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Wealthy think they're middle class
Old 12-23-2014, 04:18 PM   #1
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Wealthy think they're middle class

An interesting read:
That’s Rich! Why So Many Wealthy Americans Think They’re Middle Class | Alternet

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According to IRS data, 99 percent of American households make less than $388,000 a year, and 95 percent make less than $167,000 a year. The true middle in terms of income that is, the cutoff to be in the top 50 percent of earners is roughly $35,000 a year.
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Old 12-23-2014, 04:28 PM   #2
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It's because they all consider themselves to be peasants when compared to Bill Gates, Buffett and the like?
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Old 12-23-2014, 04:30 PM   #3
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Just my opinion..... but you cannot have it both ways...

I do not want to get political on this.... but some say that the $35K number is 'poor' in America...

So in the end, it is just how you want to look at things....

Me... middle class is income between about $50K to $100K... upper middle starts at $100K, but I do not know where it stops and 'rich' begins... maybe $200K

I always thought it funny that my old boss always talked about how he was so middle class since he drove an old truck etc. etc... but lived on a 244 acre ranch and had a couple of years where he earned close to $700K... now, last year was bad for him and I think he only made $150ish.. but he should be back to around $450K this year....
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Old 12-23-2014, 04:48 PM   #4
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Looking for statistics and definitive numbers to attach meaning to the terms upper upper, lower upper, upper middle etc... become almost meaningless without a guideline for comparison. Thousands of analyses that are made to fit a perception, but by themselves only confuse.

This chart from 2011, is based on family income, and divided into quintiles.

Other measurements of wealth, based on Net Worth will naturally be different.
(edited to add net worth quintile chart)
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File Type: jpg net worth quintiles.jpg (128.3 KB, 124 views)
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Old 12-23-2014, 04:48 PM   #5
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I always thought it funny that my old boss always talked about how he was so middle class since he drove an old truck etc. etc... but lived on a 244 acre ranch and had a couple of years where he earned close to $700K... now, last year was bad for him and I think he only made $150ish.. but he should be back to around $450K this year....
I'm guessing it's because he wasn't thinking of class purely in economic terms, but as more of a socioeconomic indicator.

I think of myself as middle class, because my background is English middle class, and also because of my education, tastes and sensibilities etc. If I were to consider it in purely economic terms, I'd have to concede to belonging to a lower class, due to my ~$17K annual spend.
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Old 12-23-2014, 04:55 PM   #6
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I'm guessing it's because he wasn't thinking of class purely in economic terms, but as more of a socioeconomic indicator.

I think of myself as middle class, because my background is English middle class, and also because of my education, tastes and sensibilities etc. If I were to consider it in purely economic terms, I'd have to concede to belonging to a lower class, due to my ~$17K annual spend.
In economic terms he was NOT middle class...

In the way he acted... sure.... he worked a lot... he took care of the cows on his ranch (no help) and also ran a business with $5 mill revenue... he was not flashy at all... but also would not fall under any definition of middle class..


I do not think that they rank 'class' based on spend... even though that might be a better indicator...
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Gee...ography
Old 12-23-2014, 04:58 PM   #7
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Gee...ography

Geography makes a big difference. When I bought my new house in Katy, Texas for $165,800 back in 2007 and showed pictures at my family reunion, my Wisconsin brother said the house would cost $350,000 in Madison. My Illinois cousins said it would cost $500,000 in the Northwest Suburbs and my best friend in Kirkland, Washington later said somewhere between $800,000 and $900,000 there. (It's a Lennar with Texas construction, so I'd say they're all a little high - especially my friend in Washington, thanks to their new freedoms out there!)

Anyway, $35,000 down here in Houston goes a heck of a lot further than it would in DC and northern Virginia (the richest - not to get political - geographies in the U.S.), NYC or Seattle. I'm glad, however, that I don't (yet) need to know how to live on three-five-kay. Knock on wood. In my Lennar's case, that would be (a) hollow-core wood (door).
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Old 12-23-2014, 05:06 PM   #8
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In terms of income and wealth we are definitely above middle class, but our mindset is more middle class than upper class so I'm afraid we would be part of the group the article is referring to.
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Old 12-23-2014, 05:09 PM   #9
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$150K gross annually for a household of 4 in DC Suburbs is a middle class lifestyle with very little savings.
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Old 12-23-2014, 05:11 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
Looking for statistics and definitive numbers to attach meaning to the terms upper upper, lower upper, upper middle etc... become almost meaningless without a guideline for comparison. Thousands of analyses that are made to fit a perception, but by themselves om;y confuse.

