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-   -   What is Middle Class? (http://www.thewarpath.net/showthread.php?t=16883)

saden1 01-26-2007 01:55 PM

What is Middle Class?
 
I just keep hearing middle class this middle class that and I just don't know what these people are talking about anymore. What is your definition of middle class?

gibbsisgod 01-26-2007 03:04 PM

Re: What is Middle Class?
 
I would guess most people consider the $30,000 to $70,000 range for middle class. $30,000 may even be a little low to be considered 'middle'.

saden1 01-26-2007 03:17 PM

Re: What is Middle Class?
 
[QUOTE=gibbsisgod;272824]I would guess most people consider the $30,000 to $70,000 range for middle class. $30,000 may even be a little low to be considered 'middle'.[/QUOTE]

What about people who are single? Is a single person making 70K middle class?

Sheriff Gonna Getcha 01-26-2007 03:19 PM

Re: What is Middle Class?
 
[QUOTE=saden1;272834]What about people who are single? Is a single person making 70K middle class?[/QUOTE]

I would say that a single person amking 70K is close to upper-middle class. After all, the average household income is something like $45K.

BDBohnzie 01-26-2007 03:20 PM

Re: What is Middle Class?
 
I wouldn't even go as far as putting a monetary value on it. I would consider middle class as a person/couple/family that are able to live fairly comfortably on their current salary, without having to live beyond their means. A little debt is ok, but not to the point where one or two more falls and the only means to get out is to declare bankruptcy.

But there are so many things to consider when defining a "middle class". Does it divide into 3 sectors (Lower, Middle, Upper)? Do you include the working class? Do you use a salary to define it? Can you live paycheck to paycheck and still be considered Middle Class?

saden1 01-26-2007 03:28 PM

Re: What is Middle Class?
 
[QUOTE=BDBohnzie;272838]I wouldn't even go as far as putting a monetary value on it. I would consider middle class as a person/couple/family that are able to live fairly comfortably on their current salary, without having to live beyond their means. A little debt is ok, but not to the point where one or two more falls and the only means to get out is to declare bankruptcy.

But there are so many things to consider when defining a "middle class". Does it divide into 3 sectors (Lower, Middle, Upper)? Do you include the working class? Do you use a salary to define it? Can you live paycheck to paycheck and still be considered Middle Class?[/QUOTE]

Excellent point. I mean you have lots of couples who have combined income of 200K but lots of expenses (expensive homes, cars, edu. loans, kids, etc). Look a the SF bay area, it's almost impossible to survive with less than 100K in salary.

Sheriff Gonna Getcha 01-26-2007 03:30 PM

Re: What is Middle Class?
 
In my experience, the majority of Americans seem to live paycheck to paycheck, whether they are making $15,000 per year or $150,000 per year. People's "needs" tend to increase as fast as their incomes.

saden1 01-26-2007 03:33 PM

Re: What is Middle Class?
 
[QUOTE=Sheriff Gonna Getcha;272836]I would say that a single person amking 70K is close to upper-middle class. After all, the average household income is something like $45K.[/QUOTE]

So if you're single and make 85K, what are you? You most certainly are not wealthy.

cpayne5 01-26-2007 03:33 PM

Re: What is Middle Class?
 
[QUOTE=gibbsisgod;272824]I would guess most people consider the $30,000 to $70,000 range for middle class. $30,000 may even be a little low to be considered 'middle'.[/QUOTE]

It gets *very* fuzzy when you start factoring in cost of living, too. Like the firefighter in NYC that makes $90k. Is he then, upper class? I would bet he doesn't think so. Or the guy in SW VA who makes $60k? He is in your middle class designation, but he lives [B]very[/B] comfortably, comparatively.

*edit - Seems other people typed this point in faster than I. :)

saden1 01-26-2007 03:38 PM

Re: What is Middle Class?
 
Senator Chuck Schumer was on The Daily Show last night pushing his new book. He had this imaginary middle class couple with 3 kids who had a combined income of 75K...The Baileys as he calls them.

TheMalcolmConnection 01-26-2007 03:41 PM

Re: What is Middle Class?
 
It's very subjective. It's all about cost of living, marital status, lots of things. There are probably a lot of people who make two-hundred thousand plus and could be considered poor. What is poor anyway?

I think you have to have some subsets of the broad sweeping term middle class. You have the people who make lots of money, but spend without any regard for the future, and therefore are broke most of the time. There are the people who might make less than what we could consider middle income, but are frugal with their cash, live comfortably (by their definition) and still have cash put away.

MTK 01-26-2007 03:42 PM

Re: What is Middle Class?
 
[quote=saden1;272844]So if you're single and make 85K, what are you? You most certainly are not wealthy.[/quote]

Guess it depends on where you live, personally I'd be pretty happy making 85k if I were single.

FRPLG 01-26-2007 03:47 PM

Re: What is Middle Class?
 
This is a great discussion issue because it goes straight to the heart of some serious tax issues.

There are so many variables that I think it almost impossible to make a definition.

cpayne5 01-26-2007 03:47 PM

Re: What is Middle Class?
 
