God damn it, you've got to be kind.”
Post by mrsukyankee on Jun 3, 2023 10:32:21 GMT -5
Don't know since I don't live in the States, but I'd imagine that in London we'd be considered to be in the upper middle class. In England, overall, we'd be considered upper class due to our income being above the typical middle class. London changes things due to costs of everything compared to other areas.
Post by dragon's breath on Jun 3, 2023 10:46:34 GMT -5
"You probably aren’t middle class.
Your household’s income is too high to be considered middle class, and you have financial security. Your household’s income is above the median for rural (state)."
I'm definitely rural, and have an amazing income for my area. What I found surprising was changing my zip code to the nearest metro area, which I consider way too expensive with a much higher COL and still got this:
"You probably aren’t middle class.
Your household’s income is too high to be considered middle class, and you have financial security. Your income is higher than others in your Zip code and very high for the (Metro City, State) area as a whole. The (Metro City, State) area is an expensive place to live, and you would still be considered high income anywhere in the country."
"Very high" for that area is... ouch. I would never consider it an area I could really afford to live in and be happy there.
Post by SusanBAnthony on Jun 3, 2023 11:27:43 GMT -5
I do not think we are, and the calculator agrees. Our zip code is smack dab in the middle of MCOL which feels correct.
It drives my H nuts that I say we are rich (I don't go around saying that but I say it to him sometimes). In his mind rich is buying yachts. We are not super rich. But we aren't MC either. If you asked him he would answer middle class.
Post by fortnightlily on Jun 3, 2023 11:42:44 GMT -5
No. We are top 5% and comfortable even for living in a HCOL area. We both have high paying tech jobs and no student loans or credit card debt, so that has helped us tremendously in terms of building cushion.
I was raised in the same area in similar circumstances, though I felt less well off than the many families around me in the 1980s/90s whose fathers were lawyers or doctors and had bigger houses, housekeepers, drove luxury cars, and belonged to country clubs. My DH grew up more lower-middle middle class.
We are above the middle class range. When we moved to Michigan our HH took a major income drop but now I have substantial passive income that began at about the same time from family business income. It’s kind of a wash now with moving from metro Houston to a lower cost of living.
Upper end of Middle now that my husband and I are living in two households for work. But lower in our zip code than the metro as a whole because our zip code is one of the top 3 in the region thanks to the industries here.
Post by wanderingback on Jun 3, 2023 18:03:00 GMT -5
No. Our rent is $5300/month, so not surprising.
It does seem to show that about 190k in our area is considered middle class, which surprised me.
I think many people know what city I live in. I also live in one of the most historic Black neighborhoods in the country. Obviously gentrification is happening (hello $5300 rent), but there's still lots of Black residents that have been here for decades, plus a lot of poor people. Within 1 block there could be a 1 bedroom apartment for sale for 1.5 million and then government housing and then an older apartment building with rents for only $2000. Such vast differences. I never want to leave as a Black person because of the rich cultural aspects, but the economics and class divide are probably going to just continue to get worse.
I got a significant pay increase with my last job 1.5 years ago, and in our current neighborhood we are above middle class. It makes me laugh though, we both struggled with money up until about the pandemic hit and don't have enough in savings or retirement because of it, plus my h's school debt, so we don't necessarily feel as secure as that designation suggests. I feel very lucky to be where i am, overall.
I typed up a super long reply and then deleted it because it sounded super whiny. The short version is that I’m surprised there was no mention of healthcare expenses in the quiz linked above. We have a very good income and have enough savings to be worry-free IF we both didn’t have medical conditions that require close to $100k worth of medication a year between the 2 of us. We have outstanding coverage through DH’s employer but run the risk of each of our required medications being denied if we had to go on Medicare when DH retires. So while DH has a good income, he definitely has a “fuck, I can’t ever retire” mindset. And I know this because my mom and sister carry the same genetic mutation as me. My mom is on Medicare and my sister has Obamacare and they have nowhere near the same freedom I have to make medical decisions. I get way better care at a much lower cost. So we will be working forever for insurance coverage. And I am so grateful we have that option. But still, fuuuuuuck.
Your household’s income is too high to be considered middle class, and you have financial security."
This is a relatively recent change for us, DH pulled our tax numbers from 10 years ago when he did taxes this year just to compare, we have almost doubled our income in that time. Well to be fair DH actually doubled his income, I had some tiny baby steps up and unfortunately now I'm going backwards. I definitely still feel middle class and if you were to look around our house, at our vehicles, etc that's what you would think too. I've never been able to have an emergency fund until probably the past 2 years, maybe it's been 3 years now, so it's been reassuring to just watch that grow instead of buying nice furniture or a new car. It was only 11-12 years ago we were a one income household paying rent with a credit card!
I knew that. My DH still thinks we’re poor. It’s because he grew up super poor and he doesn’t have a reality-based view of finances. Basically no amount is ever enough, because it’s anxiety-based and not reality-based. So if I want to get a rise out of him, I tell him we’re rich.