This chart from 2011, is based on family income, and divided into quintiles.

Other measurements of wealth, based on Net Worth will naturally be different.
But, just so it gets said, most people in the world don't live in the US. The worldwide median household income is a bit less than $10K per year. Everybody on this board is "middle class" or doing even better. By present-day worldwide standards, most people here are stinking rich. By historical standards, even more so.
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Old 12-23-2014, 05:15 PM   #11
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True, but we don't have servants a la Downton Abbey so I find it hard to think of myself as stinking rich.
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Old 12-23-2014, 05:18 PM   #12
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I find all the class definitions tedious and a waste of time. Seems just another way to promote jealousy, envy, division, and strife. For what purpose? You can already see it some in this thread.

As has been noted, this board exists with people who retire with small nest eggs, big nest eggs, large pensions, no pensions, big annual outlays, frugal beyond imagining outlays. And that's fine. To each his own.

As also has been noted on this board in the past. Anyone who has more than me is a dirty filthy rich person. Anyone who has less than me it's because I've worked so much harder for my lot. But I deserve more like those dirty filthy rich folk.

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Old 12-23-2014, 05:22 PM   #13
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Class /= money, income, or net worth.

Class = how you behave in the world.

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Old 12-23-2014, 05:24 PM   #14
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True, but we don't have servants a la Downton Abbey so I find it hard to think of myself as stinking rich.
Well, despite the servants and wealth, when it was hot outside, they were hot inside that big beautiful house (no AC). And when they wanted to go more than 60 miles they needed to plan to stay overnight. And when they needed surgery--they often died. Want to communicate with a distant friend? Write a letter and wait for a few weeks to hear back.

I'll take today's middle-class (or even lower-middle class) over yesterday's stinking rich. I've got a much better, more fun, and longer life. Plus, I'd probably have >been< one of those servants, or much worse.
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Old 12-23-2014, 05:24 PM   #15
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I think there's a strong tendency for people to think of themselves as middle class regardless of their income/wealth because they will tend to hang around with people of similar means. Making 500k/year in Manhattan doesn't sound like upper class because everyone you know and work with is also making similar amounts.
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Old 12-23-2014, 05:40 PM   #16
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I can say this... I beat the top quintiles and I do not feel upper income at all. I work a lot, and save a lot about 80%.

So I guess it's all relative. When you live middle income, you feel middle income, regardless of what you make or save.
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Old 12-23-2014, 06:48 PM   #17
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With a roof, health, food and my wife, i'm plenty fortunate. Money is a bonus after my real wealth.


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Old 12-23-2014, 07:06 PM   #18
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I've always thought of middle class as being anyone who works (or had to work before retiring) to support their family, and successfully does so. No one has to help support them, they don't have some big asset that makes money for them early in life.


That is a very wide definition, leaving room for upper and lower middle class, but still with a working lifestyle.
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Old 12-23-2014, 07:16 PM   #19
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Well, despite the servants and wealth, when it was hot outside, they were hot inside that big beautiful house (no AC). And when they wanted to go more than 60 miles they needed to plan to stay overnight. And when they needed surgery--they often died. Want to communicate with a distant friend? Write a letter and wait for a few weeks to hear back.

I'll take today's middle-class (or even lower-middle class) over yesterday's stinking rich. I've got a much better, more fun, and longer life. Plus, I'd probably have >been< one of those servants, or much worse.
True. In absolute terms, a poor person with Medicaid and on welfare is doing much better than Louis XV of France did. However, people always look at others to compare and to complain.

The article has the following excerpt:
Of inequality, he [comedian Chris Rock]said: “People don’t even know [about it]. If poor people knew how rich rich people are, there would be riots in the streets."

To borrow from that, do we think that if people in the 3rd world knew how rich the US really is, they would send us bombs? Oh, perhaps they have already tried. That did not mean that they had the right or it was the right thing to do.
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Old 12-23-2014, 07:26 PM   #20
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What I am unclear about is why some people here are upset that someone that they consider to be upper class considers himself middle class. Did god appoint you classifier in chief?


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