I don't know that the term 'middle class' can be defined accurately, but I would venture to say that natural psyche of Americans would generally lead them to believe that the upper class consists of anyone making more than they do.

Great question, btw Saden. I have often thought about this myself.

724Skinsfan 01-26-2007 03:49 PM

Re: What is Middle Class?
 
As cpayne noted, if I were single and making 85K here in SW Virginia, I would be living like a king easily. Now if I were stupid enough to buy a 50K+ car and a 500K home and eat out at high dollar restaurants everynight then I would probably have very little spending cash (savings) thus I may think that I'm not doing so well.

It's all boils down to how you decide to spend your money and where you live.

Sheriff Gonna Getcha 01-26-2007 03:55 PM

Re: What is Middle Class?
 
[QUOTE=firstdown;272856]To go allong with this how long could you last without a pay check? I think I cloud go about 1 1/2 yrs maybe a little longer.[/QUOTE]

I'd last about one hour. After that, I'd have to visit old men in train station bathrooms.

cpayne5 01-26-2007 03:58 PM

Re: What is Middle Class?
 
[QUOTE=firstdown;272856]To go allong with this how long could you last without a pay check? I think I cloud go about 1 1/2 yrs maybe a little longer.[/QUOTE]

Honestly, not that long, but probably longer than most my age. 9 months, maybe. But I'd get a big tax refund the following year thanks to the downtime!

ArtMonkDrillz 01-26-2007 04:02 PM

Re: What is Middle Class?
 
[QUOTE=Sheriff Gonna Getcha;272857]I'd last about one hour. After that, I'd have to visit old men in train station bathrooms.[/QUOTE]

Ewww, I just got a mental image from the movie The Basketball Diaries and now I want to puke.

I think middle class probably has more to do with how much you spend, either for wants or needs, than how much you make (although the two usually go hand in hand).

Sheriff Gonna Getcha 01-26-2007 04:04 PM

Re: What is Middle Class?
 
[QUOTE=ArtMonkDrillz;272860]Ewww, I just got a mental image from the movie The Basketball Diaries and now I want to puke.

I think middle class probably has more to do with how much you spend, either for wants or needs, than how much you make (although the two usually go hand in hand).[/QUOTE]

Good call, that was the movie I was thinking of when I posted.

GhettoDogAllStars 01-26-2007 04:05 PM

Re: What is Middle Class?
 
Some good definitions:
[url=http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=define%3Amiddle+class]define:middle class - Google Search[/url]

I'd say the middle class is easy to define: not the lower income makers, and not the upper income makers. That said, the monetary definition of middle class is ever-changing.

Schneed10 01-26-2007 04:06 PM

Re: What is Middle Class?
 
[quote=724Skinsfan;272855]As cpayne noted, if I were single and making 85K here in SW Virginia, I would be living like a king easily. Now if I were stupid enough to buy a 50K+ car and a 500K home and eat out at high dollar restaurants everynight then I would probably have very little spending cash (savings) thus I may think that I'm not doing so well.

It's all boils down to how you decide to spend your money and where you live.[/quote]

It is impossible to be making enough to afford a $50,000 car (if you can't make the car payments without sacrificing other things, then you can't afford it), and not be considered on the upper end of middle class.

I agree that putting a salary on middle class is impossible, because cost of living varies so much from state to state (and sometimes within states). But middle class people, when married, make enough money to:

- Own a modest but satisfactory home
- Own two safe and somewhat reliable cars
- Have medical insurance
- Eat as the FDA recommends on the food pyramid (can afford fruits, veggies, and lean meats)
- Keep up with the phone, electric, and water bills
- Maintain the home to modest but satisfactory levels
- Provide for two or three kids with modest but satisfactory clothes and shoes

If you cut all of your luxury spending, and you still can't afford the above as a married couple, I'd call you below middle class.

By this definition, there are quite a number of people in the US falling below this line. Too many, actually. If you're single, I think the same things apply, but replace own the home with pay rent for a modest but satisfactory 1 bedroom apartment, make it one car instead of two, and make it no kids.

TheMalcolmConnection 01-26-2007 04:09 PM

Re: What is Middle Class?
 
Middle class baby! WOOT.

saden1 01-26-2007 04:11 PM

Re: What is Middle Class?
 
[QUOTE=firstdown;272856]To go allong with this how long could you last without a pay check? I think I cloud go about 1 1/2 yrs maybe a little longer.[/QUOTE]

It depends, if i am allowed to dive into my 401K, liquidate my properties and belongings, and move to the boondocks I can probably survive about 6 years. If I have to stay put in my current arrangement I won't last more than 10 months.

Schneed10 01-26-2007 04:14 PM

Re: What is Middle Class?
 
How you know if you're above middle class, you can do all the things I listed above, plus have the [B][U]ability[/U][/B] to:

- Send two or three kids to the college of their choice without them needing any student loans
- Afford an upscale house
- Afford upscale cars
- Be debt free
- Feel comfortable that your retirement is secure

Schneed10 01-26-2007 04:19 PM

Re: What is Middle Class?
 
Another thought, what defines your class isn't what you [B][U]do[/U][/B] with your money. It's what you have the [B][U]ability[/U][/B] to do.

If you make $40,000 here in the Philly area as a single guy, and you buy a BMW and you eat out and rack up big bar bills all the time, and you find yourself in debt and unable to pay your electric bill, I'm sorry, I don't feel sorry for you. You're middle class. You make enough money to support yourself adequately and comfortably by any developed nation's standards. It's the [B][U]choices[/U][/B] you're making that are putting you in your situation.

If you have [B][U]no choice[/U][/B] but to sacrifice things like health insurance or heat, then you are living at below-middle class levels.

drew54 01-26-2007 05:11 PM

Re: What is Middle Class?
 
[QUOTE=firstdown;272880]Well I'm done with work and I'm. Going to get in my middle class car, drive to my middle class home, smack my wife on her middle class a$$, kiss my middle class baby, call my daughter at he middle class college, drink some middle class beer, hit the sack in my middle class bed and wake up with a first class hangover.[/QUOTE]

Now That is the Life.

dmek25 01-26-2007 06:49 PM

Re: What is Middle Class?
 
thats what i call living large. if i go by schneeds recipe, i think im middle class. but i never really thought about it

RobH4413 01-27-2007 03:21 AM

Re: What is Middle Class?
 
[quote=Sheriff Gonna Getcha;272843]In my experience, the majority of Americans seem to live paycheck to paycheck, whether they are making $15,000 per year or $150,000 per year. People's "needs" tend to increase as fast as their incomes.[/quote] You're totally right.

Every american should read a book called "affluenza". The basis of the book is essentially "mo money, mo problems". It touches on some actual studies rating ones own happiness, wealth, etc.

Talks about how happy people say they are in "poor" countries. It was a pretty interesting read.

BleedBurgundy 01-31-2007 01:51 PM

Re: What is Middle Class?
 
[QUOTE=saden1;272844]So if you're single and make 85K, what are you? You most certainly are not wealthy.[/QUOTE]

Depends on the cost of living in your area. I guarantee 85k for a single person not living in a major metropolitan area or in a wealthy/trendy neighborhood is doing pretty damn well for themselves.

Around here, (Lancaster, PA Amish Country!) My fiancee and I bring in about $80 k per year, own our home and live pretty comfortably, but were we to live in NYC, we'd be living in a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment somewhere...

Scheisse- I posted this before reading down the thread...

redsk1 01-31-2007 02:07 PM

Re: What is Middle Class?
 
The thing is when a persons income rises they typically spend or buy more and they are not any more wealthy than before. But if your income rises and you continue living frugally thats when your "wealth" increases. For anyone that is looking for an interesting read, The Millionaire Next Door, goes into greater detail.

724Skinsfan 01-31-2007 02:48 PM

Re: What is Middle Class?
 
This sort of belongs on this thread in a roundabout way:

Has anyone utilized Bank of America's Keep the Change program? Like? Dislike?

saden1 01-31-2007 03:08 PM

Re: What is Middle Class?
 
[QUOTE=724Skinsfan;273844]This sort of belongs on this thread in a roundabout way:

Has anyone utilized Bank of America's Keep the Change program? Like? Dislike?[/QUOTE]

Yes, I do. You earn peanuts (5% match after first 3 months) but at least you are earning something. I enrolled a month and half ago and I have saved up $50 or so thus far. Nothing special but it'll probably come in hand Christmas time.

They match your savings 100% for the first 3 months so that's $100 match right there in my case. Not bad eh?

dmek25 01-31-2007 03:11 PM

Re: What is Middle Class?
 
[quote=BleedBurgundy;273817]Depends on the cost of living in your area. I guarantee 85k for a single person not living in a major metropolitan area or in a wealthy/trendy neighborhood is doing pretty damn well for themselves.

Around here, (Lancaster, PA Amish Country!) My fiancee and I bring in about $80 k per year, own our home and live pretty comfortably, but were we to live in NYC, we'd be living in a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment somewhere...

Scheisse- I posted this before reading down the thread...[/quote]
i tend to agree, but.. last year( i live right down the street, in Lancaster) me and my wife made about $150,000. 22 years ago, together we made $28,000. it is definitely true, the more your income goes up, the more your lifestyle changes, and becomes more expensive. those who choose to try and keep the same lifestyle, are the ones, monetarily, end up with the most cash

724Skinsfan 01-31-2007 03:18 PM

Re: What is Middle Class?
 
[quote=saden1;273851]Yes, I do. You earn peanuts (5% match after first 3 months) but at least you are earning something. I enrolled a month and half ago and I have saved up $50 or so thus far. Nothing special but it'll probably come in hand Christmas time.

They match your savings 100% for the first 3 months so that's $100 match right there in my case. Not bad eh?[/quote]

Thanks, saden. I noticed the max they will match you during the first 3 months is $250. As long as there are no drawbacks that I'm missing, I think I'll sign up. Like you said, peanuts but good for things like Christmas or Redskin SB parties.


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